Government Affairs Roundup
“Your Timely Roundup of Local, State, and Federal Updates”
The Senate passed a short-term funding bill to avert a government shutdown last Thursday that punted the would-be Friday deadline through this week as negotiators raced to patch together a larger government funding deal for fiscal year 2023.
The Senate voted 71-19 to pass the continuing resolution (CR), sending the legislation to President Biden for approval after it passed the House the night before on a vote of 224-201. More details in full below.
There are also a number of items to take note of that go into effect at the start of 2023. Make sure you’re up to date on One Day Rest in Seven and Expanded Bereavement, in addition to the minim wage going up to $13 as we begin a new year. Don’t forget as well about Will County ARPA money too (details below).
This will be the last update for 2022, so thanks to all that consume this information on a weekly basis. Special thanks to our sponsors CITGO and Silver Cross Hospital. Have a very merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year!
*Government Affairs Roundup brought to you by CITGO & Silver Cross Hospital*
Federal Spending Bill
The 4,155-page year-end spending bill says no to TikTok on government phones, no to cannabis banking, yes to Ukraine aid and yes to an Electoral Count Act overhaul. And oh, so much more. The bill is so large it was carried to the Senate floor at 1:23 a.m. in a cardboard box by Senate pages.
The Senate will make the first moves on the measure, with the goal of passing the bill by Thursday. That will require all 100 Senators to get on board with an agreement to speed up consideration of the bill. Any senator could hold up that deal in exchange for amendments or concessions. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) tweeted after midnight (and before the text was out) that Senate leaders “should not assume that every senator will agree to facilitate their efforts to ram this through.”
Even an expedited process leaves a narrow window for the House to clear the bill before Friday’s deadline. “A continuing resolution into the New Year does not, nor would it provide assistance to Ukraine or help to communities recovering from natural disasters,” said Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in a statement. “The choice is clear. We can either do our jobs and fund the government, or we can abandon our responsibilities without a real path forward.”
The bill would fund government agencies through Sept. 30, 2023, and boosts defense funding by $76 billion, totaling $858 billion. Domestic spending in the bill totals $773 billion. The $45 billion for Ukraine in the bill exceeds President Joe Biden’s $37 billion request, as some lawmakers worry that there won’t be appetite in the new Congress for continued aid. The measure also includes $40 billion for disaster aid for communities impacted by recent storms and wildfires.
The bill doesn’t reinstate the expanded child tax credit as some Democrats wanted or a tax deduction for research costs for businesses sought by Republicans. A bill to fast-track citizenship for Afghans evacuated to the U.S. after Kabul fell to the Taliban also did not make the cut.
Made it in:
The bill from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to ban the popular video app TikTok on federal government phones made it into the bill, with support from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
The Senate reportedly started a hotline overnight on a package of amendments and a time agreement on the year-end spending deal, a leadership aide leaked. Hotlines are for leadership to sort out potential problems and objections and Senators are being asked to notify leadership if they would object to the deal that’s being run right now. At the moment it isn’t clear if the proposed deal, which would allow for nine amendment votes, eight Republican and one bipartisan, will clear.
Senators on both sides of the aisle are eager to get the deal done and get out the door for the holidays. A deal to lock in votes on the nine amendments in exchange for an agreement to expedite final passage could put the omnibus on a path to clear the Senate as soon as Wednesday.
Governor Pritzker Issues Proclamation of Passage for Workers’ Rights Amendment
Governor JB Pritzker celebrated the passage of the Workers’ Rights Amendment to the Illinois Constitution. Governor Pritzker issued a proclamation announcing passage of the amendment and joined labor leaders and legislators in celebrating the achievement.
“Illinois holds a rich union history; from the 1887 Haymarket Affair to the 1894 Pullman Strike, Illinois laborers have been at the forefront of fighting for fair wages, reasonable hours, and safe working conditions,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This is a major win for workers’ rights that will outlast any single politicians’ term and enshrine a key right for Illinoisans for generations to come.”
Under Illinois law, the Governor must issue an official proclamation announcing the passage of a constitutional amendment after it is certified by the State Board of Elections. The Workers’ Rights Amendment, which passed with 54.5% of total ballots cast, enshrines the right to collective bargaining in the Illinois Constitution. The amendment asked voters to establish a constitutional right to negotiate “wages, hours, and working conditions, and to protect their economic welfare and safety at work.”
Governor Pritzker has been a strong ally to organized labor throughout his first term in office. Rebuild Illinois, Governor Pritzker’s historic infrastructure package, was passed with strong support from labor unions and has already put thousands of union workers to work. The administration has also focused on workforce development programs across the state to build a base of qualified employees for electric vehicles, aviation mechanics, and manufacturing, among other industries. Most recently, Governor Pritzker’s administration organized a bipartisan deal alongside labor unions and the business community to pay back unemployment insurance debt without raising employer premiums.
Pritzker Administration Launches $40 Million in Funding for the Energy Transition Community Grant Program as Part of CEJA
Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) launched the Energy Transition Community Grant Program – an initiative under the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) that provides funding to communities undergoing a significant energy transition. Based on criteria in CEJA, 22 areas have been identified as eligible to apply for the funding through the program. The program funds are designed to meet the needs of individual localities to address the economic and social impacts of plant closures and can be used on a variety of initiatives and investments, including workforce investments, housing support, business attraction efforts, and much more.
“This initiative will play a key role in delivering a 100% clean energy future in the state of Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The Energy Transition Community Grant Program is a locally focused effort tailored to each community’s unique needs, providing each of them with the tools necessary for a smooth transition to clean energy production. To effectively combat climate change, we need to continue making investments like this one in every corner of our state.”
Following a request for information (RFI) process where DCEO gathered feedback from key stakeholders, the state is launching phase 1 of the Energy Transition Community Grant Program, which asks eligible communities to submit documentation and express interest in the program. After localities submit their phase 1 documents and are approved for funding, they will prepare a detailed application with a budget and specific project plan that includes community input. Awards are anticipated to be executed beginning in May 2023, and grantees that remain eligible for the program will have the option to renew on a yearly basis rather than reapplying. CEJA allocates $40 million per year for this program until 2045.
“One of the ways CEJA prioritizes equity is by providing economic assistance to communities where energy plants or coal mines are closing or reducing production,” said DCEO Director Sylvia I. Garcia. “From workforce support to infrastructure investments, and financial assistance for residents, these funds are designed to meet the unique needs of impacted communities. We are grateful to the stakeholders who submitted feedback to ensure the program design meets the needs of those who are impacted the most.”
Grants are designed to support localities to address the economic and social impacts on the community or region of plant or mine transition. Eligible uses of grant funds include, but are not limited to, workforce development, financial assistance for unemployed or underemployed residents, support for childcare, affordable housing and other uses outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), which can be found here.
“Will County has been home to major energy production facilities for a long time, and our impacted communities will benefit from support,” said Rep. Larry Walsh (D-Joliet). “That’s why when the General Assembly crafted CEJA, we included significant funding to help communities that needed it most. This funding will go a long way to attract new industries, train workers, and ease family budgets.”
Gathering feedback from key stakeholders is essential to securing equitable outcomes, and DCEO utilized a Request for Information (RFI) process to inform the program design. The feedback received helped DCEO identify impactful uses for funds, design the funding formula, and implement a flexible program structure where eligible counties/localities can submit joint applications. DCEO has issued RFIs for eight of 10 CEJA programs; additional information and updates can be found on DCEO’s CEJA website.
In addition to a public announcement, DCEO is conducting individual outreach to impacted localities. The number of interested applicants who respond to the phase 1 application will determine the amount of funding available to each locality, with a total of $40 million provided among eligible applicants. Each award will be a minimum of $50,000 and will be determined using a formula that accounts for job loss and property tax revenue loss in impacted communities. Details on the funding formula can be found in the NOFO.
The 22 localities represent host localities where the eligible facility is located. Many facilities are located in unincorporated areas and therefore are assigned to the county. In addition to the localities identified, local governments within 30 miles of an eligible facility are able to apply with a letter of support from the city, village or county where the facility is located.
The following localities have been identified as eligible to apply for the Energy Transition Community Grant Program based on the latest available data and information on planned closures, closures, major reductions, and criteria outlined in CEJA. If a locality believes they may be eligible under CEJA and are not included below, they are encouraged to submit phase 1 application documents.
|Name of Plant/Mine||Host City or County||Closure Year (actual or anticipated)|
|Creek Paum Mine||Jackson County||2016|
|Pattiki II||White County||2016|
|Wood River Power Plant||East Alton||2016|
|Galatia Mine||Saline County||2017|
|Gateway Mine||Randolph County||2017|
|New Future Portal Mine||Saline County||2017|
|Duck Creek||Fulton County||2019|
|Hennepin||Village of Hennepin||2019|
|Wildcat Hills Mine Complex||Saline County||2019|
|SIPC – Lake of Egypt||Williamson County||2020 (significant reduction, not closure)|
|City Water, Light & Power||Springfield||2021 (significant reduction, not closure)|
|E.D. Edwards Power Plant||Peoria County||2022|
|Joppa Steam Plant||Massac County||2022|
|Joliet Generating||Will County||2023|
|Baldwin Generating Center||Randolph County||2025|
|Kincaid Generation||Christian County||2027|
|Newton Power Plant||Jasper County||2027|
|Powerton Station||Tazewell County||2028|
Updates to One Day Rest in Seven Act Take Effect Jan. 1
In preparation for the new year, employers should be aware of upcoming changes to the One Day Rest in Seven Act taking effect January 1, 2023.
The One Day Rest in Seven Act (ODRISA) gives workers the right to a day of rest every workweek and breaks for meals or rest during daily work shifts. Changes to ODRISA under Public Act 102-0828 and Public Act 102-1012 taking effect on January 1st include:
• New meal and rest break requirements: Requires employees be given a 20-minute break if working a 12-hour shift or longer, and at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in every consecutive 7-day period, clarifying the day of rest requirements for workers whose schedules don’t align with a Sunday to Saturday calendar week.
• Notice posting requirements: All employers covered by ODRISA must post a notice at the workplace notifying employees of their rights under the Act. IDOL will provide this notice on its website for employers to download and post.
“The One Day Rest in Seven Act is a critical law that protects the wellbeing of workers in our State,” said Jane R. Flanagan, Director of the Illinois Department of Labor. “If employees are being asked to work longer hours by their employer, it is only fair to ensure that these employees also get additional break time.”
More about the new ODRISA requirements taking effect on January 1st here.
Expanded Bereavement Leave Rights Take Effect Jan. 1
The Family Bereavement Leave Act will go into effect on January 1, 2023, expanding unpaid leave rights for employees across the State. As the New Year approaches, employers should be aware of the new requirements under the Act.
The Family Bereavement Leave Act (FBLA) is an amendment to the Child Bereavement Leave Act (CBLA) that expands leave time requirements to cover pregnancy loss, failed adoptions or surrogacy agreements, unsuccessful reproductive procedures, and other diagnoses or events negatively impacting pregnancy or fertility. The FBLA also requires employers to provide leave time after the loss of family members previously not covered by the CBLA, including spouses, domestic partners, siblings, grandparents, and stepparents.
Employees may take up to two weeks, or 10 working days, of unpaid leave time for any of the events covered by the FBLA to grieve, to attend a funeral, or to make arrangements necessitated by the death of the family member.
Employers may require reasonable documentation to certify that an employee requesting FBLA leave experienced an event covered by the Act, but employees are not required to identify the specific event that qualifies them for the leave. Reasonable documentation includes death certificates, published obituaries, and documentation from an adoption or surrogacy organization. A Bereavement Leave form is available on the Department’s website that may be used as reasonable documentation.
“Workers who experience the death of a loved one or other kinds of loss such as a miscarriage or a failed adoption should be able to grieve without the fear of losing their job,” said Illinois Department of Labor Acting Director Jane Flanagan. “The Family Bereavement Leave Act ensures that those workers will be afforded time off from work to process that grief.”
All employers and employees subject to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are subject to the FBLA.
Illinois education budget might boost career, early childhood programs
The Illinois State Board of Education is hoping to increase funding for career and technical education and early childhood programs — but an uncertain economy could hinder those plans.
State board members are considering how much money to give K-12 schools, early childhood education, career and technical education, and other programs as they work on a budget recommendation for the 2024 fiscal year. On Wednesday, state finance officials from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability said that Illinois’s economy is in a good place, but there are still concerns about an economic slowdown or recession in 2023.
School districts must decide how to spend emergency COVID funds by a federally imposed fall 2024 deadline. After federal funds run out, some districts may be scrambling to pay for programs created during the pandemic and increased staffing. However, according to a newly published spending dashboard, districts still have more than half of the pandemic relief money to spend.
The state’s K-12 education budget remained flat during the first year of the pandemic. In 2021 and 2022, the state increased funding by $350 million, the minimum amount required under the evidence-based funding formula. Though advocates have praised the state for increasing funding, they also have said it won’t be enough to adequately fund all public schools by 2027.
A statewide coalition of education advocates called The Partnership for Equity and Education Rights Illinois, or PEER IL, said in September that the state would have to increase funding by about $1.5 billion a year for the next five years to fully fund schools. If that doesn’t happen, the group said, the next generation of students will continue to go to under-resourced schools.
Money for the early childhood block grant, which pays for preschool programs across the state, did not increase in 2020, 2021, or 2022. But it received a 10% boost in the state’s 2023 budget. Early childhood education advocates hope the state puts more money into early education to help provide low-income families access to childcare and increase wages for preschool teachers and caregivers.
Robert Wolfe, the state board of education’s chief financial officer, said at Wednesday’s board meeting that there is a need to increase state funding for career and technical education as the program has not seen a significant increase for almost two decades. During the budget hearings in October, school advocates asked for a $40 million increase.
Wolfe said he doesn’t know if a $40 million increase is possible, but thinks an increase in funding is important. Board members agreed with him, but asked for data to prove to state lawmakers that the program will need more funding.
State Superintendent Carmen Ayala, who is set to retire at the end of January, is expected to provide a budget recommendation to the board on Jan. 18. If approved, it will be sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, whose administration is working on a full state budget proposal to present to the state legislature on Feb. 15. The state legislature must pass a budget by late May.
ARPA Grant $
A reminder here for you to use information regarding Economic Development grants through Will County from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. I interviewed Anna Sitton as part of our Legislative Coffee series presented by CITGO. It is about 20 minutes of useful info on where to apply, how to apply, guidelines & requirements, and more. Deadline is 12/30/2022 so don’t delay as businesses and non-profits are eligible for the pool of $10 million.
Here is the link to the video: https://youtu.be/GRwKxxB_mbg
Here is the web page for more info: https://willcountyillinois.org/arpa-economic-development/
Here is the email address for questions and assistance: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, on the workforce side of things, please take note of a program coming up in the Spring of 2023. Pathways to Professions Career Expo will be taking place on March 14 and 15 through the Workforce Services Division of Will County.
The Expo introduces high school students to a wealth of career opportunities available in Will County and helps steer students on their future educational and professional paths. To make the event both purposeful and interactive, students are expected to participate in career exploration activities during the expo. We ask that all businesses present at the expo plan for an interactive experience where the students can explore the career field, ask questions, and learn directly by participating in a hands-on activity.
Business participation is vital in making this event successful for the students that attend. Below you will find a link to an online registration form to be submitted for participation in the year’s event. Each presenter will be given an assigned booth within the event. We ask that you plan for an interactive experience where students can explore their career field and ask questions while participating in a hands-on activity. We will happily assist in offering tips and strategies for a successful presentation experience.
Executive Vice President
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry