Gubernatorial Trade Mission: Governor Pritzker announced his plans to establish a bilateral United Kingdom and Illinois MoU which would advance manufacturing in energy, technology and life science sectors in both trade and investment. According to the announcement, both the Governor and Minister Huddleston are committed to boosting trade and investment in one another’s economies.
During the “Clean Energy & Clean Technology” roundtable, the parties signed an MOU intending to strengthen collaboration to create a net-zero energy future. The list of companies included in the MoU are Commonwealth Edison Company, Ameren Illinois Company, The Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company, North Shore Gas Company, Northern Illinois Gas Company, National Grid plc, UK Power Networks, and Energy Networks Association.
The Governor and the Delegation concluded their visit to the United Kingdom on Wednesday.
Census Review: This week Governor Pritzker formally asked the US Census Bureau for a correction to Illinois’ census count. From the request: “I am writing to request a 2020 Post-Census Group Quarter Review for the State of Illinois. Based on data collected from our correctional facilities, state-operated facilities for adults and youth, public and private nursing homes, college and university student housing, adult group homes and residential treatment centers, shelters for people experiencing homelessness and other institutional facilities, we believe the total count for Illinois group quarter residents may be higher than what was reported in the 2020 Census counts.”
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi also continues his attempt to correct the Census Bureau’s undercounting of Illinois in the 2020 Census and its resulting loss in its fair share of federal funding by urging the Department of Commerce’s Office of the Inspector General to address ways to improve the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program as part of its ongoing audit of the Census Bureau’s Post-Enumeration Survey.
The PES is a tool used to evaluate the accuracy of the decennial census and the PES of the 2020 Decennial Census found 14 states had been undercounted or overcounted, including Illinois which was undercounted by an estimated 1.97 percent.
Congressman Krishnamoorthi’s latest request is that, as the COIG audits the 2020 PES, that it also addresses how PES findings can be used to improve the PEP’s annual population and resulting federal aid allocations to ensure Illinois receives its fair share of federal funding.
Disaster Proclamation: Governor Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation following recent severe weather events around the state. The move allows individuals and businesses devastated by the severe weather and tornadoes on June 29th through July 4th to request waivers of penalties and interest on state taxes if they cannot file their returns or make payments on time. Those impacted are eligible to request a waiver of penalties and interest for income, withholding, sales, specialty, and excise taxes.
The counties covered by the Disaster Proclamation include: Coles, Cook, Edgar, Hancock, McDonough, Morgan, Sangamon, and Washington.
Gubernatorial Appointments: The Governor appointed the following individuals:
103rd GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
JCAR: The General Assembly’s bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules met Wednesday. On the agenda were recently filed emergency and permanent rules designed to cap costs for two programs (Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults and Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors) that provide health care benefits to low-income non-citizens who would qualify for Medicaid if not for their citizenship status. Full funding for the programs was estimated to cost $1.2 billion. The General Assembly ultimately allocated $550 million in the FY 24 budget and subsequent authorization legislation granted the Department of Healthcare and Family Services authority to implement various cost containment measures.
Democrats Senator Cristina Castro and Representative Eva-Dina Delgado criticized the agency for implementing the rules without appropriate discussions with the advocacy community. JCAR did not vote on either the emergency or permanent rule at Wednesday’s meeting. A vote could occur at a future meeting. Emergency rules are valid for 150 days, but the new budget law allows for the agency to refile the emergency rules once they expire.
In other business, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted to issue a formal objection to proposed change in state air pollution regulations change based on the agencies’ use of the fast-track approval process. The objection does not prohibit the rule change from taking effect, but it does require the agencies to submit a response within 90 days. Read more here.
Pretrial Release Act: In a 5- 2 vote, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled ending cash bail is constitutional, ending months of legal challenges and allowing the Pretrial Fairness Act (which is part of the SAFE-T Act) to go into effect. The stay of the pretrial release provisions will end on September 18. Read the full opinion here. Capitol News offers more here.
Instagram Class Action Settlement: Instagram parent company Meta has agreed to pay Illinois users a total of $68.5 million in a class action lawsuit that alleged it violated the state’s biometric privacy law. The lawsuit alleges Instagram’s facial recognition technology violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act by capturing users’ biometrics without informed consent. Anyone who used Instagram while in Illinois from August 10, 2015, until August 16 of this year and submits an online claim by September 27 will be eligible for a settlement pending final approval from the court.
Illinois to Receive Part of Securities Settlement: Illinois, along with 5 other states, will receive part of a $12.4 million settlement with Raymond James & Associates, Inc. and Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. The settlement follows the discovery that Raymond James entities charged unreasonable commissions on trades which in turn caused harm to main street investors.
2024 Election Update: Republican State Representative Adam Niemerg will seek reelection to the 102nd District.
As part of the settlement, Raymond James will pay at least $8.2 million in refunds to clients nationwide and $4.2 million in penalties and costs to state securities regulators. Illinois customers will receive $328,000 in restitution. The Secretary of State’s Securities Department levied a $75,000 fine and will receive an additional $25,000 reimbursement for the cost of the investigation.