(via the Illinois Federation of Teachers)
Congressional maps approved by General Assembly
In the final hours of the veto session, the Illinois House and Senate approved new congressional redistricting boundaries in HB 1291 (Rep. Hernandez, D-Cicero/Sen. President Harmon, D-Oak Park). View the new map here.
After numerous drafts over several months, including several last week, the map approved by the legislature would give democrats a 14-3 advantage in congressional districts across the state. The congressional map shrunk by one seat due to Illinois’ declining population. The map includes a new, second Latino-influenced district (CD 4) that stretches from Chicago’s northwest side through suburban Bensenville, Des Plaines, and West Chicago. It’s the only district under a new map with an open seat.
The final map also shifts several current congressional members into the same districts. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R) shares a district with Rep. Darin LaHood (R), as do Reps. Mary Miller (R) and Mike Bost (R). In a surprising move, Democrats shifted Rep. Marie Newman (D) into the same district as Rep. Chuy Garcia (D).
Current members have already come out publicly about how they plan to proceed. Rep. Kinzinger has decided to not run for reelection. Rep. Newman has decided to run against fellow Democrat Rep. Sean Casten in the 6th Congressional District. Rep. Bost has also announced that he plans to seek reelection in his new district.
State Republicans have said they intend to sue. The governor is expected to sign this map into law.
Elections clean-up bill
The General Assembly took a big step expanding voting access and participation in future elections by approving SB 536 (Sen. President Harmon, D-Oak Park/Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Collinsville), an elections cleanup bill. The bill is highlighted by a provision allowing voters to register to permanently vote by mail. The bill also adds a provision for a gender-neutral voter registration form and ensures that there must be a wheelchair-accessible voting booth at each voting location.
It changes specific dates and deadlines to account for the fact that lawmakers moved the primary from March of 2022 to June of that year. Finally, the measure creates a task force to review current laws and make recommendations on improving access to voting for persons with physical, neurological, or mental disabilities.
Health Care Right of Conscience Act amended
SB 1169 (Sen. Bush, D-Grayslake/Rep. Gabel, D-Evanston) clarifies that implementation and enforcement of COVID-related requirements do not violate the Health Care Right of Conscience Act. Under the amended law, individuals can no longer legally use moral or religious arguments to not comply with employers’ COVID-19 vaccine or regular testing requirements. The legislation ensures that employers cannot be punished under the state law for denying the objections.
Chicago TIF extended
SB 1139 (Sen. Turner, D-Springfield/Rep. Hoffman, D-Belleville) extends the estimated date of completion of redevelopment projects and the retirement of obligations issued to finance redevelopment project costs for various ordinances in the City of Chicago. The bill specifically extends the completion dates of the following TIFs:
• Kinzie Industrial TIF district
• Northwest Industrial TIF district
• Pilsen Industrial TIF district
• 35th/Halsted TIF district
• Pulaski Corridor TIF district.
Ensuring Success in School trailer bill passed
HB 3173 (Sen. Lightford, D-Maywood/Rep. Mason, D-Gurnee) is a Senate-approved trailer bill to Public Act 102-466. The legislation will help schools become more trauma-informed spaces for K-12 students who have experienced sexual or domestic violence or who are pregnant/parenting. The bill adds bullying and the death of a family member as mitigating factors that a student may disclose during a suspension review hearing or expulsion hearing. It also adds a social worker as a member of the Ensuring Success in School Task Force. This bill awaits final action in the House.
A look ahead:
During November, the legislature will begin transmitting bills to the governor for his signature. Watch Under the Dome for updates on important bill action.
The House and Senate will return to Springfield for the second year of the 102nd General Assembly on January 4th, 2022.