The Illinois House of Representatives and State Senate are currently recessed until the regularly scheduled fall Veto Session, which is set to convene on October 21. However, the House and the Senate reconvened for special sessions in late August and early September to address specific issues of importance to Illinoisians.
102nd General Assembly Key Legislative Issues
On August 31, the Illinois Speaker of the House Chris Welch (D-Hillside) and the Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) called for a special session regarding the redistricting of legislative boundaries. Both chambers passed Senate Bill 927, which adjusted the enacted legislative maps to take newly released federal census data into account.
While in special session on August 31, the House and Senate also convened a regular session, triggering constitutional requirements to act on legislation vetoed by the Governor. The General Assembly overrode Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s total veto on House Bill 684, which exempts ground ambulance services from managed care organizations (MCO), and accepted the governor’s amendatory veto on Senate Bill 967, which expands insurance coverage of maternal care..
On September 9, the House reconvened for another special session regarding clean energy legislation. Labor organizations and environmental advocates remained divided on the issue of municipally owned power plants until the day of the vote, with the House passing legislation that evening, along with accepting the Governor’s veto of the ethics omnibus bill on the second attempt. The Senate reconvened on September 12 to pass and send the energy legislation to the Governor’s desk.
Healthcare Transformation Collaborations
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) has announced the second round of transformation funding applications will be due November 19. The application will be released on October 1 and is expected to remain similar to the application for the first round. The Illinois HFS is maintaining the four major goals and components of the program, which includes focusing on community needs, providing specialized approaches, improving health and wellness, and emphasizing sustainable investments. As shared in previous updates, UnityPoint Health – Central Illinois is intending to submit an application in partnership with several other community organizations for consideration.
Every region in Illinois continues to see high community transmission of COVID-19 and strains on the availability of intensive care unit (ICU) beds. As cases continue to rise, Governor Pritzker issued an executive order mandating all individuals wear a mask in indoor public places, regardless of vaccination status, on August 30. In the same executive order, the Governor also announced that all health care workers, teachers and staff at pre-K and K-12 schools, and higher education personnel and students are required to be vaccinated, with a first dose administered by September 19. Those who opt out of receiving the vaccine must follow a strict testing schedule laid out by the state. Additionally, many city and county entities have announced vaccination requirements for their employees, including the city of Chicago.
Upcoming Veto Session
The 2021 veto session is expected to be light as legislation vetoed by the governor was addressed in the previously held sessions. One main issue that is expected to be addressed is the creation of the federal congressional district maps where Illinois will lose one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. While potential maps have not been made public yet, it is expected that the Democrats will use the same aggressive redistricting approach that they did for the state legislative maps.
The distribution of remaining federal funds from the CARES Act is also expected to be addressed during the veto session. $150 million in federal dollars remain to be distributed, and legislation during the veto session is expected to make these allotments.
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.