News and Views for Monday, November 15, 2021

11/15/2021 Joe McCoy

This week's Illinois State Association of Counties (ISACo) News and Views e-newsletter provides information about the signing of the federal infrastructure bill into law, provides links to a new Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation and Executive Order (EO) extending previous EOs, reports on Governor JB Pritzker signing legislation amending the Health Care Right of Conscience Act into law, informs about the Governor's Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) projections of an improvement in the state's budget deficit, discusses the Governor's announcement of funding toward violence reduction, offers an update on a proposed Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) change, shares news of a visit by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to Lake County, announces upcoming National Association of Counties (NACo) webinar opportunities, spotlights ISACo's corporate partner Christopher B. Burke Engineering and invites counties to join ISACo. 

Federal Infrastructure Bill Signed into Law

On Monday, November 15, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) into law following 6 months of negotiation and eventual passage by the United States Congress.

The $973 billion comprehensive infrastructure package will fund the following county priorities over 5 years (FY 2022 through FY 2026):

  • A new, long-term surface transportation reauthorization for highway, bridge and transit systems.
  • Meaningful commitments to transportation safety and project streamlining.
  • Critical new investments in water, stormwater and broadband projects.
  • Increased investments in off-system bridges – including county owned bridges that are not part of the federal-aid highway system.
  • Raising the cap on Private Activity Bonds, which will facilitate the construction of infrastructure projects.
  • An extension of the Secure Rural Schools program for timber harvest counties for three years.

The Act includes approximately $17 billion in funding for Illinois toward the following purposes: 

  • $1.7 billion to improve drinking and wastewater infrastructure.
  • $9.8 billion for federal highway projects.
  • $1.4 billion for bridge replacement and repairs. Plus the state could get more if successful in competitive grants.
  • About $4 billion to improve public transportation options 
  • At least $100 million for broadband coverage across the state. About 2.9 million low-income Illinoisans would get an internet access benefit.
  • Approximately $616 million for airport improvements. 
  • $149 million to fund the expansion of the electric charging network. 
  • $27 million to protect against wildfires.
  • $22 million to protect against cyberattacks.

A National Association of Counties (NACo) analysis of the provisions within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is available via this link.

New Disaster Proclamation Signed by Governor

On November 12, 2021, Governor JB Pritzker extended the statewide disaster declaration by signing a new Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation (linked here). As has been the case, the Governor also signed Executive Order (EO) 2021-30 (linked here) to extend earlier executive orders.

Governor Signs Bill into Law Amending Health Care Right of Conscience Act 

Governor JB Pritzker signed SB 1169 into law as P.A. 102-0667 on November 8, 2021. The new law prevents the Health Care Right of Conscience Act from being used to forestall certain COVID-19 prevention methods and requirements. The new law takes affect on June 1, 2022. This later effective date is in place because the House and Senate did not have the supermajority votes necessary to pass the bill with an immediate effective date. The General Assembly may further amend the law in early 2022 when a simple majority is all that is required to add an earlier effective date.

GOMB Projects Improvement in State Budget Deficit

On Tuesday, November 9, 2021, the Governor's Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) released its annual Fiscal and Economic Policy Report. This year's report provided an optimistic 5-year forecast showing significant improvement in the state's structural budget deficit.

GOMB is now projecting significantly smaller deficits than estimated previously in the general funds budget for fiscal years 2023 through 2027. The forecasted fiscal year 2023 shortfall was reduced from $2.9 billion, as estimated in 2019, to $406 million, and the 2024 shortfall was reduced from $3.2 billion, as estimated in 2019, to a deficit of $820 million.   

The press release is available via this link.

Governor Announces Funding Toward Violence Reduction

On Monday, November 1, 2021, Governor JB Pritzker declared gun violence a public health crisis and announced support for a $250 million state investment over the next three years to implement the Reimagine Public Safety plan, a data-driven and community-based violence prevention initiative. The state will begin issuing Notices of Funding Opportunities for qualified organizations before the end of 2021 with a goal of enabling work to be well underway before the summer of 2022.

The press release is available via this link.

Update on Proposed Federal ARPA Change

In our October 28, 2021, Federal Update we reported on federal legislation approved by the United States Senate (S. 3011) and a companion bill introduced in the United States House of Representatives (H.R. 5735) that would strengthen the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (Recovery Fund) and allow states and local governments more expenditure flexibility. 

Illinois counties would be authorized to spend more than $2.5 billion of ARPA funds towards transportation and infrastructure projects and more than $565 million toward government services should the federal legislation pass.

As of this writing, H.R. 5735 has 75 bipartisan co-sponsors. It is likely to pass as a stand-alone bill or be included in the Continuing Resolution on December 3.

ISACo will provide further updates on this legislation as they become available.  

Secretary of Health and Human Services Visits Lake County 

On Tuesday, November 9, 2021, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra visited the Lake County Health Department to discuss youth COVID-19 vaccinations and the substance abuse epidemic. 

Pictured: HHS Secretary Becerra (front row center) with Lake County officials and staff including County Board Chairwoman Sandy Hart (back row second from left).

Upcoming NACo Webinars

NACo has announced the following upcoming webinar opportunities:

Building Resilience and Preserving Missions Through the DoD REPI Program

(Tuesday, November 16, 2021, 12:00-1:00pm CST)

Join NACo and the Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program for an interactive and educational discussion on disaster resilience and climate change. Counties and military installations alike face growing threats from severe flooding, catastrophic wildfires, drought and other extreme weather events. Come learn more about how the REPI program can advance resilience and climate action goals and protect critical missions through off-base natural infrastructure solutions.

Click on this link to register for this event.

Advancing the Patient Experience

(Tuesday, November 16, 2021, 3:00-4:00pm CST)

Sponsored by Netsmart for Healthy Counties

As information sharing within health systems becomes the expectation, so does the advancement of the patient experience. This begins with the range of interactions patients have with both their providers and the healthcare system as a whole, as well as consumer-driven technology to help boost engagement and collaboration. With self-help tools that are proactive and connected, patients become more invested in their care, resulting in better outcomes for everyone involved. But in order for patients to leverage these tools, the technology must include three components most important to the consumer. In this presentation, these three basic building blocks to patient engagement will be reviewed and presenters will show how far-reaching they are into all aspects of your organization.

Click on this link to register for this event.

ARPA Usage Series with Esri and NACo: Health and Human Services

(Wednesday, November 17, 2021, 12:00-1:00pm CST)

Federal relief funding for the COVID-19 pandemic provides governments with an opportunity to invest in their communities and advance the use of technology. This new webinar series from the National Association of Counties (NACo) and Esri will answer questions and provide tips to help align your local priorities with funding opportunities to strengthen your technological investments.

Each webinar will highlight existing federal programs, provide examples of how other jurisdictions are using federal relief funding and show how your investment in GIS can support your recovery initiatives.

Click on this link to register for this event.

Counties Can Improve Economic Mobility Through Adult Literacy

(Wednesday, November 17, 12:00-1:00pm CST)

More than 130 million Americans—roughly 54 percent of adults between the ages of 16 and 74—struggle with low literacy. A recent report from the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy found that getting all U.S. adults to literacy proficiency would generate an additional $2.2 trillion in annual income for the country. Improved literacy rates have the power to strengthen our economy by boosting labor productivity and breaking the cycle of poverty for families in need.

Counties have a key role to play in identifying, assessing and addressing current barriers to economic mobility. Data show that income is strongly related to literacy and adults who achieve proficiency earn significantly more than those who do not. Through initiatives at local libraries and in partnership with workforce development, education and community-based organizations, counties are connecting residents to resources and programs that can improve their literacy skills and overall well-being. Join NACo on November 17, 12:00 pm CST to hear from experts at the Barbara Bush Foundation and county leaders on how improving literacy benefits our economy and what your county can do to boost literacy rates.

Click on this link to register for this event.

A Zero-Trust Security and Data Privacy Approach for Counties

(Thursday, November 18, 2021, 12:00-1:00pm CST)

Identities are usually spread out in different systems to solve county problems. On top of this data sprawl, fraud is happening now more than ever. Protecting a person’s identity can’t simply be at the mercy of a basic username and password. Adaptive controls and a zero-trust mentality can help. Customer identify and access management specialist Ryan Schaller will cover in layman’s terms how you can improve the protection of both your end-users as well as county data.

Click on this link to register for this event.

Responding to Familiar Faces in Crisis Part 2: Engagement Challenges and Strategies

(Thursday, November 18, 1:00-2:00pm CST)

A Stepping Up Initiative webinar.  

This three-part series provides information on how to effectively serve and increase engagement with people who frequently cycle in and out of jails, emergency departments, homeless shelters and other community-based settings.

Click on this link to register for this event. 


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 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.