2022 Legislative Session Overview
The 2022 Spring legislative session adjourned in the early hours of the morning on Saturday, April 9th. Despite this year’s shortened session, we passed a responsible and balanced budget, provided tax relief for Illinois families and advanced a significant package of crime-fighting, public safety measures.
My Legislative Agenda
SB 180 – Legislative Accessibility Act
This bill is designed to make the Capitol and the legislative process more equitable and accessible for people with disabilities. An initiative of Access Living, the Legislative Accessibility Act creates a task force in the legislature to identify and address gaps in accessibility accommodations. As part of this measure, each chamber of the General Assembly will have a designated point person to contact to request reasonable accommodations. With 2.3 million Illinoisans living with disabilities, we must ensure that our Capitol and legislative process is welcoming for everyone.
HB 260 – Using Technology to Address Violent Crime
This bill facilitates the use of cameras and other technologies to assist law enforcement with the real time investigation of crimes such as carjackings, shootings and other violent crimes by providing for the installation and use of additional automatic license plate readers on expressways and DuSable Lake Shore Drive. This bill balances this critical law enforcement tool with privacy concerns by limiting the use and retention of images for certain, enumerated offenses only.
SB 3130 – Search and Reunion Services for Youth in Care
This bill expands search and reunion opportunities for youth in care and former youth in care through the Department of Children and Family Services. An initiative of the Cook County Public Guardian’s Office, SB3130 enables current and former foster children over the age of 18 to utilize existing search and reunion services to connect with former foster parents and foster siblings, in addition to birth relatives and siblings.
HB 5026 – Funding for Breast and Cervical Cancer Screenings
Illinoisans who purchase a special license plate promoting breast cancer awareness will see their money directed towards the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer program. This program, administered through the Illinois Department of Public Health, provides free mammograms, breast exams and pelvic exams to eligible individuals.
HR 709 – Girls & Women in Sports Month
This Resolution acknowledges the accomplishments of female athletes by declaring February 2022 as “Girls & Women in Sports Month” in the State of Illinois. We understand the invaluable role that sports can have in the growth and development of girls and recognize the ability of sports to teach collaborative teamwork skills that are integral to academic and professional success.
CEJA Implementation Continues
In September of 2021, the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), was signed into law by Governor Pritzker. As the Chair of the House Energy & Environment Committee and chief House sponsor of the original Clean Energy Jobs Act, I felt it important to share the progress being made toward implementation of the Act.
As such, on March 15th – exactly six months after CEJA became law – the Energy & Environment committee hosted a subject matter hearing on implementation of the historic legislation. During the hearing, we heard testimony from the Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Power Agency, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Economic Opportunity on the status of CEJA implementation and the steps being taken to ensure all aspects of the law – from environmental justice measures to goals for decarbonization – are being met.
I will continue to keep the public updated on the implementation and ongoing impacts of CEJA and other clean energy initiatives advanced in the General Assembly. Environmental justice remains a top priority as we continue to put climate and communities first.
Addressing Violent Crime and Carjacking
Addressing violent crime and carjacking continues to be a top priority for me and other local officials. I worked throughout the session to direct more resources toward law enforcement and violence prevention, ensuring a comprehensive approach. The FY23 budget includes $250M for violence prevention tools, $124M to local law enforcement and $48M to provide additional tools and resources to prevent carjacking. More funds will be also directed toward domestic violence programs and victim assistance programs.
In addition to the bill I sponsored providing resources for expressway cameras and ALPRs, there are several other public safety initiatives headed to the Governor’s desk.
HB 1568 – Police Retention and Recruitment Package
This bill creates deferred retirement option plans for Illinois State Police troopers and sheriff’s law enforcement employees, and lowers the retirement age for select Illinois State Police employees from 60 to 55 years of age. An Illinois Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention Board (which includes representation from Chicago) is created. The Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and the Illinois Community College Board are tasked with creating a report with recommendations to the General Assembly for establishing minimum requirements for credits that may transfer from Illinois colleges to satisfy the requirements of law enforcement courses.
HB 1091 – Organized Retail Crime Act
This comprehensive proposal was designed to combat the organized retail crime that has plagued neighborhoods across Chicago, addressing the problem from multiple angles. This includes providing prosecutors with more tools to hold criminals accountable, dedicating state funds to investigate and prosecute the criminal rings, requiring more oversight of third-party marketplaces where stolen goods are sold, and the creation of a statewide intelligence gathering and sharing platform to allow retailers and law enforcement agencies to better coordinate. The bill creates and defines the violation of “organized retail crime” and specifically targets those organizing these crimes, which is defined as an individual who knowingly recruits, organizes, supervises, manages, finances or otherwise directs others to commit organized retail crime, which includes smash and grab robberies as well as the looting of supply chain vehicles.
HB 1571 – First Responder and Shift Worker Child Care
This bill creates the Off-Hours Child Care Act, which allows the Department of Human Services the flexibility to design an off-hours child care program that meets the needs of first responders and off-hours workers. The legislation recognizes that finding child care is a burden on third shift workers (e.g. firefighters, paramedics, police, nurses, etc.) as most child care centers in Illinois are only open during normal work hours.
HB 1321 – Law Enforcement Mental Health
This bill creates a fund and grant program to provide behavioral health services to first responders.
Fiscal Year 2023 Budget
The FY23 State Budget passed the Illinois General Assembly and is on the Governor’s desk. As a cornerstone of the budget, we ensured $1.8B in aid for people and families to combat inflation, entitled the Illinois Family Relief Plan.
Key initiatives to fight inflation include:
- Suspending the grocery tax for a year.
- Freezing the gas tax for six months.
- Providing for a property tax rebate.
- An expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit program.
The budget prioritizes critical human services, education, health equity and public safety, including:
- $35oM increase for evidence-based education funding.
- $150M for new affordable housing units, and $275M for affordable housing development programs.
- $450M for the Healthcare Transformation Collaborative program for care in underserved areas.
- $130M for legal assistance for those facing eviction as a result of COVID-19.
- $68M in funding for universities and community colleges.
- $113M to replace lead service lines.
The FY23 budget is balanced and fiscally responsible. Toward that end, we include:
- $9.6B to fully fund our pension obligation for FY23, and an additional $200M pension payment.
- $4B to pay down unpaid bills.
- $1B to the once-depleted “Rainy Day Fund.”
Investing in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry
As a member of the Tourism Committee and champion for small businesses, I believe it is critical we continue to prioritize COVID-19 recovery. This year’s budget includes:
- $75M toward the Hotel Jobs Recovery Grant Program to continue to rehire workers who lost their positions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- $50M in funding for small businesses in the hospitality industry, including restaurants, bars and breweries.
Other Legislative Session Highlights
In addition to my legislative agenda, I co-sponsored several bills in an effort to make Illinois a better place to work and live. Some highlights include:
HB 5285 – School Assessment Restrictions
Also known as the Too Young to Test Act, this legislation amends the school code to prohibit the Illinois State Board of Education from developing, funding, or requiring standardized testing for Pre-K through 2nd grade students. This bill passed the House chamber on March 3, 2022 and currently awaits action by the Senate.
HB 4383 – Ghost Gun Ban
This bill immediately prohibits the sale of unserialized gun parts, as these can be used to build ghost guns. The bill also requires that all unserialized guns must be serialized in the next six months. In the fight to stop gun violence, the passage of this bill marks a monumental step towards smart, safe firearm ownership. This bill awaits action by the Governor.
HB 4729 – Safe Gun Storage
This legislation addresses the increasing violence in Illinois by developing and implementing a two-year statewide safe gun storage public awareness campaign. Specifically, it provides that the campaign must include focused and sustained messaging paired with information about enforcement or incentives for safe gun storage, and geographic and cultural considerations. This bill awaits action by the Governor.
SB 3490 – Commission on LGBTQ+ Aging
This bill will create the Illinois Commission on LGBTQ+ Aging. Particularly, the Commission will be required to investigate, analyze, and study the health, housing, financial, psychosocial, home-and-community-based services, assisted living, and long-term care needs of LGBTQ+ older adults and their caregivers. The bill also provides that at least seven citizen members of the Commission shall represent underrepresented communities. The bill awaits action by the Governor.
HB 4430 – PrEP and PEP Bill
This legislation amends the Pharmacy Practice Act by authorizing pharmacists to prescribe and administer drugs, laboratory tests, assessments, referrals, and consultations for HIV pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis. The legislation also provides that patient care services ordered and administered by a pharmacist shall be covered and reimbursed at no less than 85% of the rate that the services are covered and reimbursed when ordered or administered by a physician. This bill awaits action by the Governor.
HB 4165 – Lake Michigan Rescue Equipment Act
This bill creates the Lake Michigan Rescue Equipment Act. It provides that rescue equipment, including 100 inches of line, must be installed by the owner of each pier and drop-off along the Lake Michigan coast, as well as within 200 feet of the shoreline of any designated high-incident drowning area. This bill also requires that each unit of local government owning a pier or drop-off on Lake Michigan shall track fatal and non-fatal drowning incidents near its property and report the data to the Illinois Department of Public Health. This bill awaits action by the Governor.
HB 1592 – Mental Health Inpatient Facility Access Act
This bill directs the Illinois Department of Human Services to create a plan to maximize the use of existing state-operated psychiatric beds for non-forensic cases through staff training, regular assessments to ensure patients continue to meet the legal requirements for court-ordered inpatient care, and improved outpatient services.
HB 4388 – Alzheimer’s Training
To begin in the licensing renewal period on or after January 1, 2023, this legislation requires emergency medical services (EMS) personnel to complete at least one 1-hour course of training on the diagnosis, treatment, and care of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
SB 1234 – EPA Emissions testing station in Chicago
This bill amends the Illinois Highway Code by requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to reopen the emissions testing site in Illinois. For many in our district hoping to have their car emissions tested, they currently have to drive to the suburbs for services. This update ensures we are meeting our commitments to environmental justice in our community. This bill awaits action by the Governor.
HB3988 – Task Force on Missing and Murdered Chicago Women
This legislation creates a new act establishing the “Task Force on Missing and Murdered Chicago Women” to examine and report information including underlying factors, systemic causes, data, policies, institutions, and practices related to or having an impact on violence against women and girls in Chicago. This bill awaits action by the Governor.