This week's Illinois State Association of Counties (ISACo) "News and Views" e-newsletter conveys information about the resumption of session days, provides a list of state representatives appointed to Speaker Welch's leadership team, links to ISACo's analysis of the Omnibus Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Reform legislation, provides an update on the State's COVID-19 vaccine administration plan, shares information about small business assistance, announces COVID-19 mitigation changes affecting various regions throughout the State, includes information about applying for Abandoned Residential Property Municipality Relief Program grants, provides a link to an FAQ about the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program published by the U.S. Treasury Department, announces the appointment of Kendall County Circuit Clerk Matthew G. Prochaska as chair of an important National Association of Counties (NACo) standing committee, includes a link to information about NACo's 2021 Virtual Legislative Conference and spotlights ISACo corporate partner Comcast.
Senate Cancels Session for This Week
On January 21, Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and Minority Leader Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) issued a joint statement announcing the cancellation of Senate session days during the week of January 25-29 as the chamber works to enhance COVID-19 mitigation protocols. Both leaders are looking to February 9 as a possibility to convene the Senate. The House is scheduled to convene on February 2 unless the chamber also defers the resumption of session days.
Speaker Welch Announces Leadership Team
Newly-elected Illinois House Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch announced his leadership team. The Leadership Team will assist Speaker Welch in pursuing the agenda of the House Democratic Caucus. The list of appointees can be viewed via this link.
Overview of Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Reform Legislation
ISACo has prepared an overview of the Omnibus Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Reform legislation that was passed in the waning hours of the 101st General Assembly. The overview includes the primary provisions relevant to local governments as well as the various dates each provision would take effect if the legislation is signed into law by the Governor. The overview is available via this link.
Next Phase of Vaccine Delivery Announced
On January 15, the Office of Governor JB Pritzker released updated information about Illinois' plan to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. That information is available via this link.
The state will move into the early stages of Phase 1B of the COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Plan beginning on January 25. While federal vaccine shipments to states remain limited, the state is aggressively building out provider capacity to ensure efficient distribution as soon as more vaccine becomes available.
Over 3.2 million Illinoisans are eligible for Phase 1B. Eligible residents will be able to receive a vaccine at one of the Illinois National Guard (ILNG) assisted sites, at a site operated by a local health department or at a partner pharmacy. Walgreens is now online in a limited number of sites statewide. CVS and Jewel-Osco will be coming online early this week and additional pharmacies such as Hy-Vee, Mariano’s, and Kroger are expected to be joining later during the week. Taken together, these pharmacy partners will provide hundreds of sites for vaccine distribution.
At this time, these sites will be available by appointment only. As the federal supply of vaccines increases and Illinois receives more vaccines, the state will launch walk-in locations and expand sites to additional providers like doctor’s offices and urgent care clinics. More information about those locations will be released in the coming weeks.
Pritzker Administration Announces Aid to Small Businesses
On January 22, Governor Pritzker announced new investments by the State of Illinois to help more small businesses access federal COVID-19 emergency programs.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will direct a $3.4 million investment to expand community navigator outreach programs and technical assistance services provided through the State’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). These investments are designed to help more businesses take advantage of billions of dollars of financial assistance recently made available through the renewed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and with other federal programs set to launch in the coming weeks.
New investments will allow the SBDCs to expand outreach and professional business services from all 42 locations, including hiring advisors to focus specifically on helping businesses navigate emergency aid programs. SBDCs continue to build relationships with community groups and organizations outside business support networks to reach businesses that may be traditionally isolated from assistance.
Federal Business Assistance
Additionally, in the coming weeks, more than $35 billion will be made available to small businesses through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance as well as the new Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) grant programs. For more information about these programs, as well as standards for eligibility, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration website.
DCEO will mobilize $2.4 million in supplemental CARES Act dollars to boost capacity of the Small Business Development Center program – a statewide network of community-based centers with 42 locations statewide.
DCEO Training Opportunities
DCEO will host or sponsor more than 100 webinars through the end of February. Webinars will cover technical assistance and questions related to the PPP application, as well as provide informational resources for businesses seeking assistance on EIDL, upcoming EIDL Advance, and SVO grant programs and other resources tailored to small businesses. For a list of upcoming webinars on PPP and other programs, please visit DCEO’s page.
For more information on how to receive support, businesses are encouraged to visit the DCEO website.
State Making Progress With COVID-19 Mitigations
On January 22, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced that Region 4 (Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington) moved to Tier 2 effective as of that day.
All 11 regions have now moved out of Tier 3 mitigations.
The Department also announced that Region 10 (suburban Cook) and Region 11 (city of Chicago) moved to Tier 1 effective as of January 23.
Information about which tier and phase regions are in can be found at the top of the IDPH website homepage.
Updated Sports Policy
DCEO has updated the All Sports Policy to include the Level of Play for Low, Medium and High Risk Sports that corresponds with Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 AND Phase 4 without any mitigation tier.The updated policy is available via this link.
Abandoned Residential Property Municipality Relief Program Grant Applications Available
The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) announced $8 million in funding is available to help spur community redevelopment through the elimination of blighted and abandoned residential properties.
Municipalities, counties and land banks may apply for grants through the fifth funding round of the state’s Abandoned Residential Property Municipality Relief Program (APP), an ongoing program that assists local government agencies with the maintenance and demolition of abandoned residential properties in their communities. The application will remain open until Feb. 16, 2021, at 3 p.m. CST and is available online at: www.ihda.org/my-community/revitalization-programs.
Treasury Releases Emergency Rental Assistance Information
On January 19, the U.S. Treasury Department released its first iteration of FAQs for the new $25 billion Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program established in the 2020 year-end COVID-19 relief and omnibus spending package.
Counties with populations above 200,000 residents were eligible to receive direct payments from Treasury if they applied for program funding by the January 12, 2021 deadline.
The FAQs document (available via this link) answers questions relevant to counties as they work to establish their own rental assistance programs and will be supplemented by additional guidance and updated on a rolling basis.
Illinois County Official Named NACo Committee Chair
National Association of Counties (NACo) President Gary W. Moore appointed Kendall County Circuit Clerk Matthew G. Prochaska as Chairman of the NACo Membership Standing Committee. Congratulations Circuit Clerk Prochaska!
Registration Opens for NACo 2021 Virtual Legislative Conference
The 2021 NACo Legislative Conference is going virtual! The event will take place over several days throughout the month of March, with bonus content throughout April. Additional information about the conference schedule and the registration process is available via this link.
Corporate Partner Spotlight
This week's corporate partner spotlight highlights ISACo's partnership with Comcast.
Comcast Corporation is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one of the United States’ largest video, high-speed internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the Xfinity brand. NBCUniversal is global and operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts. Sky is one of Europe’s leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content and has exclusive content rights.
With more than 6,000 local employees, Comcast’s Greater Chicago Region (https://chicago.comcast.com) serves customers in central and northern Illinois, including the Chicago area, northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan.
More information about the services provided by Comcast is available via this link.
Click on this link to learn more about the benefits and opportunities available through ISACo's Corporate Partner Program.