Government Affairs Roundup
“Your Timely Roundup of Local, State, and Federal Updates”

Chamber members:

President Biden signed today the Government funding bill and another announcement was made on local funds coming out of that bill aiding local projects from Senators Durbin and Duckworth.

Don’t forget to RSVP for our next Legislative Coffee. We’ll be virtually meeting with IDOT Secretary Osman and a few others to talk about all of our regional ongoing transportation topics. Join us on March 23rd!

*Government Affairs Roundup brought to you by CITGO & Silver Cross Hospital*

Durbin, Duckworth Secure $211 Million For Illinois Projects in FY22 Omnibus Appropriations Bill
U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) secured $211 million through Congressionally directed spending for Illinois projects in the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Omnibus appropriations bill. The bill passed the Senate and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“This appropriations package invests in the future of Illinois,” Durbin said. “The use of Congressionally directed spending provides Members of Congress, who know their states and districts better than federal agency personnel in Washington, with the ability to direct federal funding to priority projects in their communities.  This much-needed federal funding will help localities in Illinois launch important infrastructure projects, improve access to health care, advance environmental conservation, strengthen community violence prevention initiatives, support nonprofits doing important work throughout our state, and much more.”

“I’m pleased I was able to secure funding for important projects that will help clean up our water, improve our state’s infrastructure, expand healthcare access, create jobs and tackle environmental injustice issues facing communities across Illinois,” said Duckworth.

These funding bills include the following regional priorities secured through Durbin and Duckworth Congressionally directed spending requests:

Energy and Water

  • Illinois Locks and Dams: $45.1 million for the Corps to fund the NESP program to expand and modernize seven locks at the most congested lock locations along the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers as well as fund $1.7 billion in ecosystem restoration.

Financial Services and General Government

  • Behavioral Workforce Initiative, Joliet: $300,000 to Will County for the expansion of the Will County Behavioral Workforce Pipeline project, which provides career training, supportive services and educational resources to individuals from a substance use disorder for entry-level jobs as recovery coaches in community organizations.


  • Water Main Replacement, Joliet: $3.5 million to the City of Joliet to replace aged, leaking water mains needed as part of the City’s Alternative Water Source Program.


  • Water and Wastewater Upgrades, Will County: $500,000 to Southeast Joliet Sanitary District for Water and Wastewater Upgrades.

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education

  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, New Lenox: $500,000 to Silver Cross Hospital to build the Cook County’s first and only Level 3 NICU to provide advanced care for premature newborns, full-term babies with congenital disorders, and address infant mortality rate.


  • Rapid Response Naloxone Program, Will County: $175,000 to Will County to support an opioid overdose intervention program.

The full press release with all of the funded projects can be found here –

Record revenues pour into states
Booming revenues are filling state budget coffers across the country to the brim as both higher wages and higher prices increase tax collections far beyond expectations.

A review of state fiscal offices conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures found half the states now expect to exceed revenue projections this fiscal year, projections that were already far higher than in previous years. Another 17 states are on pace to meet their expectations.

The good news comes two years after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, when state budget officers looked into an abyss of red ink in the midst of business shutdowns and mass layoffs that appeared to be the brink of the next Great Depression. But the rapid recovery, bolstered by trillions in federal spending including billions directed to state and local governments as well as direct aid to individuals and families, has turned what could have been a budgetary catastrophe into an unprecedented wave of revenues.

The situation represents “a total 180 from where we were at the start of the pandemic,” said Erica MacKellar, who runs NCSL’s Fiscal Affairs Program. “This quick rebound is really positive for states.” Almost half the states project personal income taxes will exceed expectations this year, as wages rise and people earn more money. Five more states expect to meet projections that have already been revised upwards.

Sales tax revenues are likely to beat expectations in more than half the states. About half the states had already raised their sales tax revenue projections in recent months. But while higher income tax revenues are a sign that residents are earning more, higher sales tax revenues mean they are spending more — due at least in some part to inflation. MacKellar said some states had noted that inflation was a part of the reason they expected to take in more sales tax revenue.

Governors and legislators are considering how best to use their newfound good fortune. Many Democratic-controlled states are debating giving one-time direct payments to taxpayers, while Republican-run states like Iowa and Mississippi have passed substantial tax cuts.

Illinois voters in for crowded ballots in congressional races
In a state used to very little turnover in Congress, the June primary looks to be nearly unprecedented for heavy competition in congressional races both in the Chicago metro area and downstate, thanks to once-in-a-decade redistricting and some retirements.

That’s the takeaway from the first day of petition filing, which lasts through March 14. The landscape is likely to change in the coming weeks as more candidates submit and others are knocked off the ballot as petition challenges get up and running. Intense competition is guaranteed regardless in the open races in the 1st, 3rd and 6th congressional districts around Chicago and the 13th and 17th districts in the northwest and center of the state, respectively. Meanwhile, a downstate brawl is likely brewing in the 15th District, where incumbent Reps. Mary Miller and Rodney Davis have been pitted against each other, thanks to new legislative maps drawn by Springfield Democrats.

City residents are guaranteed to see the exits of at least incumbent two members of Congress, between Congressman Bobby Rush’s retirement and the face-off between Reps. Sean Casten and Marie Newman. They’ll also add a new face from the 3rd District.

Outside the Chicago area, at least three more incumbents are headed to the exit: the retiring Democrat Cheri Bustos, Republican Adam Kinzinger and whoever doesn’t succeed in the 15th District—Rodney Davis or Mary Miller. The only candidate without a challenger so far in the primary or general election is democratic Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

Here’s how things stand now:

  • 1st District: Nine Democrats have filed paperwork to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush so far in the district that runs from the city’s South Side through the south suburbs. As expected, state Sen. Jacqueline Collins, Chicago Ald. Pat Dowell, civil rights leader Jonathan Jackson, activist Jahmal Cole, and Rush’s pick—Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership leader Karin Norington-Reaves—have all submitted signatures. Also filing: attorney Cassandra Goodrum, pastor Chris Butler, former postal worker Marcus Lewis, and Michael Thompson Jr., a manager at Skills for Chicagoland’s Future. Several others have filed Federal Election Commission paperwork, but have not yet filed nominating petitions.
  • 3rd District: Two Democrats have filed so far in the new Latino influence district that stretches from the city’s Northwest Side out into the western suburbs: progressive state Rep. Delia Ramirez and 36th Ward Ald. Gilbert Villegas. Republican Justin Burau, a real estate broker, also filed today.
  • 6th District: As expected, the war of incumbents between Reps. Sean Casten and Marie Newman is on. Newman, who technically lives in Garcia’s district, opted to take on Casten amid the remap shuffle. Four Republicans want to take on the winner: Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau, Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso, Niki Conforti and attorney Scott Kaspar.
  • 13th District: Nikki Budzinski, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s former senior adviser on labor issues, who has rounded up dozens of endorsements already has one potential opponent in the Democratic primary—David Palmer, a former basketball player turned retirement adviser. Republicans Jesse Reising, Matt Hausman and Regan Deering are vying to take one of them on to represent the new district stretching from parts of Metro East to Springfield, Decatur and Champaign.
  • 15th District: The war is on between Republican incumbents Rodney Davis and Mary Miller, the only candidates to file so far in one of the state’s biggest districts, geographically.
  • 17th District: In the new toss-up district covering most of the northwestern portion of the state, where Rep. Cheri Bustos has opted not to run again, five candidates have filed, including former state Rep. Litesa Wallace, weatherman Eric Sorensen and Rock Island County Board member Angie Normoyle on the Dem side, and Army reservist Esther Joy King and Charlie Helmick on the Republican side.

Incumbent Democrats who so far don’t face a primary challenge include Reps. Robin Kelly, Mike Quigley, Jan Schakowsky, Bill Foster and Lauren Underwood. Republicans Mike Bost and Darin LaHood do not face Republican primary challengers at this point, either. Four Republicans filed to take on Underwood in the 14th District, and two have filed to challenge Foster—both districts are on watch lists for national Democratic groups as potentially flippable.

There are no surprises in the Republican gubernatorial primary, which so far includes Griffin-backed candidate Richard Irvin, with running mate state Rep. Avery Bourne; businessmen Gary Rabine, with Aaron Del Mar; state Sen. Darren Bailey, with Stephanie Trussell; and former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, with Carolyn Schofield. Businessman Jesse Sullivan has not yet filed, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Both Democrats and Republicans have options in the open secretary of state race, where three Democrats have filed so far, former state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia and Ald. David Moore, 17th. Republican hopefuls include state Rep. Dan Brady and attorney John Milhiser, who is on the slate with Irvin.

Illinois lawmakers debate measure that would use federal funds to pay down unemployment debt
The Illinois Senate passed legislation that would divert American Rescue Plan dollars into the state’s unemployment fund to help address debt accumulated during the early months of the pandemic. Senate Bill 2803 would appropriate $2 billion in federal funding to pay down the debt.

Illinois is currently facing a $4.5 billion hole in its unemployment insurance fund many workers lost their jobs in 2020.

State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, filed the legislation, saying the plan also would include meeting to discuss other ways of lowering the amount of unemployment debt the state has accrued. “The meetings are with the agreed groups, which are representatives from the labor community and representatives from the business community,” Holmes said. “We want to make sure we keep all of our options on the table.”

Many Republicans in the Senate are opposed to the implementation of SB2803. State Sen. Winn Stoller, R-Peoria, said that the $2 billion will not cover the state’s debt. “We currently have a four-and-a half billion-dollar loan to the federal government,” Stoller said. “So my question to you is, what is the rest of your plan to fix this problem?”

Some U.S. states used their ARPA dollars to pay off all of their unemployment debt, Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, said, and Illinois needs to take the same approach. “This 2 billion, my friends, is nowhere near the amount of money that we need in order to replenish the fund and continue to increase the fund so there are benefits there to be paid out,” she said.

Illinois businesses face tax increases if the debt is not paid off, and taxpayers are paying millions of dollars in interest on the debt.

The bill passed out of the Senate on a 33-15 vote. It now heads to the House for consideration.

Senate unanimously approves making Daylight Saving Time permanent
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday approved a proposal to make Daylight Saving Time permanent, which if passed in the House and signed by President Biden, would mean Americans would never again have to set their clocks back an hour and lose an hour of afternoon daylight in the fall and winter.

If enacted into law, it would also mean that early risers lose an hour of daylight in the mornings in November, December, January and February.

Stay well,

Mike Paone
Executive Vice President
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry
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