It was a wild weekend! From tornadoes and flooding to a lightening quick special session in Springfield, we emerge post Memorial Day with a State Budget and directions for the partial reopening of Illinois. We hope that all are safe and stayed out of harms way. If you need assistance, please refer to our member directory to contact the many fellow members that provide services and products for cleanup and repair.
There is a lot to cover from the three-day weekend which saw an extension of the special session in Springfield. A budget was passed and several other bills of note. A few fell in line of what we had shared over the past week and a couple not expected snuck in as well.
With that said, let us review what happened on the state level and move then our way through federal, county and city info as well.
Governor Pritzker Releases Guidelines for Businesses and Workplaces to Safely Reopen During Phase 3 of Restore Illinois
Governor Pritzker today industry-specific guidelines that allow for the safe re-opening of businesses as the state progresses into the next phase of the Restore Illinois plan. All four regions of the state are on track to advance to Phase 3 of the plan in the coming days, allowing thousands of residents to return to work, and the reopening of businesses in the following industries: retail, offices, manufacturing, barbershops and salons, summer programs, various outdoor recreation activities and bars and restaurants for outdoor dining.
Guidelines as well as toolkits for businesses can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website, HERE and / or below:
Manufacturing facilities such as plants, factories, and mills
Health and Fitness Centers
Gyms, fitness centers, yoga, dance, cycling, pilates, barre studios, and other customer-facing fitness centers
Non-customer-facing offices such as: legal; accounting services; architectural/engineering design; and other professional services
Personal Care Services
Hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas, waxing centers, tattoo parlors
Retailers and merchandisers such as: grocery stores; hardware stores; clothing stores; pharmacies; department stores; shopping malls
Customer facing services such as driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges, paintball courses, outdoor adventure parks
- Toolkit (coming soon)
Stores providing assorted services for dropped off goods, such as: dry cleaners; electronics repair shops; shoe repair shops; car washes
Recreational youth programs such as sports camps, recreational camps, educational camps
- Toolkit (coming soon)
Youth sports games or matches, group sports lessons, team, or group sports practices (no competitive sports permitted in Phase 3)
Restaurants and Bars (outdoor dining and drinking)
Full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants, snacks bars, taverns, and other food and beverage businesses
Report from Springfield
The state budget passed with roughly $42 billion in expenses and includes $5 billion borrowed from the Federal Reserve Municipal Liquidity Facility program. These funds will hopefully be then paid back with funds expected to come from the next Federal stimulus package which of course is still being debated in Congress. Funds totaling $1.5 billion are expected to also be borrowed from the state general fund and other state funds. We’ve been hopeful for a lot of things over the past two plus months and hoping that this federal aid comes through is another to add to the list.
Education funding will be level with the current budget on and that goes the same for higher education programs such as MAP Grants. There were no bills passed dealing with the enforcement of business closure orders which had been a hot topic of the past ten days. Also, no bills were passed dealing with rent and mortgage assistance although the budget does set aside some money for programs to help with existing resources. Nothing was passed on ethics reform, pension reform, or
A bill clarifying language in the cannabis law would have given current dispensaries the ability to move their dispensaries to new locations passed the Senate but stalled in the House.
Here is a list of what did move through the general assembly:
HB 64 – This bill is the re-appropriation for capital projects and maintains the infrastructure funding level.
SB264 – This bill is the other budget appropriations bill.
HB357 – This is the budget implementation bill (BIMP) that will make changes to State programs to ensure the FY2021 budget can be implemented.
HB 516 – Casino Update
- Lowers tax rate on a Chicago casino to make more attractive to operator (lowers predicted state revenue from $850 to $500 million)
- All existing casinos have 6 years rather than 2 for reconciliation on fee payments
- New gaming licensees have until July 2021 rather than 7/2020 to pay license fee
- The moves made will ensure cash flow to the capital programs as well as Chicago pensions
HB 2455 – Frontline Worker Assistance
- Workers who caught COVID-19 on the job will be eligible for workers compensation benefits
- Workers will also get a boost in their payments
- Covers all the expected items that we talked about last week
SB 2135 – Restore Illinois
- Creates 14-member lawmaker coalition to provide input on plans to revive various sectors of the economy – four appointed each by the Speaker of the house and Senate President and three each by the two minority party leaders
- Requires DCEO to provide a report on reopening by July 1 rather than immediately and then each month going forward
- Original language was stripped that allowed remote meeting and voting
- Original language was stripped that allowed FOIA response extensions
- Gave the Secretary of State’s office emergency authority to extend deadlines for the remainder of any health-related declaration of disaster and up to 120 days after pertaining to expiration dates of driver’s licenses, driving permits, identification cards, disabled parking placards and decals and vehicle registrations. It would also include expiration dates of professional licenses, registrations, certifications, and commissions issued by the Secretary
- Creates a 10-person task force of members representing the Department of Insurance and the insurance industry to study business interruption insurance policies
- Amended the Broadband Advisory Council Act, stating the council shall “study the goal of providing free access to all residents of this state to broadband service through the expansion of the state broadband competitive matching grant program
SJR 1 – Progressive/Graduated Income Tax
- This resolution provides the language the Secretary of State will provide on the proposed amendment that every registered voter will receive in November
SB 471 – Employment and Labor Emergency Package
- Changes to unemployment insurance and workers’ comp
- Includes a paid sick leave of a minimum of 40 hours per year
SB 1863 – Elections Omnibus
- This is the bill that includes an expanded vote by mail program that we covered last week
SB 1864 – Healthcare Omnibus
- Plans a study to make health insurance more affordable by February 2021
- Telehealth additions were originally in language but stripped out
HB 2682 – Liquor Allowance
- Cocktails to go are now permitted from restaurants and bars
- Alcoholic beverages can be picked up curbside for up to 1 year
- They must be placed in sealed container and placed in trunk or other inaccessible area
- Local jurisdictions may opt out
- Waives late filing fee for liquor license holder affected by COVID for six months after phase 4
COVID Relief Package 2
The beginning of June will mark two months since the CARES Act was passed. Since then, we have heard weekly if not daily about what could be included in a follow-up package. To date, these five issues still stand out as the most debated. They include liability protection, unemployment benefits, state aid, direct individual payments, and PPP corrections or a new funding mechanism. With that said, the House is expected to consider the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act (HR 6886) this week.
The bill has bipartisan support and would modify PPP loan forgiveness requirements such as the 25% limitation on non-payroll expenses. It would also extend the eight-week window for eligible expense payments.
Follow-up on State Virtual Job Fair
Illinois workNet will be holding an upcoming webinar for Job Seekers and for Employers that will demonstrate the new Virtual Job Fair (VJF) tools available on Illinois workNet.
- The Job Seeker VJF webinar will be held on Wednesday, May 27th at 11 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
- The Employer VJF webinar will be held on Thursday, May 28th at 11 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
The new VJF tools are an opportunity for Employers to easily advertise their organization and connect with qualified job applicants at no cost. Employers will be able to setup virtual job booths where interested job seekers can learn more about their organization and available job openings. Employers may also request webinar assistance when hosting their Virtual Job Fair events.
It is also a new opportunity for Job Seekers to learn about and apply for job openings as well as communicate with representatives from employers that are hiring in Illinois for free. Job seekers will be able to explore these employer booths and attend Virtual Job Fair events to explore what opportunities are available to them and learn about their future employer.
Employers and Job Seekers are welcome to visit the site and start setting up and visiting the Virtual Job Booths. The first actual virtual job fair events will be arranged and scheduled in the upcoming weeks.
- Job Seekers may register here: https://vjfjobseeker.eventbrite.com
- Employers may register here: https://vjfemployer.eventbrite.com
Get started at https://www.illinoisworknet.com/virtualjobfairs
Local Property Tax Relief
The Will County Board voted to provide relief to property taxpayers at their May Board Meeting last Thursday. The relief will allow payers to split their payments in to four payments of 25% of total bill. So, this means that 25% is due June 3, August 2, September 3, and November 2.
City of Joliet Outdoor Dining Guidance
We have the ten-page City of Joliet guide for restaurants attached to this email. This document provides guidance for dine-in restaurants, brewpubs, craft distilleries, breweries, bars, pubs, and wineries with a full kitchen to support a safe, clean environment for workers and customers.
Chamber Reopen Guide
The Chamber prior to the release of the state directory had put together a reopening guide with useful resources that was emailed out on Friday. The guide is attached and also can be found on our COVID resource page here: https://jolietchamber.com/2020/03/covid-19/
Reopening Material / Service List
We also announced a list for our members to utilize as we move into reopening phase. The intent of the list is to gather information on supplies and services offered for PPE, sanitization, signage, and more that can assist fellow Chamber members. We’re off to a slow start so please consider helping out by adding your products or services here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Burx8_hpXkJxAubXCPKQwYYJcj-uuiPNKRinNkbGCXI/edit
Finally, Chamber President Jen Howard and Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Paone were interviewed by The Herald News about businesses coping with the pandemic. You can view the interview here: https://www.theherald-news.com/video/id/b5a2b520-0c4a-4d36-a2f2-bbf337d5cc06.html
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry