News and Views for Monday, March 29, 2021

3/29/2021 Joe McCoy

This week's Illinois State Association of Counties (ISACo) News and Views e-newsletter provides an update on where things stand on the spring legislative calendar, includes links to a multitude of redistricting hearings in the House and Senate, calls upon county officials to contact their state legislators and the Governor to express opposition to the proposed cut to Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) revenue, provides an update on bills of county interest approved by both chambers and House/Senate committees, includes amendments filed last week of interest to counties, shares information about the Illinois Commerce Commission's (ICC) 5-year Crossing Safety Plan, announces upcoming National Association of Counties (NACo) webinars, including a NACo national membership call, spotlights ISACo corporate partner Nationwide and invites counties to join ISACo.

General Assembly Reaches Scheduled Spring Break

After several weeks of virtual committee hearings and a few in-person session days, the General Assembly will largely take some time away from working to advance legislation through committees. Both chambers are scheduled to reconvene on April 13, 2021, to continue consideration of pending legislation.

The Illinois House and Senate have various subject matter hearings scheduled during the spring break period. Several hearings have been scheduled to take up the matter of redistricting.

The series of scheduled House Redistricting Committee meetings is available here, including an April 1, 2021, hearing. Click on the links included on the page to identify the region being discussed during that particular hearing.

Senate Redistricting Committee hearings are available via the links below:

Kankakee and Will Counties (March 29)

General Redistricting Hearing (March 30)

Southern Illinois (April 1)

Chicago North (April 2)

South Cook County (April 5)

Lake and McHenry Counties (April 7)

Chicago Northwest (April 8)

East Central and Southeastern Illinois (April 9)

Kane and Kendall Counties (April 15)

On the subject of redistricting, ISACo has been communicating with legislators about solutions to allow counties to redraw county board districts in accordance with state law despite the announcement that federal census data will not be available until September 2021. We will keep the membership apprised of our efforts to successfully address this issue.

The session has been unconventional to date because of COVID-19 protocols, but state legislators have been working consistently to discuss and vote on legislation in committees. Last Friday, March 26, 2021, was a key date on the legislative calendar because it was the final day to move bills out of substantive committees in the House. The Senate extended its committee deadline to April 16, 2021.

It always remains possible that individual bills receive deadline extensions to maintain their viability beyond these dates. The next significant deadline following the committee deadlines is April 23, 2021. This is the date by which legislation must be approved by the chamber or origin in order to be considered in the opposite chamber.

Please note that these are general rules. Exceptions can be made for certain bills if desired so by the Legislative Leaders and various issues can re-emerge as amendments on other bills later during the spring session.

ISACo Urges County Officials to Advocate Against Proposed Cut to County Revenue

ISACo is advocating 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.

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. ISACo requests that your county take action now to oppose this proposed reduction in county revenue!

Bills of Interest Approved by Both Chambers Last Week

HB 1871 - Authorizes Vote By Mail and Curbside Voting (No Position)

          Bill will be sent to the Governor.

HB 2415 - Adoption and Enforcement of Cannabis Tax Ordinance (Support)

          Bill will be sent to the Governor.

Bills of Interest Approved by Committee Last Week

HB 44 -  Statewide Deferred Prosecution Funding Program (Support)

         Passed House Appropriations - Public Safety Committee 

HB 109 - Allocation of Moneys from the Cannabis Regulation Fund (No Position)

         Passed House Appropriations - Public Safety Committee 

HB 151 - Juvenile Court - Neglected Minors (No Position)

         Passed House Judiciary - Criminal Committee 

HB 231 - Defines County and Municipal Populations as "Inhabitants" (No Position)

         Passed House Executive Committee

HB 347Hospital Reimbursement for Immunizations (No Position)

         Passed House Human Services Committee

HB 414Water and Sewer Financial Assistance Act (No Position)

         Passed House Public Utilities Committee

HB 427 - Lake County Chief Assessment Officer - Referendum (Oppose)

         Passed House Ethics and Elections Committee 

HB 571Municipal Code - TIF Reporting (No Position)

         Reported Back to House Revenue & Finance Committee 

HB 793Lobbying Restrictions for State Legislators (No Position)

         Passed House Ethics & Elections Committee 

HB 1727Creates Bad Apples in Law Enforcement Accountability Act (Oppose)

          Passed House Restorative Justice Committee 

HB 1863 - Intergovernmental Agreements for Joint Water Supplies (No Position)

          Passed House Public Utilities Committee 

HB 1952Cannabis Expungement - Juvenile Court (Under Review)

          Passed House Judiciary - Criminal Committee

HB 2379 - Extends Repeal Date for Small Wireless Facilities (Under Review)

          Passed House Public Utilities Committee 

HB 2380Extends Telecommunications and Cable/Video Repeal Dates (No Position)

          Passed House Public Utilities Committee 

HB 2406 - Requires COVID-19 Vaccine Coverage by Insurance Policies (No Position)

          Passed House Insurance Committee

HB 2433Local Health Department Investigation of Nursing Homes (Support)

          Passed House Human Services Committee 

HB 2521 - Electronic Communications and Collective Bargaining (No Position)

          Passed House Labor and Commerce Committee

HB 2643 - Additional Flexibility for Spending Local CURE Funds (Support)

          Passed House Appropriations - General Services Committee

HB 2950 - Additional Authorized Expenditures - County Motor Fuel Tax (Support) 

          Passed House Revenue and Finance Committee 

HB 3065Requirements for Health Care Facilities (Under Review)

          Passed House Human Services Committee 

HB 3085Legalizes Possession of Any Amount of Cannabis (Under Review)

          Passed House Judiciary - Criminal Committee 

HB 3126Cook County 2-1-1 Services (No Position)

          Passed House Human Services Committee 

HB 3138Courts - Security Officers (No Position)

          Passed House Judiciary - Criminal Committee 

HB 3160Forest Preserve/Conservation District Design-Build Act (Support)

          Passed House State Government Administration Committee

HB 3195Equitable Restrooms Act - Multiple Occupancy Restrooms (No Position)

          Passed House Human Services Committee 

HB 3289Property Tax - Homestead Exemption (No Position)

          Passed House Revenue and Finance Committee 

HB 3418 - Prohibits Non-Disclosure in Sexual Harassment Settlements (No Position)

          Passed House Labor and Commerce Committee 

HB 3509Food Truck Freedom Act (Oppose)

          Passed House Labor and Commerce Committee 

HB 3523IEMA - Cyber Attack (Support)

          Passed House State Government Administration Committee 

HB 3739Lead Service Line Replacement (Oppose)

          Passed House Labor and Commerce Committee 

HB 3864Blighted Area Act - Repeal (Under Review)

          Passed House Executive Committee 

HB 3911First Responders Task Force (No Position) 

          Passed House Police and Fire Committee 

SB 134Local Journalism Task Force (No Position)

         Passed Senate Commerce Committee

SB 170Restriction to Local Regulation of Vegetable Gardens (Oppose)

         Passed Senate Local Government Committee 

SB 651Juvenile Court - Venue Transfers (Under Review)

         Passed Senate Health Committee 

New Amendments Relevant to Counties Filed to Viable Bills Last Week

Excludes amendments to bills that did not emerge from committees prior to the March 26 deadline. 

SB 1975 (SCA 0001) Adds provisions to the introduced bill providing that an applicant for the homestead exemption for persons with disabilities may be examined by an optometrist if the person qualifies because of a visual disability. Provides that provisions of the introduced bill concerning automatic renewal (i) apply for taxable years 2021 through 2026 and (ii) apply if the person presents proof of eligibility (in the introduced bill, a Disability Identification Card stating that the claimant is under a Class 2 disability). Provides that the chief county assessment officer shall not automatically renew the homestead exemption for persons with disabilities if the physician, advanced practice registered nurse, optometrist, or physician assistant who examined the claimant determined that the disability is not expected to continue for 12 months or more.

HB 282 (HCA 0001) Provides that, in a county with less than 2,000,000 inhabitants, and only upon receipt of a written request by the superintendent of the county Veterans Assistance Commission for the county in which the State's Attorney is located, the State's Attorney shall have the discretionary authority to render an opinion, without fee or reward, upon any question of law relating to a matter in which the county Veterans Assistance Commission may be concerned. Provides that the State's Attorney shall have the discretion to grant or decline such a request. Corrects two gender-neutral changes. Amends the Military Veterans Assistance Act making a conforming change. 

ICC Announces FY 2022-2026 Crossing Safety Improvement Plan

On Thursday, March 18, 2021, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved its annual five-year Crossing Safety Improvement Program to begin implementing highway-rail safety capital projects for local roads across the state. For Fiscal Years 2022-2026, the ICC will spend $341 million from the Grade Crossing Protection Fund (GCPF) to help local communities and railroads pay for safety improvements at nearly 500 crossing locations. The plan also allocates $78 million from the Rebuild Illinois (RBI)capital program for the installation of grade crossing protection or grade separations not limited to local
routes or other restrictions

For Fiscal Year 2022, the ICC will consider projects requiring commitments from the GCPF totaling nearly $49.7 million and the RBI totaling $34.5 million.

The full FY 2022-2026 Crossing Safety Improvement Program 5-Year plan with the full list of projects is available via this link.

Upcoming NACo Webinars

NACo has announced the following upcoming webinar opportunities:

Women of NACo (WON) Leadership Network Business Meeting

(Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 2:30pm-3:30pm CST)

The Women of NACo (WON) Leadership Network will meet to discuss WON leadership changes and celebrate Women’s History Month. All county officials are welcome to join and network with their peers.

Click on this link to register for this event.

NACo National Membership Call

(Thursday, April 1, 2021, 1pm-1:30pm CST)

Click on this link to register for this event.

Corporate Partner Spotlight 

This week's corporate partner spotlight highlights ISACo's partnership with Nationwide.

Over the past 85 years, focusing on customers and valuing people have helped Nationwide become one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world.

Even though Nationwide has dozens of affiliated companies, people are its biggest resource – and its greatest asset in providing excellent customer service to its customers. That's why its Supply Management Services group makes sure agents and associates get the best quality products and services, at the best possible cost. It's also why Nationwide has an Office of Customer Advocacy. 

More information about the services provided by Nationwide 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.