This week's Illinois State Association of Counties (ISACo) "News and Views" e-newsletter provides an update on Congressional work concerning the American Rescue Plan Act and the proposed provision to grant direct and flexible federal funding to counties, reports on ISACo's most recent efforts to protect counties by opposing a proposed cut to state-shared income tax revenue, conveys what occurred with select legislation of interest to counties considered in Illinois House and Senate committee hearings last week (March 1-5), spotlights key legislation about which county officials should be aware, reminds county officials to register for the National Association of Counties (NACo) Virtual Legislative Conference that begins today, includes information about two NACo National Membership calls scheduled for this week, highlights ISACo corporate partner Comcast and invites counties to join ISACo.
U.S. Senate Approves Package with Federal Funding for Counties
The U.S. Senate approved its version of the American Rescue Plan Act on March 6.
The Senate version of the plan includes $65.1 billion in direct, flexible funding for counties. This is the same amount the House allocated for counties in its version of the plan. For Illinois, this would mean an allocation for counties of $2.5 billion. An earlier version of the Senate bill would have reduced the overall county allocation by $5 billion, but the $5 billion was added back just prior to Senate passage thanks in large part to NACo's strong advocacy on behalf of counties.
ISACo was in communication with Illinois' Congressional delegation to encourage support for the county funding.
Here is a link to a document with estimates for what each Illinois county would receive under the proposed Senate plan. Under the Senate plan, funds would still be distributed directly to counties from the U.S. Treasury Department.
With different versions having passed the House and Senate, the chambers will work to reconcile the differences before sending a final version to President Biden.
Proposed LGDF Reduction to Local Governments
ISACo continues to advocate against Governor Pritzker's State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2022 budget proposal to reduce Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) allocations to municipalities and counties by 10% compared to the SFY 2021 distribution level. LGDF is the mechanism through which state income tax dollars are shared with counties and municipalities.
Last week ISACo Executive Director Joe McCoy sent letters to Governor Pritzker and the four Legislative Leaders expressing ISACo's opposition to the proposed cut and urging a full restoration of LGDF distributions to pre-2011 levels.
The letter to the Governor is available here and the letters to the four Legislative Leaders can be viewed here.
ISACo 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.
House and Senate Activities
The House and Senate held virtual committee hearings during the week of March 1-5. The House cancelled it's scheduled Springfield session days for the week of March 8-12. As of this writing, the Senate is still scheduled to convene in Springfield that week.
Bills of interest considered in committees last week:
SB 217 - Parking Excise Tax Exemption (ISACo Supports)
SB 217 (Senator Castro, D-Elgin) would provide that the Parking Excise Tax does not apply to: (1) a parking area or garage operated by the State, a State university, or a unit of local government; (2) the purchase of a parking space by the State, a State university, or a unit of local government for use by employees of the State, State university, or unit of local government; (3) a parking space leased to a governmental entity for use by the public; or (4) a parking area or garage owned and operated by a person engaged in the business of renting real estate and used by the lessee to park motor vehicles, recreational vehicles, or self-propelled vehicles for the lessee's own use. The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee on March 3.
Reporting State Stipends in Compensation Ordinance/Resolution (No Position)
HB 56 (Representative Didech, D-Buffalo Grove) would amend the Local Government Officer Compensation Act provide that, in the ordinance or resolution fixing the compensation of county elected officers, the county board shall separately list each state stipend an elected officer is expected to receive in addition to the compensation to be paid by the county. The bill was approved by the House Counties and Townships Committee on March 5.
Decennial Committees on Local Government Consolidation and Efficiency Act (No Position)
HB 162 (Representative Keicher, R-Sycamore) would create the Decennial Committees on Local Government Consolidation and Efficiency Act. The bill would require local governments to, within one year of the effective date and every 10 years thereafter, form a committee to explore governance and consolidation issues. The bill exempts counties and municipalities, but does require county board chairs/presidents in the county within which the local government lies to appoint at least two residents of the governmental unit to the committee as well as a government studies representative from a State university or community college. The committee is required to prepare a report of its findings before dissolving. The bill was approved by the House Counties and Townships Committee and an amendment is expected at a later date.
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 2804 - County Board Member Prohibited from Serving on Board of Health (Oppose)
HB 2819 - Open Meetings Act - Additional Notice Requirement (Oppose)
SB 96 - Government Immunity from Data Breach Liability (Support)
SB 350 - FOIA Exemption for Election Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities (Support)
SB 664 - Enterprise Zone Application and Certification Requirements (Oppose)
SB 1602 - Counties - Wind Energy Facility Siting Regulations (Oppose)
Registration Open for NACo 2021 Virtual Legislative Conference
The 2021 NACo Virtual Legislative Conference begins today! 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.
NACo National Membership Calls
(Monday, March 8, 2021, 4pm-4:30pm CST)
Click on this link to register for this event.
(Thursday, March 11, 2021, 3:30pm-4pm CST)
Click on this link to register for this event.
CORPORATE SPONSOR 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.
This week's corporate partner spotlight highlights ISACo's partnership with
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. ISACo member counties are listed here. Thank you for your consideration.