Last week your Chamber was represented in Springfield, hosting a few other chambers as well. This is the 11th annual trip and the purpose was to discuss matters of interest to businesses, small and large with those that create the laws, our elected officials. We were thrilled to have the following Chamber630 Members join us, taking a day away from their business to serve as the voice of business: Katie Bulgrin, Culvers; Scott Rausch, Caliber Home Loans, Wallace Long, Continuing Education Productions; John Harvey, Shell; LINC Co-Chair, Elizabeth Van Holt, Isaiah Consulting and National Association of Manufacturers; John Quinn, AT&T and Mike Nulicek of Edward Jones. Additionally, sponsored included Choose DuPage, AT&T, Midwestern University, Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation, Continuing Education Productions and Allegra Marketing, Print, Mail. Thank you!

AT&T sponsored a luncheon at which we were briefed on current State issues provided by Todd Maisch, President and CEO of the Illinois State Chamber along with lobbyist Elizabeth Van Holt of the National Association of Manufacturers. Thank you! All of issues discussed will likely affect your business in some way, please see below. Please understand that these are opinions of the speakers.

We visited both the House and the Senate where Senator Kyle McCarter introduced us; this friend of Chamber630 is soon to be Ambassador to Kenya. An informative meeting with Minority Senate Leader Bill Brady identified term limits to be the Republican Senate priority. Various briefings with Representative David Olsen, Senator Michael Connelly, Senator John Curran and others proved to displayed how fortunate we are to have these the locally elected officials in Springfield. Thank you!

Briefing Discussion Topics:

  • There is discussion about a drug free workplace with consideration of the assumption that marijuana will be legalized. Individual communities will probably be able to opt out of marijuana legalization – not sure how this will work, perhaps similar to video gaming?
  • I-55 single lane toll road (fast lane) probably is not going to happen but expect I-80 toll road to be approved.
  • There is a proposal being floated around about a 5-cent charge for plastic bags. There is similar legislation already in Chicago for 7 cents a bag. The discussion right now is that 2-3 cents per bag will go back to the collecting municipality.
  • Bill 4081 regarding Call Centers: The State Treasurer is mandating that it be notified within 120 days of call center plans to relocate to another state or overseas. If in violation, fines up to $10,000 for civil penalty will be enacted. It should be noted that the cost for administration of this bill is $300,000 with $240,000 going to salaries and benefits and $60,000 for travel and equipment. Another unfunded mandate that increases expenses. Status: Referred to Assignments
  • Bill 5046 Fair Scheduling Act requires employers to provide work schedules to employees at least 72 hours before the start of the first shift of the work schedule. Additionally, it provides for reporting pay when an employee’s work shift is canceled or reduced within 72 of the beginning of the shift. Prohibits retaliation by employers when employees seek to enforce rights under the Act. Authorizes private actions for damages. Provides for administration and enforcement by the Department of Labor. Provides for monetary penalties. Amends the State Finance Act to create the Fair Scheduling Act Enforcement Fund, a special fund in the State treasury. Sets forth the uses of moneys in the Fund. Chamber630 and the Illinois Chamber is strongly opposing this bill. Status: Rules Committee
  • Bill 5247 Apprenticeship program: the State Board of Education shall adopt rules as may be necessary to allow students of any high school in this State who are 16 years of age or older to participate in registered apprenticeship programs; defines “registered apprenticeship program and that local school boards cannot overturn.” This last sentence is important, as in the past, local school boards could vote against offering these programs. If this bill is enacted, all school districts will have to offer these classes. Further this bill recommends allowing adjunct teachers to teach vocational professions. In the past, school boards have overturned this due to liability issues. Another frustration/concern is the Obama passed ESSA (Every Student Success Act), an updated version of No Student Left Behind which directs students to college vs. trades. Status: Approved for consideration, second reading May 2 (with no update at time of this writing).
  • Bill HB5133/SB2501- Tax Credit Amends the Illinois Income Tax Act. Creates an income tax credit for qualified education expenses incurred by employers on behalf of qualifying apprentices. This would allow businesses, a tax credit if their employees have classes of qualifying apprentices. Status: Re-referred to Rules.
  • Right to Know is a priority for IL Chamber: put forth by trial attorneys who specialize in compliance. They will site one item (i.e., of a 100-page policy doc) or an item that no business realistically is able to comply and litigate. Illinois Chamber President Todd Maisch warned that any business with a Facebook or Google page should watch out for this bill. He anticipates that this law if passed, will state that every business must post a designated policy on their website and social media sites – and follow that policy, which of course is near impossible and unrealistic; but if not followed, could create fines of thousands of dollars. The Illinois Chamber and the rest of the chambers are vigorously opposing these bills.
  • Transportation: Many are trying to prevent a capitol bill from being approved, in an effort not provide Governor Rauner a win prior to the November elections. Organized labor however, needs work, so the legislature may ‘find’ funds. Good news for all.
  • Expect a gaming expansion including sports betting.
  • DuPage Mayors and Managers’ legislative priorities include a pension shift. The pension shift is an idea that all municipal pensions will become one (i.e., IMRF). This is not an equitable solution for municipalities with various liabilities; nor will it create revenue to pay off the liability.