This week's Illinois State Association of Counties (ISACo) News and Views e-newsletter lists key remaining legislative session deadlines, provides an update on bills of county interest approved by committees as well as newly-filed amendments, offers an update on the state budget process, shares information about legislation to partially address the State's underfunded Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, announces newly-filed rules to expedite cannabis dispensary license applications, conveys that the Secretary of State is extending certain expiration dates, provides an update on a withdrawn provision that would have rescinded and repurposed some federal ARPA funds, invites counties to participate in a U.S. Treasury webinar offering guidance about reporting requirements for Non-entitlement Units of Local Government (NEU) recipients, spotlights ISACo corporate partner Comcast and invites counties to join ISACo.
Key Legislative Session Deadlines
- March 25: Deadline - Committee deadline for bills in opposite chamber
- April 1: Deadline - Third Reading deadline for bills in opposite chamber
- April 8: Adjournment
Legislation Approved by Committees Last Week
The following ISACo-tracked bills passed out of House Committees during the week of March 14-18. The Senate was not in session, although the body did hold several appropriation hearings. Bills approved by committees are next considered by the full chamber. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if your county would like to offer input on any ISACo-tracked bills.
SB 1016 - Water Commission - Appointments (Support)
SB 1633 - Nursing Homes - Resident Rights (No Position)
SB 3082 - High-Speed Railway Commission Act (No Position)
SB 3127 - Emergency Medical Dispatchers (No Position)
SB 3187 - Counties Code - Recorder Stamp (Support)
SB 3633 - Local- Demolition Documentation (No Position)
SB 3651 - Pension Code - IMRF Contributions (No Position)
SB 3652 - Pension Code - IMRF - Early Retirement (No Position)
SB 3685 - Property Tax - Hearings and Training (No Position)
SB 3737 - County Judicial Facilities Fee (Support)
SB 3789 - Local Government Consolidation - 10 Years (No Position)
SB 3838 - Farmers' Market Retail Permit (No Position)
SB 3895 - Property Tax - Reduced Assessed Value (No Position)
SB 3939 - Cybersecurity - Information Tech (Support)
Amendments Filed Last Week
Several amendments were filed during the week of March 14-18 that would impact or otherwise be of interest to counties. A list of these amendments with summaries and ISACo positions is available via this link. ISACo will continue to review introduced amendments and take positions as necessary. Please contact us at email@example.com if your county has a question or would like to offer input regarding an ISACo position on a bill or amendment. Your comments and questions are always welcome.
State Budget Update
House and Senate Appropriation Committees finished the task of examining agency budget requests last week. Both chambers will now begin the process of identifying and prioritizing changes they would like to see made to the Governor’s introduced budget and then work together toward a final budget. The goal remains to pass a budget by April 8, 2022.
Legislators are also considering how to allocate the remaining $3.5 billion in ARPA funds and how many of these dollars should be held in reserve. At the moment, $2 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds are being targeted to address the shortfall in the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund although this figure could change pending the outcome of budget negotiations.
Unemployment Trust Fund
Legislation to address the shortfall in the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, SB 2803 (Holmes/Harris), passed the House Executive Committee by a vote of 9-5 and is now pending before the full House. As currently drafted, the bill appropriates $2 billion of ARPA funds to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund - an amount which only partially addresses the $4 billion shortfall.
Rules Filed to Streamline Adult-Use Cannabis Dispensary License Application Process
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is filing rules to simplify the cannabis dispensary license application process, remove barriers for social equity applicants and expand opportunities to target the communities most impacted by the war on drugs. IDFPR is required by statute to issue at least 50 new adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses by the end of 2022. Additional information is available here.
Secretary of State Announces Extension of Expiration Dates
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced that expiration dates for driver’s licenses, ID cards and learner’s permits are being extended until July 31, 2022. The previous extension was set to end on March 31, 2022. This extension does not apply to commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) and CDL learner’s permits.
Update on Federal ARPA Funds Clawback Proposal
County officials may be aware that Congress and the White House discussed a potential or clawback of ARPA funds as the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 omnibus spending package was being formulated. The following is intended to dispel any confusion.
Congressional leaders agreed to and then withdrew a provision for $11.5 billion in new COVID investment for testing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that required a more than $7 billion offset from the STATE portion of Recovery Funds.
Under the original offset mechanism proposed as part of the aforementioned omnibus federal spending package, the provision would have initially looked to the second tranche of ARPA funding for 31 states for the clawback. If this did not yield sufficient funds, there would have been several different levels of government subject to potential loss of unspent funds – territories being the second option, tribal governments the third option and counties and cities as the LAST AND FOURTH option. The National Association of Counties (NACo) was given assurances that there were enough unobligated monies at the state level to cover the potential clawback.
ISACo will continue to monitor ARPA-related issues and communicate any new developments to Illinois counties. In an effort to prevent any potential clawback of county ARPA funds in the future, ISACo urges each Illinois county to make their members of Congress aware how the county is INVESTING these dollars in important community priorities.
Coronavirus State & Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Reporting Overview Webinar
(Monday, March 21, 2022 2:00PM CST)
The U.S. Treasury Department is hosting a webinar for ARPA Recovery Fund Non-entitlement Units of Local Government (NEU) recipients on reporting requirements. While no counties under the ARPA are considered NEUs, the webinar will likely be helpful for rural counties that are new to this process and are required to comply with federal Uniform Guidance and Uniform Grant Guidance under Treasury’s final rule. To register for the webinar, click here.
CORPORATE SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT
This week's corporate partner spotlight highlights ISACo's partnership with Comcast.
Comcast Corporation is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one of the United States’ largest video, high-speed internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the Xfinity brand. NBCUniversal is global and operates news, entertainment, and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts. Sky is one of Europe’s leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks produce original content and has exclusive content rights.
With more than 6,000 local employees, Comcast’s Greater Chicago Region (https://chicago.comcast.com) serves customers in central and northern Illinois, including the Chicago area, northwest Indiana, and southwest Michigan.
More information about the services provided by Comcast 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.