ISACo News and Views for March 13, 2023

3/13/2023 Joe McCoy

This week's Illinois State Association of Counties (ISACo) News and Views e-newsletter provides an update on ISACo tracked bills that emerged from House and Senate Committees last week ahead of the first committee deadline of the spring session, lists key deadlines for the remainder of the spring session, shares information about the launch of the Behavioral Health Workforce Education Center, announces a funding opportunity for lead service line inventories, conveys news about energy transition community grant recipients, includes an announcement of a leadership change at the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), discusses a new dashboard launched to inform the public of progress on Rebuild Illinois capital program projects, provides the latest update on litigation challenging the assault weapons ban, links to an NPR interview with National Association of Counties (NACo) President Denise Winfrey regarding the role of county governments, invites County Treasurers to attend a lunch and learn organized by ISACo corporate partner PMA/IPRIME, shares upcoming NACo webinar opportunities, highlights ISACo corporate partner AT&T and invites counties to join ISACo.

ISACo Tracked Bills Approved by Committees

The Illinois General Assembly was in session last week from Tuesday, March 7 through Friday, March 10. The House convenes again on Tuesday, March 14 at noon and will remain in session for three days. The Senate will not convene next week.

Friday, March 10 was the deadline for moving bills out of committees in their chambers of origin. Many ISACo tracked bills were among the bills approved by committees last week for consideration by the full House or Senate. These bills are available via this link. County officials are encouraged to review the document for general awareness of these issues.

Remaining General Assembly Deadlines* 

March 24: House Bills Approved by the House 

March 31: Senate Bills Approved by the Senate 

April 28: Bills Out of Committee in Opposite Chamber 

May 11: Third Reading for House Bills in the Senate 

May 12: Third Reading for Senate Bills in the House 

May 19: Scheduled Adjournment 

*Individual bills can receive deadline extensions and the content of bills can be amended onto other bills later during the session.

Behavioral Health Workforce Education Center

Illinois launched a new Behavioral Health Workforce Education Center intended to increase the state’s capacity to recruit, educate and retain behavioral health professionals. The Center, which will be housed at Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine, was created in partnership with the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Jane Addams College of Social Work, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS)

Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIUSOM) will serve as the primary administrative hub in Springfield, providing coordination and support for building the behavioral health workforce pipeline and increasing entry into the field. The UIC Jane Addams College of Social Work will serve as the secondary hub, supporting specific data collection and training initiatives. Public and independent universities, as well as community colleges in ten regions, will be invited to participate as partners to increase the statewide impact.

SIUSOM, UIC Jane Addams College of Social Work, and all consortium members will coordinate programs and oversee initiatives to increase the behavioral healthcare workforce and its capacity to provide high-quality behavioral health services across the state.

The Center will receive a $5 million annual investment from IDHS to help both rural and urban areas of the state address the behavioral healthcare crisis and increase access to effective services.

Lead Service Line Inventory Grants

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) announced a second funding opportunity to assist communities in meeting the requirements outlined in the Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act (LSLRN Act). The Lead Service Line Inventory (LSLI) Grant Program offers grants to local government units ranging from $20,000 - $50,000 to fund the creation of a complete lead service line inventory.

The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) and all required forms and information are available via this link. Applications for the LSLI Grant Program will be accepted through 1:00 PM (CST) on April 25, 2023.

All applicants must pre-qualify through the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act Grantee Portal.

Department of Corrections Leadership Change

Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) Director Rob Jeffreys is stepping down from his position, effective April 1, 2023. IDOC Chief of Staff Latoya J. Hughes will serve as Acting Director in the interim.

Energy Transition Community Grants

More than 50 localities and municipal entities will receive Energy Transition Community Grants – an initiative under the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) that provides funding for communities that have been impacted by fossil fuel plant or coal mine closures or significant reductions. Communities in 22 areas impacted by recent or impending plant or mine closures or reductions were eligible to apply for the program. 

Additional information is available via this link.

Capital Program Website Launched 

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) unveiled a new webpage dedicated to keeping the public informed of the progress of the Rebuild Illinois capital program. The online dashboard offers up-to-date cumulative data on accomplishments for improving roads and bridges since the 2019 passage of Rebuild Illinois.

Via the dashboard, the public can find information on the number of projects awarded, miles and bridges improved and safety improvements completed, as well as the total amount of investment that has been made.  The page will be updated on a quarterly basis, adding accomplishments as the year progresses.

The dashboard is available via this link.

Assault Weapons Ban Litigation Update 

The Illinois Supreme Court granted an expedited appeal of a Macon County judges recently ruling on the state’s newly enacted assault weapons ban. The case will likely be heard at some point during May. 

NACo President Denise Winfrey Discusses the Role of County Government

Will County Board Member (and former ISACo Board Member) Denise Winfrey is the current National Association of Counties (NACo) President. She was interviewed on NPR about the role of county government. The interview is accessible via this link and lasts approximately 17 minutes.

PMA/IPRIME Lunch and Learn Events for County Treasurers

Join the PMA and IPRIME team for lunch, learning and networking with Illinois County Treasurers on March 22 in Champaign and March 23 in Springfield! During these two-hour events, PMA/IPRIME will provide a 30-minute presentation to enhance knowledge about the Illinois Public Funds Investment Act (30 ILCS 235). Additional information and registration information is available via this link.

Upcoming NACo Webinar

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.

National Membership Call: Federal Policy Update

(Tuesday, March 14, 2023, 11:30am-12:00pm CDT)

During this national membership call, NACo will provide county leaders with an update on the latest federal policies and regulations that impact counties. Participants will hear an overview of key provisions include in President Biden’s Fiscal Year 20024 budget request, the latest on Waters of the U.S., negotiations around a new climate and streamlining package, Inflation Reduction Act and CHIPS and Science implementation and more.

Click on this link to register for the webinar.

The Climate Pollution Reduction Grants Program: How Local Governments Can Work Together in Phase I

(Thursday, March 16, 2023, 2:00pm-3:00pm CDT)

Join the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities and the National Association of Regional Councils for a deep dive into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new $5 billion Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (CPRG) Program. Established in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the CPRG Program will award funds to state and local governments to develop and implement climate action plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The CPRG Program is split into two phases:

  • Phase I: Planning Grants
  • Phase II: Implementation Grants

The webinar will focus on Phase I Planning Grants. Under this phase, EPA will directly award $1 million to each of the 67 most populous metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the country. Local governments within these MSAs will need to work together to develop an implementation plan for their region and designate an entity to serve as the lead. The lead organization for an MSA must submit a Notice of Intent to Participate (NOIP) in the program by April 28, 2023.

The webinar will discuss strategies and best practices local governments can leverage to execute their planning grants successfully and best position themselves to apply for the competitive Phase II Implementation Grants.

Click on this link to register for the webinar.


This week's corporate partner spotlight highlights ISACo's partnership with AT&T.

AT&T Inc. is a modern media company whose mission is to inspire human progress through the power of communication and entertainment.

The company brings together premium video content, a large base of direct-to-consumer relationships, high-speed networks optimized for video and advertising technology to lead the next revolution in technology, media and telecommunications.

More information about the services provided by AT&T 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 ISACo member counties are listed here. Thank you for your consideration.