The Illinois House of Representatives and State Senate will convene a special session on Tuesday, August 31 at noon for matters related to redistricting, and a series of committee hearings have been scheduled in the days prior to hear public input on adjustments to the redistricting plans. Both chambers were recessed until the regularly scheduled fall Veto Session, which is scheduled to convene on October 21.
102nd General Assembly Key Legislative Issues
Two state legislative leaders, Illinois Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie (R-Lake Zurich), both tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week. Both are fully vaccinated and are considered to fully-recover from their mild “breakthrough” cases.
While the Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has not issued a statewide mask mandate again, many cities, including Chicago, have proceeded with various requirements. In Chicago, everyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask indoors. Governor Pritzker has declined to say what would trigger another statewide mask mandate. However, earlier this month he mandated that all K-12 students, teachers, and staff must wear masks while indoors. Schools refusing to follow the mask mandate risk losing their recognition, state funding and ability to compete in sports.
On August 12, the U.S. Census Bureau released official 2020 census data. After reviewing Illinois-specific data, Republican Illinois General Assembly members are calling the new legislative maps that were signed into law earlier this summer unconstitutional. Democrats in the General Assembly drew the maps based on estimated data to get them passed by the end of June. The U.S. Supreme Court has previously ruled that legislative districts that vary by ten percent (10%) or more in population are unconstitutional, and Republicans are reporting that the new districts may vary by as much as thirty percent (30%).
The Illinois Speaker Chris Welch and Senate President Harmon are convening a special session to address this issue on August 31. The session aims to consider legislative measures related to the legislative redistricting plan, pursuant to a Joint Proclamation.
Prior Authorization Bill
The Prior Authorization Bill, HB 711, was signed into law on Thursday, August 19 by Governor Pritzker. This bill aims to reform prior authorization in order to make it a more streamlined process, and create a system with medically appropriate timelines, transparency, and peer-to-peer review. Additionally, the authorization of a treatment will also authorize related necessities. This bill will take effect on January 1, 2022.
Healthcare Transformation Collaboratives
The second round of Healthcare Transformation Collaborative (HTC) applications are expected to be due on September 30, 2021. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) has not yet released the application for this round but will be launching a user-friendly online application process for fall funding. They are maintaining the goals and components of the program: focusing on community needs, providing specialized approaches, improving health and wellness, and emphasizing sustainable investments. In partnership with several community organization, UnityPoint Health – Central Illinois is working on a collaborative proposal for the September application submission.
For more information about State of Illinois advocacy, legislative, policy and regulatory issues of impact to UnityPoint Health, please contact Ashley Thompson, director of government & external affairs.