The General Assembly finished the 2021 spring session on June 1 after a whirlwind of activity in the final week. May 31 began smoothly, with all legislation that had to be passed prior to adjournment cued up. However, as usual, bill action began slowly, and the final action pace began to deteriorate in the late evening hours. The House did not bring up the budget until after 11:00 PM, leaving the Senate to concur much later in the night. On June 1, the House adjourned around 2:45 AM and the Senate adjourned around 3:00 AM. The Senate came back later that day at 12:45 PM to finish up work on a few items, most notably an elected school board for Chicago. Both chambers are presently adjourned to the call of their respective leader.
At this time, 654 bills passed both houses, 337 House Bills and 317 Senate Bills. 568 bills passed in the final week alone, representing 87% of the total passed bills. That means only 86 bills, less than 13%, passed prior to the final week of Session!
The following bills passed the General Assembly in the final few days:
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Budget & Capital Bill (SB 2800 HA 3) spends over $42.2 billion of the $42.3 billion in revenue from the Budget Implementation Bill (BIMP) (SB 2017 HA 2). It spends $1 billion for capital projects across the state; contains a $350 million dollar increase for K-12 education funding; pays down almost $2 billion in bond indebtedness; and creates around $655 million in additional revenue by ending corporate tax incentives.
Given that this is the year following a decennial census, the General Assembly passed a suite of redistricting bills. The Democrat-led General Assembly based its redistricting proposals on the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey (ACS), rather than data from the decennial 2020 U.S. Census. Originally, the Census Bureau was supposed to provide Illinois Census data by March 31, but delays due to COVID-19 pushed this deadline back to September 30. Democrats argue that ACS data represents the most accurate source of population data, but Republicans disagree and continue to call on Governor J.B. Pritzker to veto what they consider to be partisan maps. Litigation is expected before the end of June.
General Assembly Redistricting passed as HB 2777 SA 1; Supreme Court Redistricting passed as SB 642 HA 2; and Cook County Board of Review Redistricting passed as SB 2661 HA 1. Draft maps are available on both the House and Senate Democrats redistricting websites. The House website also includes a draft of the Supreme Court districts and Cook County Board of Review districts. U.S. Congressional redistricting still needs to be addressed by the General Assembly.
The long-awaited Ethics Omnibus (SB 539 HA 2), among other things, requires former legislators to wait six months to lobby the General Assembly and prohibits General Assembly members from holding fundraisers on session days or the day before Session.
The Elections Omnibus (SB 825 HA 2), allows counties to maintain a permanent vote-by-mail list and moves the 2022 Primary Election to June 28, with early voting beginning on May 19.
HB 2621 SA 3 & 4 creates the COVID-19 Affordable Housing Grant Program Act. It provides that the Illinois Housing Development Authority shall establish an affordable housing grant program to encourage the construction and rehabilitation of affordable multifamily rental housing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; extends the tax credit for affordable housing donations until December 31, 2026; provides for a reduction in assessed value for affordable rental housing construction or rehabilitation; amends the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act and provides that, for the purposes of the Act, rent includes any required costs for parking, maintenance, or landlord-imposed fees.
Several major issues remained unresolved and were not addressed by the General Assembly in the final few days of Session. Chief among these unresolved items is an agreed-upon energy bill. U.S. Congressional redistricting, a Gaming Omnibus (SB 521), and any other items leadership deem to be imperative also have yet to be addressed. The General Assembly will reconvene at some point this summer, but at this time, it is unknown exactly when they will return. Some say the General Assembly could reconvene in two weeks, others say in a few weeks, but it could be as late as August.