News and Views for Monday, June 6, 2022

6/6/2022 Joe McCoy

This week's Illinois State Association of Counties (ISACo) News and Views e-newsletter announces the extension of the Gubernatorial Disaster Declaration for another month, reports on the enactment into law of bills intended to address the Opioid crisis, shares the dates for the fall Veto Session, includes information about infrastructure grants awarded to counties and other local governments, offers an update on adult use cannabis license awards, conveys a circuit court ruling finding Illinois' prejudgment interest law unconstitutional, includes information about Coal-to-Solar Program recipients, provides a link for county officials and staff to register for the National Association of Counties (NACo) Annual Conference being held from July 21-24 in Colorado, announces upcoming NACo webinar opportunities, spotlights ISACo corporate partner UnitedHealthCare and invites counties to join ISACo. 

Disaster Declaration Extended

On May 27, 2022, Governor JB Pritzker signed a new Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation that extends the state's disaster declaration through June 25, 2022.

The Governor also issued Executive Order (EO) 2022-13. This EO re-issues several previous EOs.

Per P.A. 101-0640, remote meetings remain a permissible option for local governments as long as certain criteria are met. Additional information about this authority is available via this link.

Governor Pritzker Signs Legislation Addressing Opioid Crisis

Governor Pritzker signed a package of bills aimed at addressing the opioid crisis. They are as follows: 

SB 2535 (P.A. 102-1040) provides that pharmacists and those who prescribe opioids are required to inform patients of the addictive nature of the drugs and that the patient has the option to receive an opioid antagonist if they wish. (No Position)

HB 4408 (P.A. 102-1038) prohibits insurers and Medicaid from charging a copay for Naloxone. (No Position)

SB 2565 (P.A. 102-1041) allows circuit courts to implement drug-court treatment programs. The courts will also include additional harm-reduction services and allow a state’s attorney to file motions to vacate and expunge convictions and records to people who successfully complete these programs. (No Position)

HB 4556 (P.A. 102-1039) expands access for pharmacists and other health care professionals to distribute fentanyl testing strips to help reduce opioid overdoses and ensures the supplies can be stored without fear of prosecution in a licensed pharmacy, hospital or other health care facility. (Support)

ISACo's "Bills of Interest to Counties Approved by Both Chambers in 2022" report is available via this link. County officials and staff are urged to review this report.  

Veto Session Dates

The Illinois General Assembly will convene for the upcoming fall Veto Session on November 15 – 17 and November 29 – December 1.   

Infrastructure Grants Awarded to Counties and Other Local Governments

On Tuesday, May 31, 2022, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced the awarding of $50.7 million in new infrastructure grants to 34 communities, counties and localities across Illinois for critical infrastructure projects including bridge replacement, water treatment upgrades, road construction projects and more. State funds will be met with $72.1 million in matching commitments for capital projects, which brings the total investment to nearly $123 million. 

A listing of grant recipients along with additional information is available via this link. 

Adult Use Cannabis License Awards

The Circuit Court of Cook County lifted the stays that enjoined 185 Conditional Adult Use Cannabis Dispensing Organization Licenses to applicants selected in three lotteries in 2021.

In anticipation of receiving further guidance in a related federal case, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) anticipates releasing detailed information on next steps for applicants as soon as that guidance is issued. The federal case concerns objections to the state’s residency requirements for dispensary owners.

IDFPR is also working on finalizing plans for three corrective lotteries to be held in June (one for each of the cannabis dispensary license lotteries held in 2021). Details on those lotteries will be announced by the Department when finalized. Those updates will be available on IDFPR’s Adult Use Cannabis Program webpage.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) awarded 48 Craft Grow licenses. This successfully completed the licensing round that began in December of 2021. The list of awardees is available here. As of June 1, 2022, IDOA has awarded a total of 341 adult use cannabis licenses for craft growers, infusers and transporters under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.

Additional information is available via this link.  

Prejudgment Interest Law Declared Unconstitutional 

Judge Marcia Maras in the Circuit Court of Cook County issued a memorandum, holding Illinois’s recently enacted prejudgment interest statute unconstitutional and holding that the legislation violated both the right of trial by jury and the prohibition against special legislation. As Judge Maras’s ruling is a trial-level decision, it does not apply statewide. The plaintiff has the right to a direct appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court under Rule 302.

Additional information is available via this link.  

Coal-to-Solar Program Recipients Announced

On June 1, 2022, Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced the participants of the Coal-to-Solar Energy Storage Grant Program, a key component of the historic Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), which puts Illinois on a path toward 100 percent clean energy by 2050. As part of the Coal-to-Solar program, five coal plant sites - which are already closed or in the process of closing - have been selected to participate. The program provides incentives for companies to install energy storage facilities at the sites of former coal plants, providing benefits to the electric grid and the ability for more renewables resources to be built and used.

Additional information is available via this link.

Registration for NACo Annual Conference

The 2022 National Association of Counties (NACo) Annual Conference will be held in Adams County. Colorado from July 21-24. Participants from counties of all sizes come together to shape NACo's federal policy agenda, share proven practices and strengthen knowledge networks to help improve residents’ lives and the efficiency of county government. ISACo and the United Counties Council of Illinois (UCCI) will co-host a dinner for Illinois attendees. Information about this event will be forthcoming. Registration and information about housing is available via this link.

Upcoming NACo Webinars

NACo has announced the following upcoming webinar opportunities. ISACo is a proud partner with NACo and encourages counties to participate in NACo membership and activities. 

Addressing the Nation's Behavioral Health Crisis with Recovery Funds

(Wednesday, June 8, 2022, 2:00-3:00pm CDT)

This webinar will discuss how counties are using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to expand the availability and scope of behavioral health services, invest in local crisis centers and construct rehabilitation centers to strengthen community resources.

Click on this link to register for this event.

Ready to Rebuild: Advancing Infrastructure Jobs in Federally Funded Transportation Projects

(Thursday, June 9, 2022, 2:00-3:00pm CDT)

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) provides a historic investment in our nation’s physical infrastructure, but we know that roads and bridges won’t build themselves. The U.S. Departments of Labor and Transportation recognize this unique opportunity to promote the creation of high-quality infrastructure and transportation jobs with a focus on equitable workforce development to ensure that the residents of America’s counties, parishes and boroughs have access to the good-paying jobs that will result from these infrastructure projects. Join experts from the Departments of Labor and Transportation to learn about their recently announced partnership on forthcoming funding opportunities from the Department of Transportation that include requirements and allowances for focuses on job quality and equitable workforce development. Receive guidance on tools and checklists to help guide your county in its application process.

Click on this link to register for this event. 

Corporate Partner Spotlight

UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement, an operating unit of UnitedHealth Group, is dedicated to providing innovative health and well-being solutions that help Medicare beneficiaries live healthier and more secure lives.

With 12 million members enrolled in individual plans and nearly 1.5 million in employer-sponsored group plans (Retiree Solutions), UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement is the largest business dedicated to the health and well-being needs of seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries. UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement manages a full array of products and services including Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare supplement plans, Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, employer retiree health services and programs designed to support chronic condition management and care coordination. Many of our products carry the AARP name.

Our products, services, and programs are designed to meet the individual needs of our members as well as their families, physicians, and communities.

The portfolio of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement products includes:

Medicare Advantage Plans

UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement is the nation’s largest Medicare Advantage insurance plan, serving more than 4.9 million members through a variety of plans and services.

Medicare Part D Plans

UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement is the nation’s largest Medicare Part D prescription drug insurer, serving more than 9 million members throughout the United States and its territories. Our Medicare Part D plans cover thousands of brand-name and generic prescription drugs that are most commonly used by people on Medicare, delivering savings, stability and peace of mind to our customers.

AARP Medicare Supplement

UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement operates the nation’s largest Medicare supplement business, serving more than 4.5 million members. Medicare supplement insurance plans are sold by private insurance companies to fill gaps in Medicare Parts A and B coverage. There are multiple plans available, giving members the ability to choose a plan which best fits their needs and the freedom to go to any doctor or hospital that participates in Medicare. Generally, with a Medicare supplement plan, there are limited out-of-pocket costs, so members have more predictable health care expenses.

Retiree Solutions

UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement leverages cost-effective health care delivery systems and superior networks to provide optimal health outcomes and cost savings for employers and their retirees. Group plans include Medicare Advantage, Medicare supplement and Medicare Part D. We also offer a Connector Model solution for employers looking to transition their members from traditional group-sponsored plans to individual retiree products.

Additional information about the UnitedHealthcare Group Medicare Advantage (MA) PPO health insurance plan is available here.

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.