News from the ITA

January 15, 2021


Legislative Update

The Illinois General Assembly convened a lame duck session starting Friday, January 8. Legislators worked through the weekend and debated bills overnight Tuesday and well into the morning on Wednesday. Following a short break Wednesday morning, legislators concluded the 101st General Assembly just prior to the inauguration of the new 102nd General Assembly.

Due to ongoing public health and safety concerns related to COVID-19, legislators met with similar safety protocols and arrangements as they did to conclude the spring legislative session in May and June. House Members met at the convention center in downtown Springfield to allow for social distancing, while the Illinois Senate met in the Senate Chamber, with additional public health and safety protocols in place. Lobbyists and the media had very limited access to legislators and the proceedings.

Much of the lame duck session was focused on the passage of a package of legislation introduced by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus intended to address systemic racism. The Black Caucus bills addressed four pillars of policy: criminal justice reform, violence and police accountability (HB 3653); education and workforce development (HB 2170); economic access, equity and opportunity (SB 1480, SB 1608, SB 1792, and SB 1980); and healthcare and human services (SB 558). The House of Representatives passed all four measures. The Senate passed all the bills except the health care measure.

The economic access, equity and opportunity pillar was comprised of several measures that address how businesses may use criminal history in hiring, promotions and other conditions of employment; amends the state procurement code and minority contracting requirements; requires a study to determine the economic disparities associated with farm ownership; changes payday loan regulations; and requires housing authorities to collect information on the denial of assistance based on criminal history records. We are still analyzing all the ramifications of these measures as the very long, comprehensive amendments were introduced with just hours to review prior to passage.  

New Legislative Leadership in House and Senate

House Democrats chose a new leader January 13 with the historic election of Emanuel Chris Welch as the first African American Speaker of the House in Illinois history. Welch replaces Michael J. Madigan, who had served as the longest statehouse leader in the nation. Representative Jim Durkin will continue to hold his position of House Republican Leader.

Democrats in the Senate elected Senate President Don Harmon to continue leading that chamber and Senate Republicans chose Senator Dan McConchie as Senate Republican Leader, replacing retired Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady.

Broadband & Telecom Headlines

FCC Chair Pai has an idea for the C-Band auction windfall and it involves USF (telecompetitor)

FCC seeks comments on $3.2 Billion emergency broadband benefit program (telecompetitor)

Report: Cord-cutting during the pandemic leads to streaming now accounting for 68% of TV viewing (telecompetitor)

Illinois Telecommunications Association

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