News and Views for Monday, October 25, 2021

10/25/2021 Joe McCoy

This week's Illinois State Association of Counties (ISACo) News and Views e-newsletter offers an update on the continuation of the Veto Session, includes new amendments relevant to counties, provides a list containing the official and certified 2020 census population counts for each county as submitted by the U.S. Census Bureau to the Illinois Secretary of State, reports on grant opportunities to fund efficiency projects at low-income residential properties, shares an FAQ from the National Association of Counties (NACo) concerning the proposed COVID-19 employer mandate, announces an upcoming NACo membership call and webinar opportunities, spotlights ISACo corporate partner AT&T and invites counties to join ISACo.

Veto Session Continues This Week

The Illinois General Assembly convened on October 19 and 20 of last week before canceling the session day scheduled for October 21. The House and Senate will convene for the second and final week of Veto Session from October 26-28. 

Approval of a new congressional map is a priority for the General Assembly this week. A revised map was presented over the weekend and is available via this link. Scheduled hearings on the map are as follows:

House Hearing: Tuesday, October 26 (Time/Location TBD)

Senate Hearing: Wednesday, October 27 (Time/Location TBD)

ISACo was informed that an amendment may be filed to make further changes to the Illinois Election Code. If filed, ISACo will review the provisions and make this information available to counties.

As always, ISACo will continue to monitor developments and engage in direct advocacy on county issues.

New Amendments Relevant to Counties Filed Last Week

House Amendment

SB 1169 (HFA# 2) amends the Health Care Right of Conscience Act. Provides that it is not a violation of the Act for any person or public official, or for any public or private association, agency, corporation, entity, institution, or employer to take any measures or impose any requirements intended to prevent contraction or transmission of COVID-19 or any pathogens that result in COVID-19 or any of its subsequent iterations. Provides that it is not a violation of the Act to enforce such measures or requirements. Provides that the Section applies to all actions commenced or pending on or after the effective date of the amendatory Act. Effective immediately upon becoming law. No Position

Senate Amendments

HB 2791 (SFA# 1) amends the Reimagine Public Safety Act. Refers to violence prevention organizations and violence prevention professionals (rather than qualified violence prevention organizations and qualified violence prevention professionals). Makes references to juvenile justice authorities in conjunction with criminal justice authorities. Provides that the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention is established within the Department of Human Services on or before January 1, 2022 (rather than September 1, 2021). Provides that the Department and the Office (rather than only the Office) shall have grant-making, operational, and procurement authority to distribute funds to entities necessary to execute the functions established in the Act. Requires the Office to determine the 10 (rather than 17) most violent neighborhoods for specified municipalities. Provides that the office shall identify an additional 7 neighborhoods for specified municipalities and shall have the authority to consider adding up to 5 additional neighborhoods or clusters of contiguous neighborhoods. Provides that the Office may, subject to appropriation, identify up to 5 additional neighborhoods, municipalities, contiguous geographic areas, or other local government-identified boundary areas to receive funding under the Act. Requires the data analysis to identify new eligible recipients to be updated to reflect eligibility based on the most recently available 5 full years of data no more than once every 3 years. Provides that the Office may establish grant award ranges to ensure grants will have the potential to reduce violence in each neighborhood. Removes language providing that fees negotiated for approved technical assistance and training providers shall not exceed 10% of awarded grant funds to a youth development services organization. Makes other changes. Effective immediately upon becoming law. Under Review

HB 3702 (SFA #1) amends the Counties Code. Provides that a superintendent of a department of public works shall be a registered professional engineer, hold a degree in engineering from an accredited institution of higher learning, or have at least 10 years of professional, management-level experience in either a municipal or county public works department (rather than the superintendent shall be a registered professional engineer). Effective immediately upon becoming law. The bill as amended was approved by the Senate Local Government Committee on Wednesday, October 20 and passed by the Senate later that day. HB 3702 will next be considered in the House. Support

2020 Census Population Counts 

The Illinois Secretary of State has certified the 2020 census population counts provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. The list with the population counts, now official for purposes of state revenue sharing, is available via this link. ISACo is appreciative of our local government partners at the Illinois Municipal League (IML) for sharing this information with us.

Illinois' newly-certified population count is 12,812,508 residents. 

Illinois EPA Announces Grant Opportunity to Fund Energy Efficiency Projects at Low-Income Residential Properties

On October 19, 2021, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Director John J. Kim announced the Low-Income Residential Energy Efficiency grant opportunity with up to $2,000,000 in funding available for energy efficiency upgrades at low-income single or multi-family residential properties. A Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) has been posted to the Illinois EPA’s Office of Energy webpage.

Eligible applicants include public housing authorities, units of local government (municipalities, counties, or townships) or nonprofit organizations. Low-income single or multi-family properties eligible for funding must be a customer of a municipally-owned electric utility or an electric cooperative. Projects in Illinois EPA-identified environmental justice areas of concern will be prioritized. Eligible projects include window replacement, heating and cooling equipment retrofits and lighting upgrades. Total project costs may range from $25,000 - $500,000 with a match requirement subject to the total funding request.

Applications for the Low-Income Residential Energy Efficiency NOFO are due by close of business (5:00 p.m.) on Wednesday, January 12, 2022. Click on this for eligibility and application information available on the Illinois EPA's Office of Energy webpage. Applicants may not apply for a grant until they are pre-qualified through the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) Grantee Portal.

Click on this link for the full press release.

National Association of Counties (NACo) COVID-19 Employer Mandate FAQ

On September 9, the Biden administration announced a new COVID-19 Action Plan, titled “The Path Out of the Pandemic.” The plan takes a six-pronged approach to combat COVID-19, which includes advancing COVID-19 mitigation and response efforts through vaccination and masking, keeping schools safely open and bolstering economic recovery.

The first portion of this six-part plan outlines efforts to reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans through regulatory powers and authorities. NACo has created a brief FAQ that provides an overview of common questions and answers regarding the new regulations and their potential impacts on counties. NACo will continue to monitor and report on administrative and regulatory actions being taken as they occur.

Click on this link to access the FAQ prepared by NACo.

Upcoming NACo Membership Call/Webinars

National Membership Call - ARPA Update 

(Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 1pm-2pm CST)

Now that the U.S. Department of Treasury has begun administering American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (Recovery Fund), NACo is hosting a session to provide counties with the latest updates on eligible uses, reporting requirements and next steps for the release of the Final Rule for the Recovery Fund. NACo members will also have the opportunity to ask questions.

NACo member counties can click on this link to register for the national membership call. 

NACo has also announced the following upcoming webinar opportunities:

Health Counties Advisory Board Meeting: The Social Determinants of Health

(Wednesday, October 27, 2021, 1pm-2pm CST)

The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. They include factors like socioeconomic status, education, neighborhood and physical environment, employment, access to health care and social support networks. Prior to the pandemic, counties across the country were implementing a variety of initiatives to address social determinants of health both in health and broader non-health sectors. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated already existing health disparities for a broad range of populations, but especially for people of color.

For the first Healthy Counties Advisory Board (Board) meeting of the year, NACo will welcome its 2021-2022 Board leadership and members and engage in a discussion on the social determinants of health and how the health of residents can be improved by understanding and implementing policy focused on filling gaps in social needs. All NACo members are welcome to attend! 

Click on this link to register for this event.

Reducing Jail Populations Through State and Local Policy Coordination

(Thursday, October 28, 2021, 12pm-1pm CST)

Counties operate 91 percent of local jails and spend an estimated $26 billion each year on correctional facilities. However, many of the laws and policies that determine who goes to jail and for how long are made at the state level. State policy can also determine what is a crime and when to arrest someone, how to make pretrial release and sentencing decisions and how to handle probation violations and unpaid fees; state budget policy can also dictate funding availability for mental health services in local communities. Counties across the country are partnering with state leaders to consider policies that reduce jail populations and improve public safety, especially as congregate care settings have fueled the spread of COVID-19. Join NACo and its partners at The Pew Charitable Trusts for a webinar featuring the Michigan Association of Counties on the state and local partnership to safely reduce jail populations.

Click on this link to register for this event.

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.