2020 Legislative Session
The legislative session was significantly reduced this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Harmon and Speaker Madigan declared a special session. During a special session, only the subjects listed in the proclamation can be discussed, which ultimately means all other remaining legislation will not be addressed during this time. The agenda included the state’s COVID-19 response, state budget and its implementation, 2020 general election, the hospital assessment program, and other critical items.
The special session occurred over a four-day period at the end of May. The Senate met at the Capitol building and the House convened at the BOS Center in Springfield to allow for social distancing measures. Lobbyists and members of the public were strongly encouraged not to attend the session due to the risks associated with COVID-19. Therefore, the ICS legislative team monitored the session and advocated on your behalf remotely.
Legislators discussed telehealth insurance reimbursement during the special session. Advocates for broad telehealth coverage attempted to codify the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-09, which required insurance companies to pay for telehealth services. The Illinois Chiropractic Society supported these efforts. SB 671, as amended with House Amendments 2 and 3, would have put these provisions in a formal law until December 31, 2020. The legislation passed the House unanimously. Unfortunately, due to strong opposition from the insurance industry, the measure was not called in the Senate. This issue will continue to be discussed in the coming months. The ICS will be following these conversations and will keep our members informed of any new developments.
The legislature also passed a measure regarding workers’ compensation for essential employees. Any essential worker who files a claim for exposure to COVID-19 is presumed to have contracted the virus during work unless the employer can prove otherwise. This legislation was compromised language between business and labor groups. Please see the workers’ compensation section of the COVID-19 article for more information.
Another measure passed that requires the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and the Department of Insurance (DOI) to study providing more affordable health insurance for low-income and middle-income residents. The agencies are required to file a report to the Governor on February 28, 2021. We will be following this issue closely.
COVID-19 Relief Package
During the special session, the legislature was able to pass a COVID-19 relief package from the funding provided by the federal government in the CARES Act. This included small business relief, funding for local governments, and payments for long-term care facilities and hospitals. The small business funding will be awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). More detailed information will be released about this program soon. We will keep our members informed of any information as it becomes available.
Finally, the legislature was able to pass a state budget for FY 21. The state is expected to have a significant revenue shortfall. Therefore, part of the budget package did include borrowing authority for the Governor.
The legislature adjourned after their four-day session and will return in November for the fall veto session. We will continue to advocate for you and keep you informed.