News and Views for Monday, March 1, 2021

3/1/2021 Joe McCoy

This week's Illinois State Association of Counties (ISACo) "News and Views" e-newsletter provides an update on the status of federal legislation that includes billions in funding for Illinois counties, urges counties to take action against Governor Pritzker's proposal to reduce Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) disbursements to counties and municipalities, provides information about General Assembly committee work, spotlights key legislation of interest to counties, reminds county officials to register for the National Association of Counties (NACo) 2021 Virtual Legislative Conference, includes information about upcoming NACo webinar opportunities, highlights ISACo corporate partner Christopher B. Burke Engineering and invites counties to join ISACo.

U.S. House of Representatives Approves Federal Funding for Counties

On February 27, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Funds legislation that is a key provision within the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act. The bill includes $65.1 billion in critical aid that will go directly to every county in America.  

As mentioned in our February 16 News and Views e-newsletter, NACo released projections about how much each county would receive should the funding be enacted into law at the levels included in the House-approved version. Here is a link to a document with estimates about how much each Illinois county would receive. All projections are subject to change. In total, the legislation includes approximately $2.5 billion for Illinois counties.

The U.S. Senate will deliberate on its own version of COVID relief aid. Once, and if, both chambers complete their respective work, they will meet to reconcile differences before sending a final bill to the president's desk for his signature.

ISACo has been active with our advocacy in support of this important federal funding for counties.

On February 16, ISACo sent a letter to the Illinois Congressional delegation in support of the funding proposed for states and localities within the State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Funds legislation.

In partnership with NACo, ISACo participated in a social media campaign on February 25 to build support for the local funding in the American Rescue Plan Act prior to the successful vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In addition to this social media campaign, ISACo joined NACo and other state county associations throughout the country in signing a letter of support for the State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Funds legislation. Illinois counties benefit from the strong partnership between ISACo and NACo.

We ask that county officials contact Senator Durbin and Senator Duckworth and urge their support for the State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Funds legislation. Let them know this federal funding is critical for assisting counties emerging from the fiscal challenges created by the pandemic emergency response and will generate job growth in Illinois. An economic overview of Illinois that includes data about how many jobs need to be created to return to pre-pandemic employment levels is available via this link.   

Protect County LGDF Revenue - Take Action

Per our previous communications, Governor Pritzker is proposing a 10% reduction in Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) allocations to municipalities and counties compared to the SFY 2021 distribution level. As you are probably aware, LGDF is the mechanism through which state income tax dollars are shared with counties and municipalities.

ISACo opposes cuts to revenues the state shares with local governments and will engage aggressively and constructively with legislators and the Governor in an effort to prevent any reduction to LGDF distributions. But we need your help! To this end, we have launched a “Protect County LGDF Revenue” page on our website with additional information about LGDF and tools for use in communicating your opposition to the reduction with your state legislators and the Governor.

General Assembly Holding Committee Hearings

February 26 was the deadline for introducing legislation in the Senate. The House deadline was February 19. 

ISACo's Illinois County Action Program (ICAP) is available via this link. These are bills for which ISACo identified sponsors and will pursue passage. ISACo will also influence a multitude of bills introduced by others for consideration in the General Assembly.

The General Assembly begins committee action this week, albeit virtually. The deadline to move bills out of House and Senate Committees is Friday, March 26. 

County Legislation Spotlight

ISACo will frequently highlight legislation of interest to counties. This week's highlighted bills are below. In some cases, ISACo has a position. In other cases, ISACo does not have a position or the position has not yet been determined. ISACo positions on legislation are informed by our County Platform and member input.

HB 2950 - MFT Use for Sidewalks and Bike Paths (Support)

HB 3400 - Superintendent of Public Works Qualifications (Support)

HB 5 - Unfunded Mandates Prohibited (Support)

HB 267 - Limits Local Residential Inspections (Oppose)

HB 412 - Some State Shared Local Revenues Exempt from GATA (Support)

HB 546 - State Reimbursement to County Jails (Support)

HB 2643 - Extends Timetable for Expending Local CURE Funds/SB 683 - Same Legislation (Support)

SB 643 - State Assumes Control of Local Public Health Departments During Declared Statewide Disaster (Oppose)

SB 217 - Parking Excise Tax Not Applicable to Parking Garages Operated by Local Governments or Spaces Leased by Local Governments (Support)

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.

Upcoming NACo Webinars

NACo has announced the following upcoming webinar opportunities:

Quarterly DDJ Criminal Justice Peer Engagement Group Call

(Monday, March 1, 2021, 1pm-2pm CST)

The DDJ Criminal Justice Peer Engagement Group is composed of individuals whose primary responsibilities involve managing, coordinating or executing various aspects of justice administration and law enforcement, including police, courts, corrections, diversion and reentry. On this quarter’s call, Arnold Ventures will present their new DDJ Playbook. They will discuss how the Playbook can guide criminal justice professionals in the development of DDJ Initiatives. DDJ communities played a key role in developing the Playbook, sharing lessons learned and successful practices so that other communities can build from the work already underway.

Click on this link to register of this event.

Quarterly Behavioral Health and Social Services Peer Engagement Group Call

(Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 1pm-2pm CST)

The DDJ Behavioral Health and Social Services Group is composed of individuals whose primary responsibilities address homelessness, mental illness, physical health and substance abuse treatment and recovery support services. On this quarter’s call, Arnold Ventures will present their new DDJ Playbook. They will discuss how the Playbook can guide behavioral health and social services professionals in the development of DDJ Initiatives. DDJ communities played a key role in developing the Playbook, sharing lessons learned and successful practices so that other communities can build from the work already underway.

Click on this link to register for this event.

NACo National Membership Call

(Thursday, March 4, 2021, 1pm-1:30pm CST)

Click on this link to register for this event.

Effectively Distributing Rental Assistance: Evidence for Local Governments

(Friday, March 5, 2021, 1pm-2pm CST)

With $25 billion in rental assistance included in the end-of-year COVID-19 relief package and more proposed in the latest Biden recovery plan, local governments are now responsible for distributing billions of dollars in aid to prevent evictions and threats to economic recovery in the housing market. However, rental assistance programs to date have struggled to effectively distribute funds quickly and reach hard-to-target populations. This webinar features city and county examples and housing experts who have identified local government best practices in distributing rental assistance as a response to the economic impact of COVID-19.

Click on this link to register for this event.

NACo Cyberattack Simulation | Ransomware 

In response to the growing threat landscape and complexity of the interdependent and networked business of counties, the NACo County Tech Xchange is partnering with the Professional Development Academy and their community of CISOs, CIOS, risk managers and cyber leaders to launch cyberattack simulation training.

The NACo Cyberattack Simulation is a reality-based simulation that prepares county risk leaders for cyberattacks by assessing counties' current state of readiness and identifying gaps. This simulation will help attendees evaluate their incident response procedures and tools and guide them in developing a detailed cyberattack response strategy. The NACo Cyberattack Simulation is designed for cybersecurity managers, their teams and those responsible for risk defense, protection, and recovery, including HR, policy management, finance, public safety and emergency services. The time commitment is 30-60 minutes per day for one week. Activities can be completed on the participants’ schedule and accessed online anywhere. The NACo County Tech Xchange and partners are providing a scholarship of $795 per enrollee. The cost to NACo member counties is $0.

Registration will be available from Monday March 1, to Friday March 5.

Corporate Sponsor Spotlight

This week's corporate partner spotlight highlights ISACo's partnership with Christopher B. Burke Engineering.

Started in 1986, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LTD. is a full-service consulting engineering and surveying firm specializing in civil, transportation/highway, municipal, traffic, water resources, environmental, structural and mechanical engineering. The company provides not only design services, but also planning, preliminary engineering, permitting, and construction observation. Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LTD. successfully completed the design, permitting and construction of numerous major transportation projects, flood control reservoirs, pump stations, embankments, water mains and water systems, storm sewers, and large open channels. 

More information about the services provided by Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LTD. 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.