Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (5/23)

May 23, 2022

Public Health

  • Chicago Won ’t Reimpose Mask Mandate Until Hospitals Are Threatened: Chicago ’s Top Doc: “Even if federal health officials warn residents of Cook County that they face a ‘high ’ risk of contracting COVID-19 in the coming days, Chicago officials will not immediately reimpose a requirement that everyone wear a mask indoors, Chicago ’s top doctor said Tuesday. ” From WTTW.



Pritzker signs law banning housing discrimination based on source of income

Gov. JB Pritzker today signed legislation House Bill 2775 into law, banning discrimination in housing selection based on source of income, including non-employment income such as Section 8 vouchers or disability payments.

More information on the new law is here. 

Pritzker signs property tax reform bill intended to ease burden on seniors, veterans, people with disabilities

On Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker signed Senate Bill 1975 into law, hoping to streamline property tax relief for seniors, veterans, and persons with disabilities.

SB 1975 increases the general homestead exemption and senior citizens homestead exemption, reduces interest rates on tax deferrals for seniors, and allows for automatic renewal of the homestead exemption for qualified people with disabilities in Cook County. The legislation includes the following provisions:

  • General Homestead Exemption: SB 1975 increases general homestead exemption to the Collar Counties. Under the bill, for taxable years 2023 and thereafter, the maximum reduction is $10,000 in counties with 3,000,000 or more inhabitants, $8,000 in counties that are contiguous to a county of 3,000,000 or more inhabitants, and $6,000 in all other counties.
  • Senior Homestead Exemption Maximum: SB 1975 increases senior homestead exemption to the Collar Counties. For taxable years 2023 and thereafter, the maximum reduction is $8,000 in counties with 3,000,000 or more inhabitants and counties that are contiguous to a county of 3,000,000 or more inhabitants and $5,000 in all other counties.
  • Senior Citizens Real Estate Tax Deferral Act: SB 1975 decreases the interest rate under the Senior Citizens Real Estate Tax Deferral Act. If the taxes deferred are for a tax year prior to 2023, then interest will accrue at the rate of 6% per year. If the taxes deferred are for the 2023 tax year or any tax year thereafter, then interest will accrue at the rate of 3% per year.
  • Persons with Disabilities Homestead Exemption: For taxable years 2022 through 2027, in any county of more than 3,000,000 residents, and in “any other county where the county board has authorized such action by ordinance or resolution, ” SB 1975 allows chief county assessment officers to automatically renew the homestead exemption for certain individuals with disabilities. Assessment officers cannot automatically renew an exemption if: the physician, advanced practice registered nurse, optometrist, or physician assistant who examined the claimant determined that the disability is not expected to continue for 12 months or more; the exemption has been deemed erroneous since the last application; or the claimant has reported their ineligibility to receive the exemption.
  • Low-Income Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption: SB 1975 amends the process by which senior citizens prove eligibility for the Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption, which provides seniors with limited income protection against real estate tax increases due to increasing property values. Specifically, SB 1975 allows enrollment in programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to serve as an alternative to income valuation when determining eligibility.
  • Veterans Property Tax Study: SB 1975 directs the Department of Revenue to conduct a study of the impact of the homestead exemption for veterans with disabilities on the property tax base for St. Clair County, Lake County, Will County, Madison County, Rock Island County, and DuPage County. The study must be completed no later than June 30, 2023. A report of the Department’s findings must be submitted to the Governor and the General Assembly as soon as possible after the study is complete.

The bill took effect immediately. More information is here.


Around the State



City Council committee votes 27-3 to advance Chicago casino ordinance, host community agreement

After declining to vote on Friday, the City Council ’s special casino committee voted 27-3 to approve Mayor Lori Lightfoot ’s casino authorization ordinance ( SO2022-1316) and a resolution affirming a  “host community agreement ” set to be inked between the city and the city ’s choice operator, Bally ’s.

The package now heads to the full City Council for final approval on Wednesday.

The casino is expected to be a long-term boon for city coffers: officials estimate a fully operational venue will bring in $200 million a year in tax revenue, funding which is earmarked for Chicago ’s beleaguered police and fire pensions.


More from City Hall



Beltway Briefing: All eyes on Pennsylvania

The 2022 midterm elections are set to be historic, and Tuesday was the most dramatic night of the primary election season to date. Voters in five states, including Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Idaho, Kentucky, and Oregon, cast ballots for Senate, governor, and House. Some of the highest-profile battles were fought in Pennsylvania, where the night ’s marquee contest — the GOP Senate primary — has yet to be decided.

Members of Public Strategies ’ Pennsylvania team – including Jim Davis, Joe Hill, and Kevin Kerr – join Howard Schweitzer and Mark Alderman to discuss the key takeaways from the primary election in the commonwealth, which in many ways encapsulates America’s choice in the 2022 midterms.

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