The Illinois General Assembly has adjourned its regular session for 2023. The following is our End of Session Report.
Note: As of the date of this report (June 7, 2023), the legislation indicated as “Passed both chambers” have not yet been signed by the Governor and are not yet enacted laws.
FY 2024 State Budget Overview
The Illinois General Assembly worked past their originally scheduled adjournment date of May 19; they passed the state budget on May 27. The $50.4 billion budget includes $317 million to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates along with $550 million for expenses relating to state health care coverage for undocumented immigrants age 42 and over. $250 million is included for Smart Start Illinois, an initiative with the goal of universal preschool, and a $350 million increase to the K-12 public education funding formula is also included. The state’s commitment to K-12 public education now stands at a total of $10.3 billion. However, the scholarship tax credit – Invest in Kids – was not extended (see below).
In addition, there is $350 million for homelessness prevention, including an increase of $85 million for the Governor’s “Home Illinois” plan for the spectrum of services to address homelessness. A $2.3 million increase for Adult Day Care for seniors was also passed in the budget.
Invest in Kids – Was not included in the FY 2024 state budget. Students, parents, teachers, and school administrators from nonpublic schools, including our Catholic schools, from around the state visited Springfield throughout the session to advocate for the continuation of the Invest in Kids program (scholarship tax credit), which is scheduled to sunset this year. Despite these strong advocacy efforts, legislative leadership declined to address the sunset before the end of the spring session. We will continue our efforts over the summer for the scholarship tax credit program to be extended during the veto session at the end of October/early November.
Senate Bill 90 – Passed both chambers. SB 90 sets out requirements regarding discrimination based on race, creed, and national origin in the Illinois School Code, which apply only to public and nonpublic, nonsectarian schools – not religious schools such as our Catholic schools. In addition, the Illinois Human Rights Act was amended to create a civil rights violation for harassment based on various categories, including actual or perceived race, creed, national origin, sex, and sexual orientation in elementary, secondary, and higher education. In the original bill, these provisions would have applied to religious schools, but after discussions with proponents, the bill was amended to clarify it does not apply to religious schools. However, religious schools will be subject to the requirements in the bill regarding trainings for employees on preventing discrimination and harassment based on race, creed, and national origin. The State Board of Education will provide a model training that can be used, or schools may use their own training that meets the requirements set out in the bill. CCI opposed the original bill, then had no position on the bill as amended and passed.
Senate Bill 1446 – Passed both chambers. SB 1446 as originally introduced would require that at all elementary and secondary schools, including nonpublic schools, if there is a school uniform or dress code policy, the school cannot prohibit articles of clothing or items that have cultural or religious significance to the student if those articles of clothing or items are not obscene or derogatory toward others and may not prohibit the right of a student to wear or accessorize the student’s graduation attire with items associated with the student’s cultural or ethnic identity or any protected characteristic or category identified in the Illinois Human Rights Act, including, but not limited to, Native American items of cultural significance. The bill was amended to remove nonpublic schools from its requirements. CCI opposed the original bill but has no position on the bill as amended and passed.
Catholics for Life, Family, and Marriage
Senate Bill 1909 – Passed both chambers. SB 1909 targets pregnancy centers for “deceptive practices.” However, the bill allows for a board interpretation by the Attorney General that could lead to investigations of and imposition of civil penalties upon pregnancy centers, and there is no guidance provided on how pregnancy centers can avoid this and comply with the law. CCI opposed this bill.
Senate Bill 1907 – Passed both chambers. SB 1907 would require public institutions of higher education to make emergency contraception available through at least one “wellness kiosk.” CCI opposed this bill.
Physician-assisted suicide – On hold. There was talk that legislation to legalize physician assisted suicide in Illinois would move forward near the end of session. However, no such legislation was introduced, but we expect to see legislation on this in Illinois soon. We will continue to work on efforts to oppose physician assisted suicide.
House Bill 1148/House Bill 2343 – Did not move forward in House. Each of these bills would create the Ultrasound Opportunity Act. Under the bills, prior to any woman having an abortion after 8 weeks of gestation, the woman shall be given an opportunity to receive and view an active ultrasound of her unborn child by someone qualified to perform ultrasounds. CCI supported this bill.
House Bill 1162 – Did not move forward in House. Under this bill, mobile abortions services, defined “as any abortion-related services provided in a moveable vehicle or nonpermanent clinic,” are prohibited. CCI supported this bill.
House Bill 1163 – Did not move forward in House. This bill would have repealed the Reproductive Health Act and restore the statutes that had been in place prior to the passage of the Act. CCI supported this bill.
House Bill 1347 – Did not move forward in House. This would have provided a diaper allowance of $30 per month for parents whose household income is at or below 50 percent of the federal poverty guidelines and who have a child 3 years of age or younger receiving state medical assistance (Medicaid). CCI supported this bill.
House Bill 1571 – Passed both chambers. HB 1571 originally would have removed discretion from the courts in addressing disputes over disinterment. Pat Carlson of the Archdiocese of Chicago testified in committee in opposition to the original bill. After numerous negotiations, the bill was amended to remove the provisions affecting the courts’ ability to rule on disputes over disinterment. The amended bill as passed now calls on the court to resolve disputes over disinterment with “all reasonable promptness” and provides that if a dispute is brought to court in bad faith, the court may require the party acting in bad faith to pay costs, including reasonable attorney fees. In addition, the bill as passed requires that cemeteries must publicly provide their rules and regulations to consumers, either online or with paper copies upon request (for which they can require reasonable charges) if they have no website or social media. CCI opposed the original bill, then had no position as amended and passed.
House Bill 3158 – Passed the House, did not pass the Senate. HB 3158 would allow for human composting. Deacon Daniel Welter of the Archdiocese of Chicago testified in committee in opposition to this bill. Although it did not pass before adjournment, we expect discussions on this to continue over the summer. CCI opposed this bill.
Social Services and Senior Issues
House Bill 1187 – Passed both chambers. HB 1187 amends the statute creating the Illinois Nonprofit Security Grant Program to improve access for nonprofits to these grants, which are used to address security needs. This year, several Catholic parishes in Illinois and the Archdiocese of Chicago received grants from this program. CCI supported this bill.
House Bill 1364 – Passed both chambers. HB 1364 creates a state workgroup to review the first year of implementation of the 9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and make recommendations on how to strengthen the hotline and the services provided to those with mental health needs. The bill also amends the Community Emergency Services and Support Act regarding the implementation of the 9-8-8 system. CCI supported this bill.
House Bill 2847 – Passed both chambers. HB 2847 requires state regulated insurance plans to cover one mental health wellness and prevention visit per year. It also calls on the Department of Public Health to create a public educational campaign about mental health and wellness. CCI supported this bill.
House Bill 2572 – Passed the House, did not move forward in the Senate. HB 2572 originally would have prohibited any state funding to go to organizations that performed conversion therapy. Although none of our Catholic entities perform conversion therapy, the bill as introduced was very broadly written and might have impacted our ability to speak on Catholic teachings, so we expressed our concerns to the sponsor, Rep. Laura Faver Dias (D-Grayslake). The bill was amended to clarify that funding would be prohibited for the use of conversion therapy (rather than prohibiting all funding to an organization) and that certain counseling would not be considered conversion therapy. CCI opposed the original bill, then had no position on the bill as amended.
Senate Bill 1360 – Did not move forward in Senate. This bill calls on the Department of Agriculture to conduct an access to nutritious food program to establish and operate projects and strategies within food deserts. CCI supported this bill.
Senate Bill 1501 – Did not move forward in Senate. SB 1501 originally would have required nonprofits to report to the state and post publicly online the aggregated demographics, including sexual orientation and gender identity, of their board members and officers. This raised numerous confidentiality concerns, which we expressed to the sponsor, Sen. Adriane Johnson (D-Waukegan). The bill was amended to apply to certain charitable organizations that provide $10 million or more annually in grants (rather than all nonprofits), but it did not move forward in the Senate. CCI opposed the original bill, but we have no position on the amendment.
Prison & Jail Ministry
House Bill 3055 – Passed both chambers. HB 3055 creates the Faith Behind Bars Act to clarify and put into statute the religious rights of persons who are incarcerated in state prisons. CCI supported this bill.
House Bill 3755 – Passed both chambers. HB 3755 provides that persons nearing the end of their sentences in state prisons may be transferred to the local county jail in the community they resided in prior to their incarceration if that jail has a reentry program and if the sheriff approves the transfer, in order to participate in the program. CCI supported this bill.
House Bill 1245 – Did not move forward in House, but discussions are ongoing. This bill would have created a Department of Returning Resident Affairs to better coordinate reentry services across the state for persons who are released from correctional facilities and are returning to their communities. Although the bill did not move forward, discussions on how to support and coordinate reentry services through an official state agency or agency division will continue. CCI supported this bill.
House Bill 3335 -– Did not move forward in House. This would have created rental housing vouchers to provide temporary housing assistance for persons being released from a state correctional facility if such assistance is needed to prevent homelessness. CCI supported this bill.
House Bill 3933 – Did not move forward in House. This bill would have provided that all juveniles who have been detained shall have access to mental health services and professionals. In addition, employees of juvenile detention centers and the Department of Juvenile Justice are to receive training on the mental health needs of juveniles. Furthermore, when a juvenile is released, the juvenile must receive counseling, therapy, and job training to assist in his or her reentry. CCI supported this bill.
Senate Bill 2018 – Did not move forward in Senate. This would have created a Life Skills Reentry Center for Women to help women in the custody of the Department of Corrections to prepare for reentry in their community after they are released. Similar life skills reentry centers currently exist for men in Murphysboro and Kewanee. CCI supported this bill.
Peace & Social Justice and Immigration
House Bill 3882 – Passed both chambers. HB 3882 would allow those without social security numbers (including undocumented immigrants) to apply for and receive standard ID cards and driver’s licenses. Currently they are eligible only for temporary visitor driver’s licenses. This will help to prevent these persons from being “singled out” as undocumented persons and provides them with an official form of a state ID, but the ID or driver’s license may not be used for federal purposes. CCI supported this bill.
House Bill 3950/Senate Bill 1444 – Did not move forward. These bills would have created a state dependent tax credit, with a $700 maximum credit per dependent for joint taxpayers with incomes of $75,000 or less and for other taxpayers with incomes of $50,000 or less. A dependent includes children 17 years of age or younger or persons physically or mentally unable to care for themselves. The tax credit would be pro-rated at a reduced amount for incomes above these levels. CCI supported these bills.
Predatory Loan Prevention Act and pawn loans – On hold. There was an effort from the pawnbroker industry to exempt pawn loans from the 36 percent rate cap and other requirements of the Predatory Loan Prevention Act (PLPA). These loans currently impose high annual percentage rates and are often marketed to those in low-income communities. CCI opposes these efforts by the pawnbroker industry and will continue to work with the PLPA Coalition on this issue.