Legislative Update -- November 12, 2020November 12, 2020
BREAKING NEWS: Election Update
We have just learned that AP has called the race for Illinois' 14th United States Congressional district for incumbent Lauren Underwood (D) over challenger Jim Oberweis (R), with 50.5% of the vote to his 49.5%.
With the sad and frightening news that cases continue to surge across Illinois--and the nation--we are seeing more frequent reports of library staff with positive diagnoses and libraries taking action including scaling back in-person public services, or closing again their physical facilities, while virtual services continue.
Please keep in mind ILA's Bigger Than a Building campaign, which seeks to give libraries the tools needed to advance awareness of services libraries continue to offer while in-person public service is limited; and to advocate for support for libraries. It is likely this will be the main thrust of ILA legislative advocacy for the upcoming session, something discussed in the ILA Public Policy Committee meeting this past Monday.
The ILA COVID-19 Resources page hadn't been updated in some time, but it has been now. Updates include a new document, "Reopening: Guidance for Libraries," published by the American Industrial Hygiene Association developed with input from ALA; a new specific section for IDPH resources, and the latest information from the REALM Project assessing the viability of the virus on library materials.
We are aware that libraries across the state differ in approach, depending on the situation in different communities. We recognize the desire for state guidance on matters including materials quarantine, closure to in-person public services, and more; we also know Illinois libraries continue to place great importance on having local control. The Illinois State Library has reached out to the Illinois Department of Public Health for such guidance. It is crucial that library-specific guidance not be developed without input from the library community, and we thank the State Library for its efforts. We will share any opportunities and any eventual guidance that is developed.
Illinois General Assembly Veto Session CANCELLED
Each fall, a veto session is scheduled in Springfield for the Illinois General Assembly; this year's had been scheduled for November 17, 18, and 19 and December 1, 2, and 3; and has been cancelled due to concerns over gathering in person. The 102nd General Assembly will be inaugurated on January 13, 2021, and we will share any information about a possible lame-duck session prior to that date as we learn more.
This year, there were no vetoes from the Governor for the Assembly to consider overturning; on the possible docket would have been the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus's agenda that includes four pillars of focus to advance racial equity in Illinois: criminal justice reform, violence reduction and police accountability; education and workforce development; economic access, equity, and opportunity; and health care and human services. State Senate Majority Leader and chair of the Legislative Black Caucus Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) is quoted in the news media stating “We are still in the midst of a pandemic, and COVID-19 cases are surging across the state, making the risk too high for the General Assembly to gather at this time. While we will not be able to pass legislation as soon as we hoped, the urgency to bring an end to systemic racism remains. The moment to put forth this critical agenda is now, and I know President Harmon and Speaker Madigan share our concerns and our commitment to making a difference.”