On the Friday before the 2022 midterm elections, the Illinois Democratic Party filed a legal complaint against the Darren Bailey campaign for governor. The complaint says that the campaign illegally coordinated with an independent political action committee (known as a super PAC). The super PAC, called the “People Who Play By The Rules PAC,” is led by Republican political operative, talk show host, and one-time failed gubernatorial candidate, Dan Proft. The People Who Play By The Rules PAC is funded almost entirely by billionaire businessman and Republican mega-donor, Richard Uihlein. The Illinois Democrats’ legal complaint was not filed not in court, but in front of the Illinois State Board of Elections – the state government body tasked with enforcing Illinois’ election laws. The complaint has not yet been made public.
November 8, 2022 marks the day Illinois constituents vote for midterm elections. That is if they have not already sent in early ballots. On the ballot this year, voters will see a proposed amendment that would add a new section to the Bill of Rights Article of the Illinois Constitution that would guarantee workers the fundamental right to organize and bargain collectively, and negotiate wages, hours, and working conditions. This post breaks down this new amendment, looks at the greater political debate, and analyzes how it affects Illinois businesses.
Several big-name companies, corporations with recognizable names, headquartered in Illinois are exiting the state in mass numbers for a variety of reasons. This blog discusses the impacts and outlook for Illinois as this corporation exodus affects the state’s revenue streams. It also looks at how lawmakers, in-house lawyers, and internal compliance teams can keep companies in Illinois.
Earlier this summer, Ken Griffin, CEO of Chicago’s largest hedge fund, Citadel, announced that it is moving the firm’s headquarters to Miami. This news follows the departure of several other companies that were headquartered in Chicago like Boeing, Caterpillar, and grocery stores like Aldi.
In the almost sixty years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, women and people of color are still deprived of wages equal to their male and white coworkers. Illinois has recently made strides to level the playing field by passing amendments to their Equal Pay Act requiring large companies to disclose demographic data on their employees and sign compliance statements regarding pay discrimination. Going forward, Chicago is considering requiring employers to post salary ranges on their job postings, while the Biden Administration has been fighting to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. The future of equal wages in America depends on the results of these crucial legislative battles.
The Coalition to Protect Telehealth and State Representative Deb Conroy of the Illinois 46th House District have introduced legislation that would permanently expand access to telehealth services for Illinoisans. The legislation also details provisions that promote telehealth payment rate partity between telehealth services and in-person care. In a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth providers have been granted temporary waivers to align their payment rates with those prescribed for traditional care in health care facilities. These waivers have served as stabilizing financial mechanisms for many practitioners experiencing revenue loss due to the restrictions on elective procedures and non-emergency care. The proposed legislation would give patients more freedom to utilize telehealth services by removing the patient responsibilities to demonstrate hardship or access issues.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted residents and staff of nursing homes and long-term care facilities more than any other demographic, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the total mortality rate from the virus in the United States. According to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), at least 132,000 residents and employees have died from complications of the COVID-19 across 31,000 facilities, although some estimates place the death count closer to 200,000. One factor aggravating the number of deaths in nursing homes is the extraordinarily high rate of staff turnover each year.
The latest COVID-19 relief package passed on March 11, 2021 by Congress provides a total of $1.9 trillion in mandatory funding, program changes, and tax policies designed to address the enduring economic damage caused by the pandemic. About 15% of the total package will be allocated to states and local governments to tackle budgetary issues associated with the pandemic with very few strings attached. The State of Illinois and the city of Chicago are in the process of assessing the relief package and formulating plans as to how they will allocate the funds.
If you live in Illinois, you have likely seen in the past couple of days this vibrant blue commercial at least once or twice. The commercial encourages Illinois voters to “Vote Yes for Fairness” at the polls this November by voting their approval of an amendment to the 1970 Illinois Constitution. The proposed amendment would change the state’s current state income system from a flat tax to a graduated income tax. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker made the adoption of a progressive income tax a centerpiece of his policy agenda in a budget address back in February 2019, and it was geared up to be a focus of election-season debates before the COVID-19 pandemic took precedence. With the Illinois general election less than fifty days away, however, the ‘Vote Yes for Fairness’ campaign has bolstered its attempts at garnering voters’ approval of the proposed amendment.
By now most people are familiar with the #MeToo movement. The movement began in 2006 by women, specifically Tarana Burke and women of color from low wealth communities, to help survivors of sexual violence. Eleven years after the movement was founded, it exploded during the fall of 2017 when well-known women in the entertainment industry began to use the famous #MeToo hashtag and shared their stories of sexual, discrimination, abuse and harassment. Two and half years later, there has been some change, but not enough. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center, said the biggest impact of #MeToo is that it decreased the stigma associated with sexual abuse and harassment and increased awareness.
An article published on November 19, 2019 by ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune has alerted Illinois lawmakers, parents, and school personnel of the widespread use of seclusion rooms for isolated timeouts. The use of these rooms, which has now been halted by the Illinois State Board of Education (“ISBE”) and Governor J.B. Pritzker, has been legal in Illinois for over twenty years. The students who are most frequently placed in these rooms have an emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disability, and special education advocates are calling for an end to this practice. These rooms were introduced as a legally-sanctioned separation method to prevent students from harming themselves or others, but the investigative article found that students are often unlawfully placed in these rooms for minor behavioral infractions. The report also found that parents and school administrators did not have knowledge of the full scope of isolated time-out use for their students.