ACMHAI Legislative Report – May 2022

Government Strategy Associates

 Mental Health Initiatives Signed into Law

The Community Mental Health validation legislation initiated by ACMHAI , Senate Bill 3215, was signed by Governor Pritzker.  This bill simply validates that existing mental health and developmental disability boards that were created since the PTELL Act became law are legally created entities.

Senate Bill 3889, forms a Children’s Mental Health Council to research and recommend legislative action for children with mental and behavioral disabilities, particularly around residential placement needs. Sponsor Senator Meg Loughran Cappel said the new law will “give the council an opportunity to address the difficulties that so many individuals and their families are facing around the state.”

House Bill 4306 was also signed. This law creates the Holistic Mental Health Care for Youth in Care Task Force. The nine-member task force will review mental health and wellness services provided to youth in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. It will then give recommendations on how the department can provide a more preventative and holistic approach to mental health services to children within the foster care system.

Additionally,  House Bill 1321, creates the First Responder Behavioral Health Grant Program. This will provide grants to municipalities, law enforcement agencies, fire protection and school districts, hospitals and ambulance services. It was signed into law on Friday. Hastings championed this initiative to ensure that first responders, including police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and public safety telecommunicators across Illinois have full access to supportive and responsive behavioral health services and treatment.

 Census Correction Boosts Illinois Numbers

It turns out the many stories about an Illinois exodus were all wrong. The U.S. Census Bureau said Illinois’ population was undercounted by about 250,000 people. So rather than shrinking by 18,124, as it had originally reported, Illinois grew by a little more than a quarter million people. The State’s population is now at its largest in history with about 13 million residents.

Senator Durbin and federal lawmakers communicated with the Census Bureau seeking to learn how the updated findings will be used going forward with regards to the allocation of federal funding. Illinois lawmakers are urging the new numbers be used as the basis for the allocation of valuable federal funding over the next ten years. The Census is used to allocate roughly $1.5 trillion, through about 100 programs including Medicaid, SNAP, Medicare Part B, Highway Planning and Construction, and Pell grants.

GOP Primary for Governor Dominates Primary Election Season

The primary election is just weeks away on June 28. All six statewide office are up for election along with U.S. Senate, new Congressional districts along with all Illinois House and Senate districts. Candidates are competing for the attention of voters who are unaccustomed to a primary set in the summer.

The airwaves will be full for the next few weeks. You will see a lot of ads but aren’t likely to learn too much. Good luck sifting through all the slings and arrows as well as the puff pieces. The bulk of the energy and money has been focused on the Republican primary race for Governor. Billionaires are bankrolling campaigns where mudslinging appears to be the main goal. One reporter called it “an ugly, dispiriting and substance-less campaign.”

The top Republican candidates for governor include Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, State Senator Darren Bailey, former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, Sen. Darren Bailey, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, suburban businessman Gary Rabine, and venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan. The frontrunners are Irvin who has the backing hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin and Sen. Bailey has received several millions conservative billionaire Dick Uihlein of shipping company Uline. Jesse Sullivan has been spending the $11 million he has in his campaign coffers. Gary Rabine received the endorsement of the Chicago Tribune.

Candidates Line Up for Secretary of State

After 24 years in office, longtime Secretary of State Jesse White is retiring. On the Democratic side, Chicago Alderman David Moore, Former State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia are the top candidates. Alexi and Valencia have been trading barbs around ethics. Longtime GOP lawmaker Dan Brady and former Central Illinois U.S. Attorney John Milhiser vie for the Republican nomination.

Illinois Bans Ghost Guns

A new law aims to block the sale, possession, transfer, and manufacture of ghost guns, which are untraceable and unregistered, have no serial numbers and require no background checks to buy. Ghost guns can be assembled through kits, or created through 3D printers. Illinois is the first state in the Midwest to enact the law. The legislation was spearheaded by State Sen. Jacqueline Collins and State Rep. Kam Buckner.

Organized Retail Theft Legislation Also Signed into Law

It defines, for the first time, organized retail crime into law and creates stiffer penalties for the ringleaders of retail thefts. A person is guilty of being a ringleader of a retail theft operation if they recruit individuals, supervise finances or direct others to commit the theft with the intent to resell merchandise that exceeds $300 in value. The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

COVID Update

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has reported COVID-19 continues to rise in Illinois. Fifteen Illinois counties are now rated at high community level for COVID-19. An additional 30 counties in Illinois are now rated at Medium Community Level, the CDC reports. The counties listed at High Community Level are Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Will, Grundy, Boone, Lee and Winnebago in Northern Illinois and Fulton, Knox, Henderson, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell in Central Illinois.


This Month’s Corruption Round Up

A federal judge has sentenced former state Rep. Luis Arroyo to 57 months in prison.  The former Democratic leader in the Illinois House was sentenced after pleading guilty in November to a wire fraud count alleging he tried to bribe a state senator to help with promoting legislation.

New Senator Named in Joliet Area District

Eric Mattson, a Joliet native and firefighter for 26 years, has been appointed to the Illinois State Senate from the 43rd Legislative District. He is replacing retiring State Sen. John Connor, who resigned to take care of a family member.

State Senator to be Named U.S. Attorney

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved Rachelle Aud Crowe as the new United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois. Crowe has served in the Illinois Senate since 2019, representing much of Madison County and parts of St. Clair and Jersey counties. She is the chairwoman of the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee.  Sen. Crowe’s start date as U.S. Attorney has not been announced.

General Assembly Hosts Hearings on Energy Capacity and Costs

Customers who pay for electric services from Ameren Illinois could see about a $626 per year increase in electric costs starting June 1, according to information provided by the company. Ameren says it provides electricity for 1.2 million customers in Illinois. Lawmakers are hosting hearings to look into the issue.

Key Dates Relative to the June 28th Primary

June 12: Last day to register online to vote in Illinois. You can still register to vote in-person, up until and on election day (June 28).

June 23: Last day for election officials to receive your mail-in ballot (so make sure your mail-in ballot is postmarked before this date)

June 28: Illinois state-wide primary election. Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.