By Tony Abboud, Strategic Government Solutions Inc.
Legislative Session Nearing Spring Break. The first active month of the Illinois legislature saw thousands of bills filed. Of those, NAELA is tracking more than 600 bills which either amend the various acts about which our membership is concerned or would create new acts impacting our areas of practice. Since there is no shortage of bills, the Legislative Committee has been meeting on a weekly basis to review bills, identify positions and priorities, and discuss strategies. In addition to the weekly meetings, Legislative Committee members have been participating in stakeholder calls with the various interested groups and have spent considerable time commenting on proposed legislation or drafting amendments that would improve the bills proposed. After this week, the General Assembly takes a two week break and will resume activities after the upcoming primary election.
Enhancing and Protecting ABLE Accounts. Illinois NAELA played a significant role in drafting the Illinois ABLE Act. This year, NAELA is working with Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs to both enhance and protect assets in ABLE accounts. Thanks to Sen. Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) and Rep. Kelly Burke (D-Oak Lawn) for sponsoring SB2660 and HB4754 which will clarify Illinois law to expressly permit the irrevocable assignment of additional resources into ABLE accounts and discretionary trusts. In addition, the bill would protect private assets that have been deposited into ABLE accounts by prohibiting state agencies from making a claim on these assets upon the death of a designated beneficiary.
Presumptively Void Transfers Update. As we last reported, NAELA has been working with stakeholders interested in protecting bona fide purchases of real estate insulated from disputes under the Presumptively Void Transfers Article of the Probate Act (755 ILCS 5/4a-5, et seq.). NAELA has worked collaboratively with the Illinois Land Title Insurers Association, the Illinois Bankers Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and the Illinois Credit Union League, amongst numerous other stakeholders representing the interests of the senior and aging communities. That work has resulted in HB5047 being introduced by Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch (D-Westchester). Rep. Welch was the champion that led the effort to protect the most vulnerable in our society from being taken advantage of by unscrupulous caregivers. The negotiated bill protects the important caregiver legislation that we passed with Rep. Welch in 2016.
Casey Kasem Visitation Law. This bill would create the Frail Individual Family Visitation Protection Act, aka the Casey Kasem Visitation Law. It would define a "frail individual" and permit family members of a frail individual to petition the court for visitation. NAELA opposed the original version of the bill as it lacked important limiting provisions. Amendments are being drafted that would exclude guardianships and POAs. The bill passed out of the House Judiciary Committee with the understanding that an amended bill addressing the problems would go back to the committee for consideration.
Advanced Directives Registry. SB2296 was introduced by Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) to create in Illinois an electronic advanced directives registry within the Illinois Department of Public Health into which residents could submit specified advance directive forms. The registry would have been made available only to hospitals licensed under the Hospital Licensing Act or organized under the University of Illinois Hospital Act. The bill was drafted by the Health Law Section Council of the ISBA. While NAELA agreed with the concept of a registry, NAELA identified and raised a number of concerns about the bill’s lack of definitions, guidelines and penalties, among others. NAELA participated in stakeholder meetings with ISBA, the Illinois Hospital Association, Illinois State Medical Society, Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Palliative Care Society. Based on the concerns raised by NAELA and others, dialogue will continue on what an advanced directives registry should look like in Illinois.
For more information on these bills and many others that NAELA’s Legislative Committee is tracking, click here and you can review the full bill report.