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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Illinois General Assembly Passes Legislation Affecting Local Governments

The Illinois General Assembly completed its May session early on Sunday morning, and passed a variety of bills that have now been sent to the Governor. We have summarized below some of the key decisions made by the General Assembly in the weekend session that include (1) budget/funding; (2) workers compensation; (3) liquor regulations; (4) township meetings; and (5) library non-resident fees.

We will be reporting on other legislation in more detail as it is considered by the Governor and update you on legislation that is signed into law.

Budget/Funding Legislation

The IML prepared a summary of the legislation adopted by the General Assembly over the weekend that affects budgets and funding that will be of interest to Illinois municipalities. You can read that on the IML's website here, and we have provided a brief summary below:

The General Assembly adopted its FY 2021 budget, which begins on July 1, 2020. According to the IML, the FY 2021 budget is considered a relatively flat budget for the state, meaning no significant changes were made to spending when compared to FY 2020, excluding COVID-19 response spending. 

The General Assembly included in the BIMP bill the creation of the Local Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency (Local CURE) Support Program to distribute CARES Act funding to local governments that did not receive direct funding through the CARES Act on a per capita basis and to use for expenses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic that were not accounted for in the municipality’s most recent budget approved as of March 27, 2020. 

SB 685 allows a county board to waive fees and penalties for late property tax payments for either 120 days after the effective date of the legislation or until the first day of the month after the public health emergency ends, whichever is earlier. 

Workers Compensation Legislation

HB 2455 would provide essential workers with a temporary rebuttable presumption for workers compensation claims that they contracted COVID-19 during the course of their employment. Employers will be able to offer a rebuttal of that presumption if the employers are following CDC and IDPH guidance regarding safety in the workplace. 

Liquor Control Act Legislation - Cocktails-To-Go and Renewals/Fees

HB 2682 would make a variety of changes to the State Liquor Control Act, including allowing restaurants and bars to prepare and sell cocktails or mixed drinks for off-site consumption. The bill also waives late filing fees for state liquor licenses, authorizes the deferral of fees for state liquor licenses and provides for automatic renewals of state liquor licenses. 

Township Code Legislation - Annual Town Meetings

HB 2096 amends the Township Code to provide that, if the Governor declares a disaster under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act and the disaster declaration is effective during the dates designated for a township's annual meeting, a township board may postpone the annual meeting to the third Tuesday, after 6 p.m., of the month following the end of the disaster declaration if circumstances related to the disaster declaration prevent a township from holding its annual meeting. The legislation also requires the townships to consult with and receive written approval from the county health department to proceed with an annual meeting during the course of a subsequent disaster declaration. 

Library Legislation - Nonresident Fees

HB 2096 also amends the Illinois Local Library Act and the Public Library District Act of 1991 to create the Cards for Kids Act. If signed by the Governor, this would prohibit a library from charging nonresident fees for the privilege and use of a library to a nonresident in an unincorporated area in Illinois who is a student whose household falls at or below the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Income Eligibility Guidelines. The legislation also removed provisions that previously allowed libraries not to participate in nonresident card reciprocal borrowing programs of a regional library system.


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