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Executive Order 2021-31

(COVID-19 EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 95)

November 22, 2021

WHEREAS, since early March 2020, Illinois has faced a pandemic that has caused extraordinary sickness and loss of life, infecting over 1.7 million and taking the lives of more than 26,000 residents; and,

WHEREAS, as Illinois continues to respond to the public health disaster caused by Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), a novel severe acute respiratory illness that spreads rapidly through respiratory transmissions, the burden on residents, healthcare providers, first responders, and governments throughout the State has been unprecedented; and,

WHEREAS, protecting the health and safety of Illinoisans is among the most important functions of State government; and,

WHEREAS, the Delta variant of the coronavirus is more aggressive and more transmissible than previously circulating strains, and poses new risks in the ongoing effort to stop and slow spread of the virus; and,

WHEREAS, the Delta variant may cause more severe disease than prior strains of the virus; and,

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the Delta variant now accounts for more than 99 percent of all sequenced coronavirus in the U.S.; and,

WHEREAS, as COVID-19 has spread in Illinois over the course of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations, the circumstances causing a disaster throughout the State have changed and continue to change, making definitive predictions of the course the virus will take over the coming months extremely difficult; and,

WHEREAS, in addition to causing the tragic loss of more than 26,000 Illinoisans and negatively impacting the physical health of tens of thousands more, COVID-19 has caused extensive economic loss and continues to threaten the financial welfare of a significant number of individuals and businesses across the nation and the State; and,

WHEREAS, the CDC reports that having mood disorders, including depression, increases the likelihood of severe illness from COVID-19; and,

WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic—including its strain on the health care system, economy, and education system—has negatively affected many people’s mental health, with more adults in the United States having reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder than in recent years and with younger adults, racial and ethnic minorities, women, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation; and,

WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to a critical shortage of mental health professionals in Illinois, including professional counselors, social workers, and psychologists, which has particularly impacted Illinoisans living in rural areas as well as those who are low-income earners and underinsured; and,

WHEREAS, many executive agencies in the State continue to focus their limited resources on the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and,

WHEREAS, I find it necessary to take measures to retain and attempt to increase the current availability of mental health providers for the preservation of public mental health and safety throughout the entire State of Illinois, to ensure that our healthcare delivery system, which includes mental health care, is capable of serving those who need treatment; and,

WHEREAS, previously licensed mental health professionals with inactive or expired licenses of five years or less, whose licenses were not previously revoked, suspended, or otherwise encumbered, are capable of practicing safely and with reasonable judgment and skill; and,

WHEREAS, on November 12, 2021, considering the expected continuing spread of COVID-19 and the ongoing health and economic impacts that that will be felt over the coming month by people across the State, I declared all counties in the State of Illinois as a disaster area; and,

THEREFORE, by the powers vested in me as the Governor of the State of Illinois, pursuant to the Illinois Constitution and Sections 7(1), 7(2), 7(3), 7(8), 7(9), and 7(12) of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, 20 ILCS 3305, and consistent with the powers in public health laws, I hereby order the following, effective immediately:

Section 1: Professional Counselors and Clinical Professional Counselors

During the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, the following requirements for restoration of an inactive or expired license of five years or less set forth in Sections 50(b), (c), and (f) of the Professional Counselor and Clinical Professional Counselor Licensing and Practice Act, 225 ILCS 107, are suspended: proof of meeting continuing education, certification of active practice in another jurisdiction, and the payment of a fee.

Section 2: Social Workers and Clinical Social Workers

During the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, the following requirements for restoration of an inactive or expired license of five years or less set forth in Sections 11(b) and (b-5) of the Clinical Social Work and Social Work Practice Act, 225 ILCS 20, are suspended: proof of fitness, certification of active practice in another jurisdiction, and the payment of a fee.

Section 3: Clinical Psychologists

During the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, the following requirements for restoration of an inactive or expired license of less than five years set forth in Section 13 of the Clinical Psychologist Licensing Act, 225 ILCS 15, are suspended: proof of fitness, certification of active practice in another jurisdiction, and the payment of a fee.

Section 4: Implementation

The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation may provide additional guidance and implement rules or variances consistent with the terms of this Executive Order.

Section 5: Savings Clause

Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to contravene any State or federal law.

Section 6: Severability

If any provision of this Executive Order or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, this invalidity does not affect any other provision or application of this Executive Order which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application. To achieve this purpose, the provisions of this Executive Order are declared to be severable.

Section 7: Effective Date

This Executive Order shall take effect immediately upon its filing with the Secretary of State and shall remain in effect until terminated or modified.

                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                JB Pritzker, Governor

Issued by the Governor November 22, 2021

Filed by the Secretary of State November 22, 2021

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