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Bills that didn’t make the cut

Thursday, Jun 1, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Capitol News Illinois

A proposed cannabis reform bill won’t get further consideration until at least the General Assembly’s fall veto session after stakeholders failed to come to an agreement during the spring session’s final stretch.

Rep. La Shawn Ford, a Chicago Democrat and the bill’s sponsor, told Capitol News Illinois last week that Senate Bill 1559 didn’t pass in part due to disagreements around delta-8 THC, a synthetic psychoactive substance typically manufactured from hemp-derived CBD. […]

But advocates for the cannabis industry are pushing for a full ban. Ford said he refused to rewrite the bill to include a ban “without any serious dialogue from the public and from the state regulators.”

Delta-8, found in small traces of hemp and cannabis plants, is an easily accessible substance that can be purchased in licensed dispensaries but also in convenience stores that otherwise are prohibited from selling cannabis. Unlike the more well-known form of THC, delta-8 is often derived from CBD and causes a much milder high. But concerns over the substance’s safety have arisen across the country because it remains unregulated, and consumers of delta-8 have gotten sick after consumption. […]

The measure as drafted would address multiple areas of the state’s burgeoning cannabis industry, including reforms for craft growers, dispensary operations and licensing procedures. The stalled bill did not include any language on delta-8.

Among other things, the bill would have increased canopy space for craft growers from 5,000 square feet to 14,000 square feet. That measure, Ford said, could help those businesses grow to be more competitive in the industry.

* Crain’s

Hopes for wide-ranging legislation that would fix a bunch of nagging issues in the marijuana industry fizzled at the last minute.

Instead, the General Assembly made just a few changes.

    • Social-equity applicants who won licenses for new retail shops got another year to find locations for their stores. They were at risk of losing those licenses starting in July if they hadn’t come up with locations.

    • The state also will have another $40 million to lend to new license holders to help them get started in a business where capital has dried up quickly.

    • Marijuana companies will be able to deduct typical business expenses from their state income taxes, something they can’t do on federal taxes because cannabis is illegal under federal law. Tax issues are a huge burden for an industry that’s struggling to become profitable.

But some other big changes that were expected as part of a broader weed bill that had been under discussion for months went up in smoke at the very end of the session.

Among them:

    • A provision that would have helped so-called craft marijuana growers to have 14,000 feet of grow space from the outset, rather than 5,000 square feet.

    • Drive-through and curbside service at dispensaries.

    • The ability for retail license winners to raise money from investors, albeit with restrictions, to get their stores off the ground.


“The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is disappointed that the legislature didn’t pass legislation this general assembly that would have created paid medical and family leave, which would have helped reduce the cancer burden on Illinoisans.

“Cancer treatment is time-consuming–often requiring time off from work for doctor’s visits, surgery and recovery, chemotherapy and radiation. The flexibility to balance cancer treatment and employment is essential.

“A comprehensive paid medical and family leave bill that provides family leave insurance benefits to eligible employees in Illinois would help reduce the burden of cancer in our state. The legislation would have allowed those impacted by cancer to take time off work to attend to their own or a loved one’s care without losing their job or income.

“ACS CAN looks forward to hopefully working with the General Assembly during the veto session this fall to pass this important legislation and seeing Gov. Pritzker sign it into law.”

* The Telegraph

The senators also discussed utility bills. [Sen. Erica Harriss, R-Glen Carbon] said some people in her district have seen bills go up by 90%. She co-sponsored a bill that would have allocated money in the budget to help people pay those bills, but the bill did not pass and the money was not released.

“We’re seeing a massive increase in bills and a decrease in the reliability of the energy grid,” said Plummer whose comment was met by laughter. Minutes before Tuesday night’s meeting, a power failure struck the Edwardsville Gun Club where it was held. Power was restored at 7:27 p.m., about an hour into the event.


An Illinois House Democrat has been trying to phase out the sub-minimum wages for workers with developmental and intellectual disabilities since 2019. State representatives had the opportunity to pass a bill tackling this issue Friday, but the Dignity in Pay Act failed to gain enough support after an intense debate.

Disabled workers have been paid much less than the state’s minimum wage for many years, and some lawmakers stress it is past time to eliminate the sub-minimum wage.

Rep. Theresa Mah (D-Chicago) said Friday that the state should empower people with disabilities to maximize their employment and self-sufficiency. Mah and many other lawmakers believe it is wrong that some people are paid as low as 50 cents per hour and make only $100 per month. […]

The Dignity in Pay Act could create a multi-year plan to eliminate the use of 14 C certificates on July 1, 2027. The Illinois Employment and Economic Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities Task Force would be responsible for recommending future state policies, benchmarks, and funding levels to meet this goal. […]

“A lot of businesses don’t want somebody that only has an attention span of two to four hours that can work,” said Rep. Charlie Meier (R-Okawville). “They want somebody that’s able to work eight hours. So, you now have a person who you made unemployed and they don’t have that check.”

* Scott Holland

Speaking of roads, consider House Bill 2910, which advanced out of committee (Transportation: Regulations, Roads & Bridges) on a 16-0 vote before failing 6-97-1 on March 23 in the full chamber. State Rep. Jawaharial Williams, D-Chicago, filed the bill in February hoping to amend the Illinois Vehicle Code to make it illegal to hold an animal while driving. The penalty would be a $50 fine.

Two Democratic suburban lawmakers signed on as co-sponsors: state Reps. Joyce Mason, Gurnee, and Suzanne Ness, Crystal Lake, and although the measure failed, the logic is sound: there are several distracted driving laws on the books and none explicitly mentions pets. The debate on cellphone use behind the wheel is settled, statutorily, but no one has explained why skipping to the next song on your playlist is inherently more dangerous than the Pomeranian between you and the steering wheel (to say nothing of smoking, eating, applying makeup or trying to keep the baby in the backseat from screaming). […]

Then there’s House Bill 1110, another Vehicle Code amendment. Also introduced by a Chicago Democrat, state Rep. Kam Buckner, this one has more sponsors, including House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, R-Savanna. The law would define “digitized driver’s license” and allow the presentation of such to law enforcement. It also caps the fee for any app required to display such a license at $6. The plan has been in the rules committee since March 27.

I access vehicle insurance cards through the carrier’s app and make sure my wife and oldest son have current copies on their phones. I probably wouldn’t pay $6 for a state app because I carry a wallet, but the teen drivers in my house would prefer fewer things in their pockets to potentially lose. There are extended questions, such as whether the digital license would work for proof of age or residency, but this is an idea whose time seemingly will come.


  1. - NotRich - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 10:14 am:

    The House marijuana working group was dysfunctional at best.. members got zero leadership or direction .. The only bright spot was the House Staff attorney..

  2. - twowaystreet - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 10:24 am:

    On the electronic license, I think it makes sense. However, I have had issues with the electronic insurance cards.

    I was pulled over a few weeks ago and Progressive was completely offline. I couldn’t access the app at all even though I was supposed to be able to access my insurance card without internet connection.

    I called my wife and she couldn’t get the insurance card to pull up on a laptop either. Progressive said our only option was to call them because of technology issues. I spent half an hour just sitting there with the officer before they finally gave up and sent me on my way.

    I’m not sure they would have done the same if we were dealing with a licenses not being accessible.

  3. - STP - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 10:39 am:

    == The House marijuana working group was dysfunctional at best ==

    Amen. Almost like it was designed to fail…which conveniently allows the Delta 8 scam to continue unregulated. Go figure.

  4. - Huh? - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 10:40 am:

    Regarding the electronic licenses, on the age of all things digital, there are times that analog beats digital. Hard copy licenses ought to be one of those times.

    The other thing is that an electronic license isn’t universally accepted. Pushing the google key, only 7 states allow it.

  5. - big fail - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 10:59 am:

    === Ford said he refused to rewrite the bill to include a ban “without any serious dialogue from the public and from the state regulators.” ===

    Ford did a good job protecting his buddies in the unregulated market and sacrificed the social equity licensees and craft growers. Everyone in the cannabis industry and the regulators agree the unregulated and untested market is a horrible idea.

    These are highly intoxicating vapes and edibles that aren’t tested or regulated. Consumers have no idea what’s in them. Shops will continue to sell these dangerous products to kids and more people will get hurt.

    Way to go, Ford. Way to go.

  6. - a warning to all - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 11:01 am:

    Delta 8 is all of the worst parts of toking with none of the good parts. I can’t believe it’s legal to sell in gas stations. I recommend to everyone you avoid it at all costs. Unless you love having anxiety attacks in which case run to your nearest gas station and buy away.

  7. - Trap - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 11:05 am:

    Blackouts, brownouts and 90 percent electric bill increases. Thank you CEJA and Illinois Democrats.

  8. - JB13 - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 11:12 am:

    Anyone want to entrust the outcome of an encounter with a police officer on the side of the road to the continued functionality and stability of an app operated and maintained by the state of Illinois?

  9. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 11:23 am:

    ==Blackouts, brownouts and 90 percent electric bill increases. Thank you CEJA and Illinois Democrats.==

    Great talking points, but I’d like to see some citations on these claims. It seems unlikely that a bill passed less than two years ago is having these effects already. I’d like to see evidence of the connections and cause-effect relationships.

  10. - P. - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 11:27 am:

    Terrible timing in regard to the weed bills. The larger industry is collapsing and the “best weed law ever written tm” was perfect for the established white-owned fat cats to make bank before it started to fall apart. Anyone who is finally getting in the door, the value of their asset is tanking and their investments were for naught.

  11. - Perrid - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 11:47 am:

    “They don’t have that check” - the check for $.50 an hour? So that’s a meal a week, at best, especially if they’re not full time like he implies. If there’s work to be done it should be paid for at the minimum wage.

  12. - Flyin'Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 12:04 pm:

    “Blackouts, brownouts”

    Heard the same claptrap last year. Southern Illinois Electric Co-op didn’t drop the ball once.

    But hey, you do your right-wing paranoia like only your lot can.

  13. - Enrgypolicy101 - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 12:22 pm:

    Great strategy you had there, Trap. Blame the people in charge of the appropriation. Clueless. Heard of natural gas prices

  14. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 12:42 pm:

    ===Blackouts, brownouts===

    And where might those be?

  15. - Matty - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 12:44 pm:

    -Delta 8 is all of the worst parts of toking with none of the good parts. I can’t believe it’s legal to sell in gas stations. I recommend to everyone you avoid it at all costs. Unless you love having anxiety attacks in which case run to your nearest gas station and buy away.-

    I’ve never had an experience like that with either Delta 8 or Delta 9. For me, I like having those on hand while at an event and the pre-game toke is wearing off. They combine quite nicely with old fashioned flower.

  16. - very old soil - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 12:45 pm:

    Trap, who is your provider? My bills have never been lower and had about an hour without power in the last year.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 12:49 pm:

    The plural too… blackouts, brownouts…

    You’d think with the multiple it’d be big news…

    What has been the worst part of fake news and angry negative narratives is this idea that spouting ridiculous “facts”, then making them plural, the only way I see policy discussions to an honest compromise is… agreeing to the actual facts first.

    So … these type of alternative facts or blatant untruths make serious discussions to policy impossible… because chasing the untruths derails, because mouth-breathing partisan to own someone is more important.

    Wanna talk policy and bills to CEJA, then let’s begin with basic facts.

  18. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 12:51 pm:

    ===You’d think with the multiple it’d be big news===

    Last year, Darren Bailey swore up and down that there had been a brownout in his district. Wasn’t true then and it’s not true now.

  19. - Just a Citizen - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 12:51 pm:

    Sorry to see the subminimum wage increase for intellectual and developmental workers failed. If these folks can do a job, then they should be paid minimum wage.

  20. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 3:44 pm:

    ==and 90 percent electric bill increases==

    Someone came to my house trying to sell solar panels and they used that exact same phrase. I haven’t noticed a real change to my electric bill and certainly not anywhere close to a 90% change.

  21. - flea - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 3:46 pm:

    The Representative just did a big diservice to all the social equity interests who are trying to get up to speed.

  22. - Shibboleth - Thursday, Jun 1, 23 @ 5:35 pm:

    Rep. Cassidy’s human composting bill also died in assignments in the Senate. Incredibly, incredibly disappointing. Wonder how much influence the religious lobby had in killing the bill.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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