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Insight on Illinois

July 1, 2020

As Illinois moves to Phase 4 of its COVID 19 response, we see relative quiet on the legislative front. We’re watching for the prospects of an additional round of COVID 19-related stimulus out of Washington perhaps in the next month. The state legislature is out until after the General Election. But this is undoubtedly the calm before the storm. Behind the scenes, campaigns in Illinois and across the country are gearing up for what will be a hard fought, contentious, expensive election season. The results of the election this year, like always, will have consequences for policy at every level. Our bipartisan team continues to closely monitor political developments for that important reason. 

Here is a snapshot of what’s happening now:

Governor Pritzker Announces Move to Phase 4

  • Illinois moved to Phase 4 of its loosened COVID 19 restrictions on June 26th 
    • Groups of 50 or less are allowed to gather
    • Gyms and indoor restaurants are allowed to open with strict capacity limits
    • Chicago entered Phase 4 with the rest of the state
  • Gov. Pritzker plans to reopen Illinois schools in the fall

New Labor Legislation Taking Effect July 1st

  • Increase in the minimum wage
    • Illinois’s Senate Bill 1, which Gov. Pritzker signed in early 2019, is set to raise the state minimum wage to $10/hour
    • Cook County will raise its minimum wage to $13 an hour, and Chicago will raise it to $14 for companies with 21 or more employees, and $13.50 for employers with less than 21 employees
  • Fair Workweek Ordinance in Chicago
    • Many Chicago companies whose employees make less than $26 an hour or $50,000 a year will be required to give employees at least 10 days of notice of their schedules

Upcoming Meetings

Wednesday, July 22nd, 10 a.m. — Chicago City Council

Thursday, July 16th, 10 a.m. — Cook County Board of Commissioners

News of the Week

Chicago will join rest of Illinois in advancing to next phase in coronavirus reopening on FridayChicago Tribune

Chicagoans got a bit of unexpected news on the coronavirus reopening front Monday, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she would move the city to the next stage this Friday along with the rest of the state. That means museums, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and youth summer camps, along with indoor dining, gyms, movie theaters, and other amenities will be allowed to open “with limited capacities and appropriate safeguards,” according to Lightfoot’s office.

Pritzker makes it official: We're going to Phase 4Crain’s Chicago Business

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration Monday released safety guidance for the state’s next phase of reopening, which allows indoor restaurant services, gyms, and museums to open with capacity limits beginning Friday. Notable changes for Phase 4 include allowing gatherings of 50 people or less — and reopening of indoor restaurant services to groups of 10 or less, with tables spaced 6-feet-apart.

Illinois offers guidelines for schools to reopen classrooms this fall, but questions remainChicago Tribune

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday released guidance for students to return to the classroom, but his plan left many unanswered questions as parents continue to wonder what school will look like across Illinois this fall. The state guidance for potentially bringing hundreds of thousands of students back into classrooms for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic abruptly ended the academic year last spring calls for the use of face coverings and suggests social distancing “as much as possible.” It also limits the number of people gathering in one place to under 50, requests increased schoolwide cleaning and disinfection as well as symptom screening and temperature checks for people entering schools.

Pritzker Unveils Plans for Schools to Reopen in the FallWTTW

Students can return to the classroom this fall, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday. “Classroom learning provides necessary opportunities for our students to learn, socialize, and grow. The benefits of in-person instruction can’t be overstated,” Pritzker said during a press briefing.

When Madigan speaks, Pritzker carefully listensNews-Gazette

As new Gov. J.B Pritzker prepared to take office in January 2019, there was a feeding frenzy among aspiring politicos for jobs in his administration. Many of them were looking for an inside track to get on Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan’s list of “recommendations for the new administration.”

Pritzker unveils $900 million effort for rental/mortgage assistance, business grants, poverty alleviationCapitol Fax

Today, Governor JB Pritzker joined members of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucuses of the state legislature and small business owners to announce a package of state grant programs to support communities and businesses impacted by the pandemic and recent civil unrest. The package includes more than $900 million across more than ten programs and four state agencies to help working families and small businesses who have been hit the hardest by COVID-19’s economic impacts, which was compounded by recent property damage and civil unrest.

Chicago’s minimum wage rising Wednesday to $14 amid pandemic. For some, it won’t be enough.Chicago Sun-Times

After years of pushing for an increase in hourly wages to $15, Ieshia Townsend is among the workers who will get closer to that goal Wednesday when the city of Chicago’s minimum wage bumps from $13 to $14. But for Townsend, whose hours at McDonald’s have been cut back to five hours a week, the increase will do little to provide financial stability. She’s juggling extra work through delivery services, and her sister is helping her get a third job at a daycare facility.

Chicago’s fair workweek law takes effect Wednesday as businesses grapple with pandemic uncertaintyChicago Tribune

Starting Wednesday, many Chicago employers will be required to give employees advance notice of their schedules and pay a premium for last-minute changes. The city’s “fair workweek” law is a victory for worker advocates who say unpredictable schedules, and uneven paychecks, make it hard to plan for child care, hold down a second job or pay bills.

Landlords file suit against Pritzker to allow resumption of evictionsCapitol Fax

The Illinois Rental Property Owners Association (IRPOA) announces our support of the lawsuit filed by IRPOA members JL Properties Group, Mark Dauenbaugh and Steven Cole, challenging Governor Pritzker’s legal authority to deny housing providers access to the courts. The Governor’s moratorium on evictions essentially ties the hands of housing providers to enforce our lease agreements. While we agree with the Governor’s intent of protecting renters affected by COVID-19, the Governor’s moratorium also applies to people who are not affected by COVID-19 but are choosing not to pay their rent.

U.S. appeals court rejects effort to delay candidate filing rules for independent, third-party contendersChicago Tribune

“We deny the motion because the board has not shown that it would be irreparably harmed by injunctive relief that it initially agreed to and because staying the preliminary injunction at this late date would result in clear harm to the plaintiffs who have relied on its terms,” the appellate panel said. In mid-May, Pallmeyer ruled that third-party and independent candidates had until July 20 to submit petitions and reinstated an earlier ruling that those candidates only need to collect 10% of the previously required number of signatures and can gather them electronically.

‘Everything is on the table,’ Cook County board President Toni Preckwinkle warns as 2021 budget gap forecasted to be largest in a decadeChicago Tribune

Cook County could incur a projected $410 million budget gap during the next fiscal year — the largest hole since 2011 and a sign of the extent the coronavirus pandemic has capsized local government finances. A steep reversal of fortune from the anticipated record-low budget gap this year before COVID-19, the grim forecast means the county is mulling over hiking taxes, slashing existing funds, laying off employees, and more to balance the budget, Cook County board President Toni Preckwinkle said Thursday.

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