This week's Illinois State Association of Counties (ISACo) News and Views e-newsletter includes information about the return of the General Assembly this week and covers legislative action that occurred on Wednesday, announces ISACo's 2022 Illinois County Action Program (ICAP) and amended 2022 County Platform, offers an update on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) employer vaccine mandate, reports on the final payment made by the State on a loan from the U.S. Federal Reserve Municipal Liquidity Facility, shares pictures from ISACo's Annual Meeting Luncheon, announces an upcoming National Association of Counties (NACo) webinar opportunity, provides a link to register for the upcoming NACo Legislative Conference, spotlights ISACo corporate partner AT&T and invites counties to join ISACo.
General Assembly Returns
The Illinois General Assembly convened the 2022 spring legislative session this week. Both chambers met on Wednesday, January 5, but cancelled scheduled session days on January 4 and 6 due to concerns about the latest COVID-19 surge. The House cancelled session for the week of January 10-14 and the Senate is expected to follow suit.
The following bills were approved by both chambers on Wednesday and will next be considered by the Governor:
HB 3512 - Criminal Justice Trailer Bill
HB 3138 - Judicial Redistricting
HB 1953 - Election Reform Trailer Bill
The Illinois House approved a change to its rules to allow for remote voting during the spring legislative session. The Senate's rules already allowed for remote voting.
ISACo 2022 Legislative Agenda
Following a recommendation by ISACo's Legislative Committee, the Board of Directors approved a limited number of bills for introduction this spring. The 2022 spring legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on April 8. This is almost two months earlier than the usual May 31 adjournment date. Legislative action is expected to be limited during the spring because we are in an election year with a June primary. As always, ISACo will continue to aggressively pursue our legislative objectives and work to influence legislation that would impact county government.
ISACo's 2022 Illinois County Action Program (ICAP) is available via this link.
In addition to approving several proposals for introduction, ISACo's Board of Directors approved modifications to the Association's 2022 County Platform. The County Platform reflects ISACo's positions on various policy issues and informs our legislative advocacy program. Please click on the image to review the County Platform.
Questions about the Illinois County Action Program or 2022 County Platform can be directed to ISACo via this link.
OSHA Employer Vaccine Mandate Update
As reported in our November 8, 2021, Federal Legislative Update, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) on November 4, 2021, to require large employers to develop, implement and enforce a COVID-19 vaccination policy or institute a policy to allow employees to choose between vaccination and weekly testing.
The ETS applies to employers with 100 employees or more that are subject to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. This includes county governments located in the 26 states with OSHA-approved state plans, which are OSHA-approved workplace safety and health programs operated by individual states or U.S. territories. Illinois is one of these states.
On December 17, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit dissolved the 5th Circuit’s stay of the Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard. OSHA is moving forward with implementation on the employer vaccine mandate.
On January 7, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments based on appeals of the 6th Circuit's decision. The Supreme Court, however, has not issued a stay and compliance dates for the vaccine mandate remain in effect.
It is recommended that counties continue to expeditiously prepare for implementation of the mandate as if it will take effect. County officials should consult with their state's attorney regarding implementation.
To account for any uncertainty created by the stay, OSHA is exercising enforcement discretion with respect to the compliance dates of the ETS. To provide employers with sufficient time to come into compliance, OSHA has announced it will not issue citations for noncompliance with any requirements of the ETS before January 10, 2022, and will not issue citations for noncompliance with the standard’s testing requirements before February 9, 2022, so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard. Previously, the deadline for employees to be fully vaccinated or to begin regular testing was January 4, 2022. OSHA will work closely with entities to provide compliance assistance.
Click on this link to view a summary of the ETS prepared by NACo.
Click on this link to view additional resources available on the U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA website. Resources include sample templates for mandatory vaccine, testing and mask policies.
ISACo will continue to update counties with any new developments.
State Pays Back Loan from U.S. Federal Reserve Municipal Liquidity Facility
On Wednesday, January 5, 2022, Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced that the state made the final $302 million payment on a $2 billion loan taken out in 2020 to cover COVID-19 expenses. It is estimated the early pay-back of the loan will save Illinois taxpayers $82 million in interest.
ISACo Annual Meeting Luncheon
On Friday, December 17, 2021, ISACo hosted a luncheon for our member counties and corporate partners at the Thatcher Woods Pavilion in Cook County. Pictures from the event are available via this link.
Upcoming NACo Webinar
(Tuesday, January 11, 2022, 1:00-2:00pm CST)
Counties across the country are building multidisciplinary teams and using key data elements to prevent and better address mental health and substance use disorder crises outside of the criminal legal system. Building an effective care continuum targets the root causes of a behavioral health crisis by investing in comprehensive and accessible prevention, treatment, and real-time intervention. With almost one in four adults in the United States living with a mental health condition, substance use disorder or both, county leaders recognize the urgency to find innovative approaches to balance community behavioral health needs and law enforcement response in a time of crisis. This discussion will provide key resources on the importance of a continuum of care and feature lessons learned from counties working to reduce barriers to behavioral health for its residents.
Registration Open for NACo's 2022 Legislative Conference
The 2022 NACo Legislative Conference will be held in Washington, D.C. from February 12-16. The Conference brings together nearly 2,000 elected and appointed county officials to focus on federal policy issues that impact counties and their residents. Attendees have the opportunity to engage in second-to-none policy and educational sessions, interact with federal officials and participate in congressional briefings and meetings.
ISACo is currently planning an event for Illinois attendees during the conference. Additional information about this event will be announced at a later date.
Registration information is available via this link.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. ISACo member counties are listed here. Thank you for your consideration.