News and Views for Monday, March 22, 2021

3/22/2021 Joe McCoy

This week's Illinois State Association of Counties (ISACo) News and Views e-newsletter includes a list of bills that affect or are of interest to counties approved by committees last week, summarizes new amendments filed that are of relevance to counties, discusses General Assembly redistricting hearings and ISACo's efforts to aid counties in complying with their obligations to redraw county board districts, announces an expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, provides information about the U.S. EPA's announcement delaying the effective date for implementation of the Lead and Copper Rule, links to an announcement about funding for small businesses and the launch of the next phase of the Rebuild Distressed Communities Program, shares information about Governor Pritzker's appointment of a new leader for the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, offers information on NACo's online leadership program led by General Colin Powell, spotlights corporate partner AT&T and invites counties to join ISACo.

Bills of Interest Approved by Committee Last Week

HB 53  -  Demographic Information for Video Interviews (No Position)

          Passed House Cybersecurity, Data Analytics and IT Committee

HB 62  -  Health Care for All (No Position)

          Passed House Health Care Availability & Accessibility Committee 

HB 111  - Juvenile Court - Delinquent Minors (No Position)

          Passed House Judiciary - Criminal Committee

HB 398  - Complete Streets Act (Support)

          Passed House Transportation: Regulation, Roads & Bridges Committee

HB 633  - Restrictions to Local Regulation of Vegetable Gardens (Oppose)

          Passed House Agriculture and Conservation Committee

HB 653  - EPA - Groundwater Monitoring (Oppose)

          Passed House Energy & Environment Committee 

HB 813  - Grade Crossing Protection (No Position)

          Passed House Transportation: Regulation, Roads & Bridges Committee 

HB 1765 - Open Meetings - Background Checks (No Position)

          Passed House Judiciary - Criminal Committee

HB 1871 - Vote by Mail (Under Review)

          Passed House Ethics & Elections Committee

HB 2412 - Notices Minority Groups (Opposed)

          Passed House Judiciary - Civil Committee

HB 2449 - County Board Chair Authority to Call Special Meetings Expanded to All Counties (ISACo Support)

          Passed House Counties and Townships Committee

HB 2454 - County and Municipality Permit Fee Relief (Support)

          Passed House Cities and Villages Committee

HB 2806 - Local Volunteer Board Member Removal Act (Support)

          Passed House Cities and Villages Committee

HB 2807 - Caps Local Government Surplus Funds (Oppose)

          Passed Housed Cities and Villages Committee

HB 2870 - Cook County Recorder Fees (Support)

          Passed House Counties and Townships Committee

SB 337 -  Court Security Officers (No Position) 

          Passed Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 501 -  Limits County Responsibility to Rename Townships (Support/ISACo Initiative)

          Passed Senate Local Government Committee 

SB 642 -  Clerks of Courts Payments (Support)

          Passed Senate Local Government Committee

Amendments Relevant to Counties Filed Last Week 

SB 481 (SCA 0001) Provides that the county treasurer or the treasurer of the unit of local government shall (rather than may) create the following funds, if not already in existence: the Court Automation Fund; the Document Storage Fund; the Circuit Clerk Operations and Administration Fund; the State's Attorney Records Automation Fund; the Public Defender Records Automation Fund; the Circuit Court Clerk Electronic Citation Fund; and, in each county where a Children's Advocacy Center provides services, the Child Advocacy Center Fund. Repeals the Criminal and Traffic Assessment Act and the Section of the Clerks of Courts Act pertaining to court fees on January 1, 2024 (rather than 2026).

SB 583 (SCA 0001) Amends the Local Records Act. Provides that reports and records of the obligation, receipt, and use of public funds of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook Count are public records available for inspection by the public. Amends the Clerks of Courts Act. Provides that the clerk of the court shall (rather than may) accept credit card payments over the Internet for specified payments. Amends the Criminal and Traffic Assessment Act. Provides that one hour of public or community service shall be equivalent to $10 (rather than $4) of assessment. ISACo opposed the bill as introduced but has no position on the amendment.

SB 1615 (SCA 0001) Provides that of the federal funds received by the State for purposes related to the COVID-19 public health emergency, 11% (rather than 25%) of any such funds received on or after March 1, 2021 shall be allocated for use by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Grant Program (BIG Program).

SB 1703 (SCA 0001) Requires the clerk of circuit court to submit specified assessment reports no later than March 1, 2022 (rather than March 1, 2021), and March 1 of every year thereafter.

HB 164 (HCA 0001) Replaces everything after the enacting clause with the provisions of the introduced bill with the following changes: Provides that all water main-related appurtenances, and specifically (rather including, but not limited to) fire hydrants and valves shall be included in the Agency's written approval. Requires fire hydrants and valves to be designed and installed in accordance with the latest edition of the Ten State Recommended Standards for Water Works, the latest edition of the local fire code in effect for the area of the proposed installation.

HB 745 (HCA 0001) Provides that the Illinois State Police shall establish a portal for use by federal, State, or local law enforcement agencies, including Offices of the State's Attorneys and the Office of the Attorney General to capture a report of persons whose Firearm Owner's Identification Cards have been revoked or suspended. The bill includes other provisions as well.

HB 1765 (HCA 0001) Further amends the Open Meetings Act. Includes in the definition of "background check", collection of political and religious information. Deletes from the definition of "social media" that the service, platform, or site must be free of charge. Provides that information collected under this provision must be deleted within 24 hours of the meeting. Provides that a background check of speakers at meetings of public bodies may only be conducted if there is probable cause or reasonable suspicion to believe that there is a security risk to public officials and other persons who will attend the meeting and that security risk is documented by law enforcement.

HB 1920 (HCA 0001) Replaces everything after the enacting clause. Amends the Election Code. In provisions requiring election authorities to automatically register a voter who has moved to a new jurisdiction in Illinois or within the jurisdiction, requires the election authority to act within 90 days of receipt of information from the National Change of Address database. Requires county clerks and the Board of Election Commissioners to complete verifications of voter registrations after a consolidated election in an odd numbered year but before the first day of candidate circulation for candidate filing for the following primary election in an even numbered year (rather than at least once in every 2 years). Requires the county clerks and the Board of Election Commissioners to certify to the State Board of Election that the verification has been conducted and completed within 30 days of completion of the verification. 

HB 2994 (HCA 0001) Provides that the township board and the corporate authorities of a coterminous, or substantially coterminous, municipality or county in which the township lies (rather than the county board or township board and corporate authorities of the municipality) may by resolutions of the board and corporate authorities of the municipality or county board, and after referendum of the voters of the township and municipality or county: (1) discontinue and abolish the township; (2) transfer all the rights, powers, duties, assets, property, liabilities, obligations, and responsibilities of the township to the municipality or county, as applicable; and (3) cease and dissolve all township road districts with the district's jurisdiction and authority transferred to the municipality or county, as applicable, upon the dissolution of the township.

HB 4038 (HCA 0001) Replaces everything after the enacting clause. Amends the Employee Sick Leave Act. Substitutes the term "covered family member" for child, stepchild, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandparent, and stepparent. Defines "personal care" as activities to ensure that a covered family member's basic medical, hygienic, nutritional, emotional support, or safety needs are met, or to provide transportation to medical appointments, for a covered family member who is unable to meet those needs alone, and permits the use of personal sick leave benefits for personal care of a covered family member, subject to specified limitations. 

General Assembly Holding Redistricting Hearings

On March 17, the Illinois Senate Redistricting Committee met to begin formal discussions about the redistricting process. The re-map occurs every 10 years following the decennial census and includes the reconfiguration of Congressional and state legislative districts.

Local governments also have an obligation to redraw district boundaries for elective offices within their jurisdictions.

The Senate hearing was the first of a series of hearings planned to develop a redistricting plan. The Illinois House has yet to announce when it will begin holding similar hearings. This year's process is going to be more challenging than what occurred during previous decades.

As a consequence of COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau did not meet its statutory deadline of December 31, 2020, to deliver population counts used for apportionment to the President. Census announced it will release these counts by September 30, 2021, well beyond the April 1, 2021, deadline for sending redistricting counts to the states. This affects the state and local governments that rely on this data to draw district boundaries based upon population. 

Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) indicated he is committed to having Illinois' legislative map redrawn by the June 30, 2021, deadline. But how can this date be met without census data? Some legislators are exploring the possibility of utilizing population estimates rather than actual hard counts. One possible source of these estimates is the American Community Survey. Another option would be to use private vendor data. The question is whether these estimates are accurate.

SB 1666 (Senator Holmes, D-Aurora) is an ISACo initiative intended to position counties to meet their obligations to redraw county board districts despite the delay holding up receipt of federal census data. Our Position Statement is available here. We plan on amending the bill to make it applicable to all counties and to defer the March primary election until June 2021 to allow more time to receive and utilize official census data to reconfigure county board districts properly. ISACo has engaged our lobbyists to discuss county redistricting issues with legislators and we will share additional information about this issue as it develops.

Expansion of COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Announced

On March 19, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced new essential workers that will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming days, ahead of the universal eligibility on April 12. This comes as the state reaches 100,000 COVID-19 vaccinations each day with weekly shipments of vaccine projected to surpass one million doses in April.

Beginning Monday, March 22, higher education staff, government workers and media will be eligible for vaccination at the more than 900 location in the state’s provider network. Beginning Monday, March 29, food and beverage workers, construction trade workers and religious leaders will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Related Information:

Illinois Launches Mass Vaccination Expansion in DuPage and Kane Counties to Meet the State's Vaccine-For-All Goal on April 12th

Illinois Announces State-Support for Lake and McHenry County Vaccination Efforts

Governor Pritzker Announces Metrics-Based Pathway for Illinois to Fully Reopen; Expands Vaccine Eligibility to All Residents 16+ on April 12

U.S. EPA Announces Delay to Effective Date of Lead and Copper Rule

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is delaying the effective date of the revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) until June 17, 2021. These revisions were originally slated to begin on March 16, 2021. EPA is accepting comments until April 12, 2021, to collect input from the public regarding whether the implementation of the revisions should be further delayed until December 16, 2021. 

A link to the Federal Register with the proposed rule making is available here.

Comments can be submitted via this link.

Funding Announced for Small Businesses and Next Phase of the Rebuild Distressed Communities Program 

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), Local Initiatives Support Group (LISC) and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) announced the first round of small businesses receiving grants as part of the Rebuild Distressed Communities (RDC) program, with $1.7 million awarded to 58 small businesses facing significant damages due to events of civil unrest. Additionally, the State of Illinois and its community partners kicked off the next phase of the $25 million RDC program – releasing a Request for Proposals (RFP) that will make $10 million available for corridor improvement projects planned for later this year to address the ongoing needs of impacted communities. More information is available via this link.

Governor Pritzker Appoints New Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs 

Governor JB Pritzker named Terry Prince, a 31-year United States Navy veteran with experience leading veterans' homes in Ohio, to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA), pending confirmation by the Illinois Senate.

NACo High Performance Leadership Academy 

As a county leader, you manage several priority-1 decisions, activities and initiatives every day. Perhaps one of the most important is personnel development – working hard to make existing leaders better and emerging leaders ready. As you conduct this work with existing and emerging leaders to make your county stronger, you deserve to have a program that is easily scalable to accommodate your workforce, a program that is non-disruptive to busy schedules and cost effective so that you have an immediate return on investment. NACo offers the NACo High Performance Leadership Academy, a 12-week online leadership program led by General Colin Powell to meet this need.

Corporate Sponsor Spotlight


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.