Illinois Insights An Update from Cozen O’Connor (6/13)

June 13, 2022

Public Health

  • 32 Illinois Counties at ‘High’ Alert Level for COVID: “Thirty-two Illinois counties are now under a “high community level ” for COVID, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, marking a significant jump from last week as some Chicago-area counties return to the highest alert level. The number of counties at the “high ” level marks an increase from last week’s 19 as some Chicago-area counties that had dropped down to medium last week returned to the heightened level. Cook, Lake, DuPage and McHenry counties in the Chicago area all remain under the high category, where they have been for several weeks. ” From NBC Chicago.



Pritzker signs legislation to expand access to HIV, AIDS-related care; improve mental health care access

Late last week, Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law a suite of bills which would remove barriers to those wishing to re-enter the mental health care field; create tax breaks for businesses which hire people recovering substance abuse; and expand access to HIV and AIDS care.

  • Senate Bill 3617, a mental health care omnibus, aims to address the mental health care workforce shortage by temporarily allowing licensees out of practice for less than five years to reactivate their license with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
  • The bill also seeks to expand behavioral health training, allowing the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health to award grants or contracts to enhance training and supervision of behavioral health providers-in-training seeking licensure in specified fields.
  • Finally, the bill creates a program to provide tax incentives to qualified employers who employ eligible individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder or mental illness. IDHS will work with the Illinois Department of Revenue to verify tax credit certificates issued to employers.

Pritzker also signed two bills to expand access to HIV and AIDS care.

  • House Bill 4430 allows pharmacists to dispense both pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis drugs (PrEP and PEP) without a prior referral from a doctor.  The CDC currently estimates that less than 20% of those eligible for or possibly benefitting from PrEP take the medication.
  • Finally, House Bill 5549 provides that the African American HIV/AIDS Response Fund creates and maintains at least one Black-led Center of Excellence HIV Biomedical Resource Hub for every $3,000,000 of available funding. According to the CDC, 46% of people living with HIV/AIDS in Illinois are Black or African American, a disproportionally high rate. However, only 8% of PrEP prescriptions written nationally each year are for Black or African American individuals.


Around the State



Lightfoot announces expansion of narcotics arrest diversion program

Late last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot ’s administration announced the expansion of eligibility for the Narcotics Arrest Diversion Program. The initiative – which diverts individuals who are arrested for the possession of controlled substances into substance use treatment in lieu of felony charge – will now expand to individuals who have not been arrested in Chicago for a violent crime within the past ten years and were in possession of two grams or less of any controlled substance.

Additional narcotics also now qualify for this diversion initiative, including fentanyl, morphine, ketamine, and methamphetamine.

The original program criteria for participants were limited to those arrested in possession of one gram or less of only heroin or cocaine and who had no prior violent arrest history.  The full program policy can be found on  the Chicago Police Department ’s website.


More from City Hall



Beltway Briefing: Is there a way to unite America?

On Wednesday, the Democratic-controlled House passed a broad set of gun-control measures, largely along party lines. The bill, called the Protecting Our Kids Act and intended to reduce gun violence, would raise the age for purchasing semiautomatic rifles and shotguns to 21 from 18. On Thursday, after nearly a year of investigation and more than 1,000 interviews, the House Jan. 6, 2021 committee held its first prime-time public hearing  on the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the events leading up to it. Meanwhile, U.S. consumer inflation hit 8.6% in May – its highest level in more than four decades, as surging energy and food costs pushed prices higher, with little indication of when the upward trend could ease.

Public Strategies ’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Towner French discuss the proposed legislation and key takeaways from the hearing, and ponder how the burden of inflation on the Biden Administration, along with the President ’s falling approval ratings and Americans ’ pessimism about the economy and the nation ’s political system, may spell trouble for Democrats in the midterm elections later this fall.

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