This week's Illinois State Association of Counties (ISACo) News and Views e-newsletter reports on the second week of the Veto Session and includes a summary of key provisions within the SAFE-T Act trailer bill approved by both chambers, makes counties aware of a trailer bill filed to amend the Veterans Assistance Commission Law, provides information about a bill to increase a coroner fee, includes a summary of a health care omnibus bill, offers an update on legislation to eliminate the state's unemployment trust fund debt, calls attention to a bill extending protections to the immediate staff of elected public officials, conveys information about a bill pertaining to the Cook County Forest Preserve Pension Fund, announces additional health infrastructure funding for Illinois, provides links to upcoming National Association of Counties (NACo) webinar opportunities, spotlights ISACo corporate partner Nationwide and invites counties to join ISACo.
General Assembly Approves Changes to SAFE-T Act
Both chambers approved HB 1095 (Representative Slaughter, D-Chicago/Senator Peters, D-Chicago) to make several changes to the SAFE-T Act. The legislation began moving forward when several stakeholder organizations opposed to the underlying Act were sufficiently satisfied to refrain from opposing the trailer bill. HB 1095 was approved by the Senate on a vote of 38-17 and the House on a vote of 71-40. The Governor is expected to sign the bill into law. The pre-trial fairness changes within the law take effect on January 1, 2023.
Some of the bill’s key changes are highlighted below:
Cash Bail Transition
The bill addresses the transition from the end of cash bail to the new system scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2023. Under the bill, defendants charged before January 1, 2023, would have the option to remain under the old bail system or be moved to the new system.
Court Hearing Schedules
The timetable for court hearings are as follows: (1) hearings for lowest level offenses must be within 7 days of the request; (2) hearings for those detained, but considered flight risks, would be held within 60 days; and (3) hearings for those considered to be potential threats to safety would be within 90 days.
With respect to trespassing, the amendment clarifies that a police officer can arrest an individual for trespassing if: (1) the person poses a threat to the community or any person; (2) an arrest is necessary because criminal activity would persist after issuance of the citation; or (3) the accused has an obvious medical or mental health issue that poses a risk to their safety.
If none of these conditions is present, a citation will be issued.
The legislation makes the “dangerousness standard” consistent throughout the entire act.
Crimes Eligible for Detention
The bill expands the list of crimes that qualify an individual for detention to include non-probationable felonies, forcible felonies, hate crimes, attempts at crimes that are otherwise detainable and other offenses.
The legislation clarifies that judges can issue arrest warrants or summons when individuals miss their court dates.
Clarification of Willful Flight
The bill elucidates “willful flight” to emphasize the intent, which is to detain those who are actively evading prosecution.
Veterans Assistance Commission Trailer Bill Filed
On November 30, Representative Stephanie Kifowit (D-Aurora) filed HB 5853.
This legislation is the much-anticipated trailer bill to a new law (P.A. 102-0732) enacted on May 6, 2022, that made changes to the relationship between counties and their Veterans Assistance Commissions (VAC).
Over the past several months ISACo has been advocating for sensible changes to the law. Our advocacy requests are included within a letter sent to the Attorney General's Office and the primary sponsors and co-sponsors of the legislation. HB 5853 includes some, but not all, of ISACo's requested changes.
HB 5853 was not considered during the Veto Session and will likely receive hearings and votes during the January "lame duck" session prior to the seating of the 103rd General Assembly. The scheduled dates for the "lame duck" session are January 4-7 and January 10.
ISACo published an Issue Brief with more details about HB 5853.
Coroner Fee Increase Passes Senate
SB 2953 (Senator Lightford, D-Maywood and Representative Smith, D-Chicago) would increase fees collected by coroners for the provision of cremation permits. The increased fees will offset the coroner's expenses for issuing the permits.
SB 2953 was approved by the Senate and will next be considered by the House. ISACo Supports
Health Care Omnibus Legislation Approved by Senate
HB 4846 (Representative Walsh, D-Elwood and Senator Gillespie, D-Arlington Heights) is a trailer bill to several healthcare related bills passed during the spring session. HB 4846 passed the Senate by a vote of 57-0 and heads back to the House for concurrence. A summary of the legislation is below:
- Creates state authorization for rural hospitals to operate under a new federal care delivery model like Rural Emergency Hospitals.
- Allows applications for licensure as an applied behavioral analyst subject to Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) rules.
- Makes several clean-up changes to nursing home assessments.
- Makes changes to American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) payments for ground ambulance providers.
- Requires IDFPR to provide a one-time fee waiver for podiatrists for State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2023.
- Excludes TRICARE covered days for care provided to recruits or trainees of the United States Navy when calculating a hospital's Medicaid inpatient utilization rate.
Having passed the Senate, the bill will next be considered by the House.
Deal Reached to Pay Off Unemployment Trust Fund
On November 29, the Governor and Legislative Leaders announced a plan to eliminate the debt remaining in Illinois' Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. The plan is supported by both business and labor.
“Today, we complete the mission of extinguishing this debt. Government is at its best when we work together to solve problems.” -Governor JB Pritzker-
The plan applies $1.8 billion in state funds to repay roughly $1.36 billion to the federal government while depositing $450 million into the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. This deposit would be an interest-free loan from the state to be repaid by business taxes over the next decade. Revenue from the loan repayment will be deposited into the state’s rainy-day fund.
The proposal will be implemented following the enactment of two bills.
The first piece, which includes statutory changes necessary to implement the agreement, passed both chambers last week as SB 1698 (Senator Holmes, D-Aurora and Representative Hoffman, D-Belleville) and now heads to the Governor.
The second piece is SB 2801 (Senator Holmes, D-Aurora and Speaker Welch, D-Westchester) and includes appropriations to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. This bill passed the Senate and will next be considered by the House.
Senate Approves Additional Rights to Staff Members of Public Officials
SB 1622 (Senator Bush, D-Grayslake and Representative Gong-Gershowitz, D-Glenview) extends protections of the Human Rights Act to the immediate personal staff of elected public officials.
SB 1622 was approved by the Senate and will next be considered by the House.
Cook County Forest Preserve District Pension Payments
HB 1859 (Representative Burke, D-Evergreen Park and Senator Martwick, D-Chicago) removes provisions concerning an additional contribution to the Fund and specifying the annual employer contribution amount for payment years 2023 through 2025. The bill provides the Forest Preserve District's contribution formula for payment years 2024 through 2054 (rather than payment years 2026 through 2063). It further provides that funding methods within the bill may be amended as recommended by an independent actuary engaged by the Fund and in compliance with actuarial standards of practice and as adopted by an affirmative vote of a simple majority of the Board and the Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners.
The bill was approved by the Senate and will next be considered by the House.
Public Health Infrastructure Funding
On December 1, Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced that Illinois will receive $86 million in federal funding to strengthen the state’s public health workforce and infrastructure. This first-of-its-kind funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will support efforts by IDPH and local health departments to promote and protect health and address health disparities in communities throughout Illinois.
Additional information about how this funding will be used is available via this link.
Upcoming NACo Webinars
NACo has announced the following upcoming webinar opportunities. ISACo is a proud partner with NACo and encourages counties to participate in NACo membership and activities.
Reducing Jail Populations: A Virtual Learning Series
(Monday, December 5, 2022, 2:00pm CDT - April 6, 2023, 2:00pm CDT)
County officials are implementing data-driven and evidence-based policies, practices and programs to decrease jail populations, reduce associated costs and meet the social and safety needs of communities. Annually, county jails process 8 million admissions and spend $29 billion on correctional facilities.
Through collaborative efforts such as local public safety planning boards or criminal justice coordinating councils, counties are looking at data from various departments and entities to identify factors that drive jail population growth and exploring solutions to improve outcomes.
Click on this link to register for the events.
The Implications of the Inflation Reduction Act on Medicare Drug Strategies
(Wednesday, December 7, 2022, 1:00pm-2:00pm CDT)
Following the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), counties now have an opportunity to rethink how they provide prescription drug benefits for Medicare-eligible retirees. The new law includes significant design and financing changes to Medicare Part D so, regardless of how your county currently provides prescription drug coverage today, now is a good time to revisit your options.
Click on this link to register for the event.
FFI Data-Sharing Technology for Behavioral Health and Justice Learning Series: IBM
(Thursday, December 8, 2022, 1:00pm-2:00pm CDT)
Join NACo and the Familiar Faces Initiative (FFI) for a series of webinars highlighting new technologies that share and integrate data across local behavioral health, health and justice systems. Cross-system data-sharing enables jurisdictions to identify their familiar faces—residents who are cycling through jail, emergency departments, homeless shelters or other crisis services at a high frequency—and better coordinate care to improve outcomes for the highest-needs residents.
Government agencies are hindered by more than just a lack of resources: Legacy systems and agency silos impede information sharing and coordinating services between departments. When an individual needs government service, going to one program or service office usually doesn't address all their needs. Join Government Technology, the Sonoma County Director of Innovation, and the Harris County Executive Director of Public Health to learn how governments can bring human touch and technology together to move the needle for positive constituent impact.
Click on this link to register for the event.
Exploring Digital Transformation as a Key Driver to Modernizing Voting Infrastructure
(Wednesday, January 4, 2023, 1:00pm-3:00pm CDT)
Digital transformation represents a wealth of potential for governments to change how they create value for society and modernize for the future. Taking a project from ideation to reality requires not only leadership and vision, but dedication and resources. This webinar will focus on the transferable elements of a secure digital transformation strategy that can be applied across a wide range of use cases. We’ll explore a digital transformation initiative in depth as applied to elections critical infrastructure, and how LA County reimagined their voting processes through human-centric design principles.
Click on this link to register for the event.
CORPORATE PARTNER SPOTLIGHT
This week's corporate partner spotlight highlights ISACo's partnership with Nationwide.
Over the past 85 years, focusing on customers and valuing people have helped Nationwide become one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world.
Even though Nationwide has dozens of affiliated companies, people are its biggest resource – and its greatest asset in providing excellent customer service to its customers. That's why its Supply Management Services group makes sure agents and associates get the best quality products and services, at the best possible cost. It's also why Nationwide has an Office of Customer Advocacy.
More information about the services provided by Nationwide is available via this link.
Click on this link to learn more about the benefits and opportunities available through ISACo's Corporate Partner Program.
Become an ISACo Member!
Is your county a member of ISACo? If not, why not?
ISACo is a statewide association whose mission is to empower county officials to provide excellent service to their residents.
ISACo member counties are comprised of forward-thinking public servants who recognize that the challenges confronting county governments require new and innovative ideas, collaborative solutions and collective advocacy at the state and federal levels of government.
Members of the association will benefit from education and training opportunities, peer-to-peer networking, shared resources and robust representation before policymakers at various levels of government. ISACo creates and connects county officials to these opportunities and successfully equips them to make counties ideal places to live, work and play.
If your county is interested in discussing membership in ISACo, please contact Executive Director Joe McCoy at (217) 679-3368 or email@example.com. ISACo member counties are listed here. Thank you for your consideration.