May 1, 2020

This Week in Illinois

Session Update
The House and Senate were not in session this week.  It is still uncertain when they will return, but the Republicans are starting to become much more vocal about the need to conduct the state's business in Springfield. It started this week when Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington, released an open letter demanding to get back to business. He has since done quite an extensive media push in both print and appearing on Chicago networks. Members of the House Republican Caucus, meanwhile, are taking to the judicial system to try and reopen the state. 

Any decision will be up the to the Illinois Speaker of the House, the Governor and the Illinois Senate President. The Speaker has remained fairly quiet during the pandemic and has shown little desire to return to Springfield anytime soon. Polls have consistently shown the public is shy about opening as well, which lessens the pressure to return anytime soon. There has been increasing chatter about a return the last week of May but nothing is finalized yet. A budget passed in June requires a supermajority in favor while a May budget just requires a simple majority.

Fair Maps Amendment
One of the legislative  victims  of  session's cancellation is any hope of the Fair Maps Amendment.  The deadline for amendments was this week and with no session, all hopes for getting a better mapping process  to the voters in November has been lost.  It was already a difficult task to complete, but  unfortunately, COVID-19 made  remap reform  impossible.   The next map will be drawn like  all  other ones, and voters will suffer because of it.  
Executive Order 2020-32   
While Gov. Pritzker's Executive Order 2020-32 extends the Illinois Stay at Home order through May, it does ever so slightly loosen some requirements for Illinois businesses. It also adds some additional requirements for businesses that are able to operate.
All businesses are encouraged to provide remote work opportunities for their employees. All businesses that have employees reporting for duty at a physical job site must provide IDPH guidance on workplace safety during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  
Here are a few of the new requirements for essential retail businesses:   
  • Provide face coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain a minimum six-foot social distance at all times;
  • Cap occupancy at 50 percent of store capacity, or, alternatively, at the occupancy limits based on store square footage set by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity;
  • Set up store aisles to be one-way where practicable to maximize spacing between customers and identify the one-way aisles with conspicuous signage and/or floor markings;
Requirements for nonessential businesses:
  • Retail stores not designated as essential businesses and Operations may re-open for the limited purposes of fulfilling telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery - which are deemed to be Minimum Basic Operations. Employees working in the store must follow the social distancing requirements, and must wear a face covering when they may come within six feet of another employee or a customer.
Requirements for manufacturers  
  • Providing face coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain a minimum six-foot social distance at all times;
  • Staggering shifts;
  • Reducing line speeds;
  • Operating only essential lines, while shutting down non-essential lines;
  • Ensuring that all spaces where employees may gather, including locker rooms and lunchrooms, allow for social distancing; and
  • Downsizing operations to the extent necessary to allow for social distancing and to provide a safe workplace in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

DOI Rules Provide Guidance on Health Benefits that Employers Wish to Maintain for their Employees
In today's edition of the Illinois Register, the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) is formalizing the FAQ issued by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on March 24, 2020. They are submitting an emergency rule which is effective 150 days from April 20th. In addition the Department has simultaneously issued an identical proposed permanent rule.  
Stay-at-Home Lawsuits Update
Three lawsuits have now been filed against Governor Pritzker's stay-at home order.  The first lawsuit, filed by Representative Darren Bailey of Xenia, temporarily exempted Bailey from the mandates of the order. The temporary restraining order was granted. Attorney General Kwame Raoul had filed an appeal to overturn the ruling. Today, Representative Bailey voluntarily vacated his lawsuit in order to refile.

The second lawsuit has been filed by Representative John Cabello of Rockford. The lawsuit calls for an injunction on all new stay-at-home orders or the enforcement of current orders. Cabello argued that the stay-at-home orders have caused severe harm to the residents of Illinois.

The third lawsuit has been filed by a Church in the Rockford area represented by former State Representative Peter Breen. The suit alleges that the stay-at-home order unfairly targets churches and places of worship. Following the filing of the lawsuit, the governor amended the stay-at-home order to allow the operation of places of worship under a series of guidelines.

Business Suggestions   
The Chamber is consulting with the governor's administration on business relief. Please send any information or suggestions  we can use to advocate on your behalf  to Andrew at

We also want to share your good news. Please send any announcements or positive stories on your business to Darbi at

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If you have questions about the Government Affairs Report, contact Clark Kaericher at Do not reply to this email. 

Illinois Chamber of Commerce

2020 Government Affairs Report | Clark Kaericher, Editor