Legislative Update -- December 3, 2020December 3, 2020
Illinois State Budget
On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Governor Pritzker announced the state of Illinois will borrow $2 billion from the Federal Reserve Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF) for budgetary purposes. The program establishes the Federal Reserve as a source of emergency financing for state and local governments to ensure they have access to credit to manage finances during pandemic budget uncertainty. Illinois is the only state that has taken advantage of this program. The only unit of local government that has obtained funds through this borrowing program is the New York City Transit Authority.
November 25 was the last day for states and municipalities to communicate its borrowing intentions to the federal government. Contained within the FY2021 budget package, the legislature approved MLF borrowing authorization to allow the Governor to borrow up to $5 billion to eliminate the budget deficit. The state of Illinois has now borrowed $3.2 billion of the $5 billion allowed under state law; the original $1.2 billion in borrowing must be repaid by June 2021. There is currently no timeline for repaying the additional $2 billion, but the legislature may place parameters around repayment during the spring appropriations process.
The state will likely wait on congressional action to determine what, if any, funding the federal government will make available to states to cover budget deficits. Until the federal government acts, the state will likely refrain from significant budgetary reductions. If federal stimulus or other relief dollars are unrestricted, those funds will likely be used by the state to address the $3.198 billion FY2021 shortfall or repay MLF borrowing due to be repaid later this fiscal year.
Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
You may have heard this from other sources as it's human resources related, not specifically library related, but it's important for libraries, as employers, to know. Last year, the Illinois General Assembly passed and Governor Pritzker signed into law Public Act 101-0221 which, in part, requires the Illinois Department of Human Rights to develop a model sexual harassment training program for all in-state employers.
All Illinois employers must train employees on sexual harassment prevention by December 31, 2020 and annually thereafter. Employers must either create and develop their own harassment training program that meets or exceeds the statutory minimum standards for harassment prevention outlined within this state law, or they may use the Illinois Department of Human Rights model training program developed for this purpose. Signed training acknowledgment forms, employee session sign-in sheets, or any other physical or electronic record should be kept to reflect statutory compliance with this mandate.
The Illinois Department of Human Rights model training document, and a list of frequently asked questions and answers that have been posed to the state on this issue for your reference.
Cards for Kids Act Proposed Rules Published
Proposed administrative rules for the Cards for Kids Act, passed at the end of the 2020 spring legislative session, have been published in the Illinois Register on the Secretary of State's website. There is a 45 day comment period from the date of publication, which was November 30. The proposed rules for this act begin on p.46 of the Illinois Register PDF. The rules address such things as definitions, public library responsibilities, criteria for the cards, and more. Public comment may be directed to Joe Natale at the Illinois State Library, firstname.lastname@example.org.