The Chamber’s biggest legislative proposal of the 99th General Assembly is one step away from becoming the law of the land.
Chamber initiative HJRCA 36 (Phelps/Haine) amends the Revenue Article of the Illinois Constitution to protect monies collected for transportation infrastructure, and ensure that those dollars are spent on future road, rail and bridge projects.
If approved by the voters, this resolution would prevent more than $6.4 million that has been swept away from the state’s Road Fund since 2003.
The resolution passed the Senate unanimously late Thursday and received bi-partisan support from both sides of the aisles. It also passed overwhelmingly in the House earlier. Out of the 91 constitutional amendments that were introduced this General Assembly, HJRCA 36 was the only resolution that was successfully ratified by both chambers.
A separate resolution will be introduced in the coming weeks that will provide written language for the proposal to be submitted to the voters in the upcoming November general election.
The Illinois Chamber will spend the next six months explaining to local Chambers, business owners, laborers and taxpayers that the amendment will honor the promise that infrastructure projects will be sole beneficiary of the Road Fund.
GRADUATED INCOME TAX DEFEATED
The Chamber is also proud to announce that legislators left town this week without taking action on any tax increases. The proposal failed to advance after Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch testified about how the graduated income tax would have hurt small businesses.
While many opposed the tax increases, Maisch was one of less than a handful of opponents who appeared before lawmakers to stand up for small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in committee.
The Illinois Constitution requires constitutional amendments to be ratified six months prior to the November General Election, leaving Monday, May 9th as the deadline.
Most notably, HJRCA 59 (C. Mitchell) and SJRCA 1 (Harmon) which would have replaced Illinois’ current flat tax system with a graduated income tax system. This so-called “fair tax” would have resulted in a stifling of small business growth and more high earners leaving Illinois.
While the House and Senate both killed each other’s redistricting proposals, there is good news to report on redistricting this week.
The State Board of Elections accepted a truckload of signed petitions from the Chamber-endorsed Independent Map Amendment that contained nearly double the minimum required amount of signatures needed for a citizen-led ballot initiative to appear before the voters in the November election. If approved by the voters in the November election, the Amendment would create an 11-member commission representing the demographic and geographic diversity of the state to draw the legislative districts.
For more information on the group or to donate to its cause, click on the Independent Map Amendment website here!
The Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board met earlier this week to review petitions requesting the addition of debilitating conditions in which patients may qualify for the pilot program.
Debilitating conditions presented at Monday’s hearing included chronic paid syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome, Type 1 diabetes, and panic disorder.
The Chamber opposes the expansion of the medical cannabis program and will continue to monitor these hearings. A decision is expected by Gov. Rauner by July.
FORCED UNION REP. ON ECON DEVELOPMENT BOARDS
The Chamber held a conference call this week with the state’s local chambers to discuss two pieces of legislation that may directly impact local economic development councils.
SB 2531 (Lightford/Welch) and SB 2600 (Delgado/Welch), together, provide that almost any economic development corporation that receives public money must have at least 2 members from a labor council serve on its Board/Commission. Such members shall be full members with all rights and privileges and need not pay any membership fees or dues for such membership.
Both bills are currently being held in House Rules Committee. However, may be assigned to a committee any time next week.
Those interested in being added to the distribution list for these two bills are encouraged to reach out to Staci Wilson.
SUBJECT MATTER HEARINGS
There are plenty of subject matter hearings that are scheduled for next week. Subject matter hearings are conducted similarly to regular committee hearings, except no official votes are taken.
On Wednesday night, the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee conducted a subject matter hearing on the proposed Illinois Business and Economic Development Corporation. The Chamber is supportive of this overall concept.
Members of the committee conducted a Q&A with Assistant DCEO Director Andria Winters and former DCEO Director Jim Schultz. At request of the Chamber, Senator Holmes has agreed to conduct another subject matter hearing next Thursday, May 12 to discuss a more broad based discussion of economic development in Illinois. The Chamber will testify next week on the committee behalf.
The House Revenue committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday May 11. At that time, the committee is scheduled to hold a subject matter hearing on the Governor’s Executive Order 2016-06 which would establish a centralized administrative hearings pilot project at the Department of Central Management Services. The committee is also scheduled to hold a subject matter hearing on the Governor’s procurement proposal, HB 4644.
The House Revenue committee is also scheduled to meet on Thursday May 12. The committee is scheduled to hold a subject matter hearing on the Internet Lottery Program.
Lastly, the House Appropriations-Human Services Committee is scheduled to conduct a subject matter hearing on HB 5750 (G. Harris). HB 5750 would impose a one-percent assessment (tax) on the cost of all claims paid for health and medical services provided by a health insurance carrier or third-party administrator. Moneys received and collected will go into the Healthcare Provider Relief Fund for purpose of funding Medicaid services.
While the Illinois Chamber agrees that adequately funding Medicaid to meet the health needs of our state’s most vulnerable citizens is a laudable goal, we cannot support a proposal which directly increases health insurance costs for Illinois businesses and individuals. Such an increase on Illinois businesses and their employees will make providing health insurance coverage by Illinois employers that much more expensive and difficult to maintain.
OTHER BILLS OF INTEREST
HB 1260 (Williams/Biss) was signed by the Governor this afternoon. This bill updates Illinois’ data breach notice law. It adds new data elements, such as user names and passwords, which will be considered a breach. By adding these new data elements, we strengthen consumer notification for purposes of breaches which create risks to individuals if their information is obtained by unauthorized persons. In addition, the bill requires data collectors to implement and maintain reasonable security measures. This bill as signed by the governor incorporates the Chamber’s suggested language from the Amendatory Veto placed on SB 1833. This public act will become law January 1, 2017.
HB 2939 (Rita) Authorizes the Illinois Gaming Board to conduct gambling operations on a riverboat or in a casino, through a licensed manager, within the City of Chicago. The Chamber opposes.
HB 3564 (Rita) Amends the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975 and the Riverboat Gambling Act to authorize electronic gaming at race tracks. The Chamber opposes.
HB 4036 (Lilly/Hutchinson) would require all employers to provide a total of 12 workweeks of leave for during any 12-month period. This bill is now in the Senate with Sen. Hutchinson as the Senate sponsor. The Chamber remains opposed to the legislation, however met with the Senate sponsor this week to submit suggested language. The bill is scheduled for a hearing on May 11 at 2 p.m. in the Senate Executive Committee.
HB 4323 (Zalewski) Creates the Fantasy Sports Contest Act to provide regulation of companies providing access to paid fantasy sports contests and protect Illinois consumers who play paid fantasy sports contests for prizes from unfair acts and practices that may arise in the gaming process. The Chamber opposes.
HB 4501 (Yingling/T. Cullerton) This legislation would extend the DuPage ACT initiative to all counties in the state. This bill would allow for county government to dissolve units of local government in which the county board chairman appoints the members. As a member of the Transform Illinois Coalition, the Chamber slipped in support of this measure. It is scheduled for a hearing in Senate Local Government on Wednesday, May 11 at 9:00AM.
The Chamber is soliciting feedback on HB 6562 (G.Harris), which is an initiative of the IL State Medical Society. The bill creates the “Network Adequacy and Transparency Act” which establishes detailed requirements for network plans to be approved by the Department of Insurance, prior to going to market. These requirements include network provider to beneficiary ratios; maximum time and travel ratios; and termination notice provisions. Other issues in the bill include provisions on continuity of care with regards to persons with serious health conditions and network provider directory guidelines.
SR 1224 (Forby) Calls upon elected officials in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership and any similar trade deals if they fail to restructure the misguided and failed policies of the past. The Chamber is opposed to this resolution.
Senate Floor Amendment No. 2 to SB 345 (Harmon) passed out of the Senate Insurance Committee this week. The amendment dramatically expands coverage of autism procedures beyond the traditional scope of medical practices. The Chamber opposes the amendment. Senator Harmon indicated that he will meet with opponents and will be filing another amendment to be brought back to committee.
SB 517 establishes a new Targeted Tax Credit Act. This new Act is similar to the existing EDGE credit and would establish an EDGE-like credit for border counties with unemployment rates in excess of the state average, as well as census tracts with unemployment rates in excess of the state average.
Senate Committee Amendment No. 2 to SB 1585 (Trotter)
introduces a series of provisions in an effort to keep the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear facilities online. It also provides for increasing energy efficiency programs, new funding for solar development, and micro-grid expansion. The Illinois Chamber is monitoring this legislation.
SB 2048 (J. Cullerton/Currie) passed the Senate this week 55-2-0. This bill would appropriate an additional $454 million funds to the state’s higher education institutions. This comes after the Governor signed an appropriation bill a few weeks ago that initially provided $600 million towards higher education. This bill now heads to the House.
SB 2920 (Hutchinson) Provides that the Commission on Environmental Justice shall review any state implementation plan to comply with the United States Environmental Protection Agency Clean Power Plan and provide comments to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency before submittal to the United States Environmental Protection Agency for approval and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency shall respond to the comments and make modifications to the plan in response. The Chamber opposes the bill as is, but is expecting an amendment to be filed which will remove opposition.
SB 2933 (Hastings) was pulled from the record after a lengthy debate on the Senate floor this week. This measure seeks to require the Illinois Department of Revenue to disclose sales tax information of businesses located within municipalities directly to independent third-parties hired by such municipalities. This would include third-parties hired on a contingent fee basis to challenge tax allocation decisions made by IDOR. The sponsor indicated in his closing remarks that he would attempt to move the bill next week. The Chamber was opposed to this measure.
SB 2964 (Harmon/Hoffman) would require the prevailing wage rate to be less than the rate that prevails for work of a similar character on public works in the locality in which the work is performed under collective bargaining agreements or understandings between employers or employer associations and bona fide labor organizations (includes public works performed without a written contract), provided that the agreements or understandings cover at least 30% of the workers. If bargaining agreements do not exist in the locality, the Department of Labor must establish the prevailing wage to be paid under the Act. In addition, the Department will be required to publish prevailing wages schedules on its website. The bill is currently assigned to House Labor and Commerce Committee. The Chamber remains opposed and is actively working the roll call in the House.
SB 3020 (Sandoval) is IDOT’s design-build legislation remains in negotiations and we are hopeful that an agreement can be reached and that legislation can be brought forward. The Chamber is concerned that unless Illinois expands and gains additional experience in alternative delivery mechanisms that we will not be able to compete as successfully as we could beyond our borders.
Both chambers are scheduled to return Tuesday, May 10.