101st General Assembly Adjourns Following Active "Lame Duck" Session

1/13/2021 Joe McCoy

Welch Elected House Speaker

After serving 38 years as Speaker of the Illinois House, Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago) suspended his candidacy for the leadership post on Monday.  Representative Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-Westchester) was selected by the House Democratic Caucus to replace Madigan as Speaker for the 102nd General Assembly, making him the first African-American Speaker in Illinois history. 

Speaker Welch is expected to announce his leadership team in the coming days. ISACo has a good relationship with Speaker Welch and looks forward to working with him on county issues.  

Lame Duck Session

The lack of a traditional Fall Veto Session combined with the pandemic protocols regulating how session was conducted led to one of the most chaotic lame-duck sessions in recent memory.  

The 101st General Assembly concluded its lame-duck session and officially adjourned on the morning of Wednesday, January 13. Legislators worked through the night Tuesday and into Wednesday morning and concluded their business moments before the next General Assembly took office. 

In the end, many of the omnibus bills proved to be too complex and controversial to pass in a short time frame and the clock ran out before work could be completed.

Legislation to address ethics reform, solar funding, decoupling of Illinois taxes, cannabis social equity lottery and many others remain unresolved. The General Assembly also failed to approve legislation to allow for the body to engage in remote legislating during the remainder of the pandemic.

Bills approved during the lame-duck session must be sent to the Governor within 30 days of passage. The Governor has 60 days from receipt of the legislation to act. Because the 101st General Assembly has adjourned for good, any bills vetoed by the Governor are considered dead. Legislators may reintroduce any vetoed legislation as new legislation for consideration during the 102nd General Assembly. 

Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Agenda

In early September, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC) released its agenda of sweeping reforms. The agenda focused on four pillars of policy: criminal justice reform, violence and police accountability; education and workforce development; economic access, equity and opportunity; and health care and human services.

Since fall, legislators and stakeholders held numerous public hearings to discuss components of each policy pillar. The hearings culminated with the introduction and consideration of a package of omnibus legislation over the past few days.  

Criminal Justice Reform, Violence and Police Accountability  

HB 3653 (Sen. Sims/Rep. Slaughter) represents the criminal justice reform and law enforcement pillar of the ILBC Agenda. Two of the provisions opposed by ISACo were not included in the final version of the bill. Highlights include the following:

  • Eliminates bail, beginning January 1, 2023, and replaces it with a pretrial release system to be developed by Illinois courts. 
  • Includes Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s provisions on police certification and decertification for officers.
  • Requires the use of body cameras in large agencies by 2022 and all agencies by 2025. County law enforcement would be required to use body cameras by the following dates based on population: 100,000-499,999 residents (January 1, 2023); 50,000-99,999 residents (January 1, 2024); and less than 50,000 residents (January 1, 2025). Failure to comply places a local government at risk of losing funds available through the Law Enforcement Community Grant Act. The previous amendments being considered would have allowed for the diversion of 20% of a local government's Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) revenue per year of non-compliance. ISACo opposed the LGDF provision.
  • Makes changes to use of force, including banning certain types of force including choke holds and restraints above the shoulders.
  • Requires law enforcement to give immediate medical assistance to an injured person and creates a duty to intervene when another office uses excessive force. 
  • Creates a Task Force on Constitutional Rights and Remedies to investigate constitutional rights and remedies, including qualified immunity. The previous amendments would have eliminated qualified immunity and other protections from litigation. The legislation approved on Wednesday makes qualified immunity subject to further study. ISACo opposed the elimination of qualified immunity. 
  • Expands the rights of detainees, including allowing the ability to make three phone calls within three hours of being taken into custody.
  • Contains sentencing reform provisions and makes changes to prison practices. 

The bill was approved by both chambers and will be sent to the Governor. ISACo will share additional information about this legislation at a later date.   

Education and Workforce Development

HB 2170  (Rep. Ammons/Sen. Lightford) represents the education and workforce development pillar of the ILBC legislative package. In part, this bill seeks to develop the following:

  • New programs to support minority early childhood education.
  • A task force to explore equitable school experiences.
  • Revised state standards for high schools.
  • Special summer programs for impoverished students.
  • Efforts to enroll Black students at in-state colleges. 

HB 2170 is headed to the Governor after passing both chambers. A trailer bill is expected in the 102nd General Assembly to address technical issues. 

HR 696 (Rep. Ammons) urges Congress to recognize outstanding student debt as a crisis. HR 696 was adopted by the House.

Economic Access, Opportunity and Equity  

SB 1608 (Sen. Belt/Rep. Harper) represents the first piece of the economic access, opportunity and equity portion of the ILBC agenda. Key provisions of this omnibus bill include the following:

  • Makes procurement changes related to diversity.
  • Creates the Illinois Community Reinvestment Act.
  • Establishes the Illinois Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Matching Funds Program.
  • Creates the Community Development Loan Guarantee Act.
  • Establishes the Loan Guarantee Program.

SB 1608 passed both houses and will be sent to the Governor. 

SB 1480 (Sen. Belt/Rep. Harper) represents the second piece of the economic access, opportunity and equity portion of the ILBC Agenda. The bill provides that it is a civil rights violation for any employer, employment agency or labor organization to use a conviction record as a basis to refuse to hire, to segregate or to act with respect to recruitment, hiring, promotion, renewal of employment, selection for training or apprenticeship, discharge, discipline, tenure or terms, privileges or conditions of employment. Provides equal pay registration certificate requirements. The bill also makes changes to annual Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reporting.

The bill passed both houses and heads to the Governor.

SB 1980 (Sen. Belt/Rep. Harper) represents the third piece of the ILBC Caucus Agenda dealing with housing.  Requires housing authorities to collect information concerning the denial of assistance on the basis of criminal history records. Specifies further requirements concerning notice and use of criminal history records as related to housing. Makes changes to the Property Tax Code concerning the creation of an indemnity fund.  Passed both houses and heads to the Governor.

SB 1792 (Sen. Belt/Rep. Harper) represents the fourth piece of the economic access, opportunity and equity portion of the ILBC Agenda dealing with industry specific equity. The bill creates the Cannabis Equity Commission, the Predatory Loan Prevention Act and institutes industry disparity studies for the farming and beauty supply industries. Floor Amendment #4 removed the provision mandating the replacement of lead service lines by community water suppliers. The bill passed both houses and now heads to the Governor.

HR 866 (Rep. Thapedi) calls on the Governor to immediately act to improve the housing stock, communities and conditions of and for people of African descent. Urges the Governor and the legislature to quickly invoke the principles of the Equitable Economic Land Use Plan (EELUP) of 2020. Declares that funding be directed toward low-income communities for infrastructure, housing, and other economic development. Calls for reforms of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure and the Mortgage Act and for more funding to existing housing programs to help people of African descent in the facilitation of the EELUP of 2020. Calls for the Menard Correctional Center to revert to its original name of Southern Illinois Penitentiary.  HR 866 was adopted by the House.

Health Care and Human Services Reforms

The healthcare and human services reform pillar was the only pillar to not successfully pass both chambers. After much discussion, HB 3840 (Rep. Lilly/Sen. Hunter) passed the Senate 35-18. Meanwhile, SB 558 (Sen. Holmes/Rep. Lilly) passed the House 66-41. Neither bill, however, was considered by the other chamber. Watch for this legislation to be reintroduced in the 102nd General Assembly. 

Other Issues

Revenue Legislation

Last minute efforts to decouple Illinois tax law from federal law failed in the House. SB 1199  (Sen. Harmon/Rep. Zalewski) would have decoupled Illinois tax law from new federal business tax changes, which was a high priority of Governor Pritzker. The decoupling, which is opposed by the business community, is projected to save the state $1 billion. The bill failed in the House on final action and was placed on postponed consideration.

Education Legislation

HB 2275 (Rep. Conyears-Ervin/Sen. Cunningham) allows Chicago teachers to have the same bargaining rights as teachers in the rest of the state.  Proponents believe, if this bill passes, Chicago teachers would have the right to bargain return-to-school safety measures during the COVID pandemic. HB 2275 passed the House in 2019.  The bill passed the Senate this week by a vote of 38-16 and now heads to the Governor.

HB 1559  (Rep. Cassidy/Sen. Cunningham) is trailer legislation to HB 2275. This represents an agreement between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union.  The bill moves negotiations over the length of the school day and the length of the school year into the permissible subject area of collective bargaining. The bill passed both houses and heads to the Governor.

HB 2263 (Rep. Carroll/Sen. Gillespie) would have prohibited the use of isolation rooms and restraints as a behavior management technique in public and private schools.  Under the bill, a physical restraint could only be used when the student's behavior presents imminent danger of harm to the student or others.  Proposed a grant program and a three-year phase out to assist schools in adapting to newly-developed behavior management techniques. HB 2263 passed the Senate unanimously but was not considered on concurrence in the House.

HB 2267 (Rep. Ramirez/Sen. Martwick) would have allowed for an elected Chicago School Board. The bill previously passed the House in 2019. This bill was positioned for consideration in the Illinois Senate but was not called for a vote.

Ethics Reforms

Last minute efforts to enact ethics reform stalled in the Illinois House. House Floor Amendment # 2 to SB 3071 (Sen. Gillespie/Rep. Harris) is the product of the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform. ISACo participated in a hearing of the Joint Commission in January 2020. The Commission was tasked with issuing a final report by March 31, 2020, but work was stalled during the pandemic.

The bill proposed to do the following:

  • Prohibit public officials, with certain exceptions, from operating as outside lobbyists.
  • Impose a revolving door prohibition for members of General Assembly and Constitutional officers. 
  • Make various changes to the Statement of Economic Interest. 
  • Provide pro rata compensation for members of the General Assembly who leave office - members would only be paid for time worked. 
  • Prohibit fundraisers, both virtual and in-person, in Sangamon County on the day before or after session.  
  • Create a statewide lobby registration system for all levels of government including local governments. 
  • Require disclosure of consultants by the client entity. 
  • Require that an Executive Officer or Appointee with a campaign account must pause that account for the duration of their term of service. 

The Floor Amendment was approved by the House Executive Committee, but the bill was not considered for final action in the House.

Hospital Legislation   

SB 1510 (Sen. Steans/Rep. Harris) represents long-anticipated and heavily-negotiated healthcare transformation and omnibus Medicaid provision legislation. The goal of transformation is to foster innovative partnerships, which will be funded by a pool, designed to establish or improve integrated health care delivery systems that will provide additional access to the Medicaid and uninsured populations in their communities, as well as improve health care equity. In addition to the hospital transformation provisions, the bills makes COVID related extensions for nursing homes, technical corrections for the hospital assessment, enacts a fix to the FQHC formula and reinstates supplemental funding rate for Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) children held beyond medical necessity. The bill also requires the Department of Public Health (IDPH) to accept on-the-job experience in lieu of clinical training from any individual who participated in the temporary nursing assistant program during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill passed both chambers and now heads to the Governor.

HB 356 (Rep. Harris/Sen. Steans) would have re-enacted provisions regarding hospital assessments. The bill would have provided for the continuity of effect for the re-enacted provisions between July 1, 2020, and the effective date of the amendatory Act. The bill also would have required the Department of Public Health (IDPH) to accept on-the-job experience in lieu of clinical training from any individual who participated in the temporary nursing assistant program during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill passed the Senate unanimously but was not considered on concurrence in the House. 

COVID-19 Legislation

Attempts to expand emergency housing assistance stalled in the Illinois Senate. SB 3066  (Sen. Murphy/Rep. Rameriz) proposed to extend the moratorium on mortgage foreclosure and judicial sales, expand eviction sealing and implement federal rental assistance. SB 3066 passed the House 77-33-1, but was not considered on concurrence in the Senate.  

HB 3393 (Rep. LaPointe/Sen. Feigenholtz) would have created the COVID-19 Pandemic Hospitality Recovery Act to extend the "cocktails-to-go" bill that passed in May 2020. The bill would have allowed the use of credit cards when retailers purchase from distributors. The bill would have exempted “items of value” so bars and restaurants could receive temporary donations of tents, heaters and other necessary items during the pandemic. Finally, the bill would have changed the timing of sales tax payments for restaurants from quarterly to monthly.

HB 3393 passed the Senate unanimously but was not considered on concurrence in the House.

SB 54 (Sen. Feigenholtz/Rep. Zalewski) makes changes to liquor home delivery to allow retailers to deliver directly to consumers. The bill passed both chambers and now heads to the Governor’s desk. 

HB 3469 (Rep. Burke/Sen. Murphy) would have allowed the General Assembly to conduct business remotely during the pandemic. These provisions expired at the conclusion of the 102nd General Assembly. The bill would have permitted the Secretary of State to adopt rules governing expiration dates of various registrations and permits. The bill proposed to extend the time for local CURES funds to be expended to match federal law. The legislation would have reinstated the Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission, proposed changes to the award of OSLAD grant funds and created the Landscape Architecture Registration Act.

HB 3469 passed the Senate unanimously but was not considered on concurrence in the House.

HB 4276 (Rep. Hoffman/Sen. Cunningham) extends three COVID-19 worker protections passed in May that expired at the end of 2020. The bill extends the temporary rebuttable presumption for first responder and front-line workers who contract COVID-19 on the job. It extends death benefits to Chicago police officers and firefighters who contract COVID-19 while on the job and die as a result. Finally, the bill creates a temporary 60-day extension of paid disability leave for employees injured in the line of duty under the Public Employee Disability Act (PEDA). The bill passed both houses and now heads to the Governor’s desk.

The following bills of interest passed both chambers and will be forwarded to the Governor for consideration:

  • HB 3360 (Rep. Hoffman/Sen. Harmon) is an initiative of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association to allow for pre-judgment interest, rather than post-judgment interest, in civil proceedings. Passed both chambers.
  • HB 570 (Rep. Hoffman/Sen. Righter) contains TIF extensions for the communities of Highwood, Cahokia, Charleston and Flora. Passed both chambers.
  • HB 156 (Rep. Zalewski/Sen. Jones) reenacts the Transportation Network Providers Act. Provides for the continuation and validation of the Act, and extends the repeal to June 1, 2021. Passed both chambers.

Other bills were considered during the lame duck session but did not pass both chambers:

  • HB 122 (Rep. Gordon-Booth/Sen. Castro) attempted to rectify the cannabis license lottery to give social equity applicants better opportunities. The bill passed the Senate but was not considered on concurrence in the House.
  • SB 3096 (Sen. Morrison/Rep. Davis) included solar power funding provisions. SB 3096 passed out of a House committee but was not considered for final action in that chamber.
  • HB 3994 (Rep. Stuart/Sen. Morrison) would have allowed for the continuation of curbside voting at the discretion of the election authority. The bill would have also required election authorities to accept vote-by-mail ballots regardless of postage paid by the voter. Similar language was considered on SB 145 but stalled in the House as well. HB 3994 passed the Senate but was not considered on concurrence in the House.  
  • HB 97 (Rep. Stuart/Sen. Crowe) would have allowed the Supreme Court and Appellate Court to utilize a law enforcement-based model rather than a private-security model for court security. The Court indicates this new model would allow for a higher level of security with sworn officers. The current private security contract expires June 30, 2021. The bill passed the Senate but was not considered on concurrence in the House.

The 102nd General Assembly returns to session on Thursday, January 14.