The political deathmatch in Springfield continues on, as the state is in its tenth month with out a state budget.
Discussions are ongoing at the statehouse and groups meeting to discuss an end game are growing. Members and staff have been meeting to discuss a budget fix and what a new source of revenue might look like.
Despite the lack of a state budget, pertinent legislation is still before the legislature.
EMPLOYER ACTION DAY WRAPS UP
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce, NFIB, and the Associated Builders and Contractors held their annual Employer Action Day on Tuesday. This year’s event included nationaly renown economist Bill Dunkelberg, Senate President John Cullerton, Governor Bruce Rauner, Leader Christine Radogno, agency directors, and other policy experts.
Thank you to all of the sponsors and attendees who made this years event a success! Here’s the event website with the speaker profiles and materials that were provided.
LEGISLATIVE LEADERS MEET
Shortly after Senate President Cullerton revealed at Tuesday’s Employer Action Day that legislative leaders were to meet with Governor Rauner, the four leaders met in the Governors Office later that day for the first time this year.
The four met for roughly an hour but there was no word on whether the meeting was conducive towards ending the current stalemate in Springfield.
However, on Thursday a small group of budget leaders from both parties sat down with the Governor’s staff to discuss the budget in a closed door meeting. The group is planning to meet again next week.
On Thursday, the Senate Executive Committee posted a subcommittee hearing on all of the Senate’s 29 constitutional amendments. Proposed changes to the Constitution include abolishing the comptroller, progressive income tax increase, term limits, and redistricting.
The hearing is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, April 19 at 10:00 AM. For a complete list of the proposed amendments, click here.
The House is also expected to hear several constitutional amendments including a redistricting reform proposal, HJRCA 58 (Franks) in the House Executive Committee on April 18 at 5:00 in room C-1 of the Stratton Building.
HJRCA 8 and HJRCA 59 (C. Mitchell) which would amend the Illinois Constitution to authorize the imposition of a graduated income tax. HJRCA 8 was introduced last year and never made it out of Rules committee. However, there is reason to believe since the filing of House Amendment No. 1 to HB 689 (Lang) that the House may be gearing up to pass a graduated income tax plan within the next few weeks. HB 689 would set up statutorily a new personal income tax increase in the event a constitutional amendment is ratified by the voters. For the Chamber’s statement on the graduated income tax, please click here.
Another constitutional amendment that may be called is the Chamber’s proposed Lock Box Amendment, HJRCA 36 (Phelps). This amendment would put an end t Road Fund diversions by preventing any money from being removed from the Road Fund for any purpose other than transportation. As written, this proposed constitutional amendment would prevent any future revenue collected by transportation assets from being spent on any other agencies or programs. The Chamber’s Infrastructure Council Executive Director, Benjamin Brockschmidt testified in support of this measure in committee this week. An amendment is currently being prepared to remove IDOT’s opposition and will be likely heard next week in committee.
Lastly, there is the chance that the Millionaire’s Tax (HJRCA 26 – Madigan) could be called for a vote as well. This proposed amendment is already in the House on consideration postponed and could be called for a vote at any moment.
The Illinois Constitution requires that all constitutional amendments must be passed six months prior to the general election, which would deem May 8th as the cutoff date which constitutional amendments must pass both chambers.
Constitutional amendments are treated like regular bills but do not go to the Governor. Once both houses have approved the amendment with a 3/5 majority, the amendment then appears before the voters in the November 8th election. There can only be a total of three constitutional amendment proposals on the November ballot.
EMPLOYEE LEAVE UPDATE
As previously mentioned in last week’s GAR, there are a handful of employee leave bills before the General Assembly this year. Since last week, there has been action to report on a few of the leave bills.
HB 4036 (Lilly) would require require all employers to provide a total of 12 workweeks of leave for during any 12-month period. This bill passed the House 72-26-0. The bill has since arrived in the Senate as Sen. Toi Hutchinson as the sponsor. The Chamber remains opposed to the legislation.
The Chamber reached an agreement with AARP to tighten up HB 6162 (Skoog). An amendment is coming soon to the bill that will remove the Chamber’s opposition.
HB 3297(C. Mitchell) would require any employer employing one or more individual to provide paid health care time, accruing at a rate of one hour for every 22 hours worked for an employer with 50 or more employees and at a rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked for an employer with fewer than 50 employees. The Chamber has met with the sponsor and at this moment we are inclined to say there will not be an agreement reached on this bill.
TOBACCO MINIMUM AGE INCREASE
There is a movement in the Illinois General Assembly to increase the minimum age requirement in the state to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. SB 3011 (Mulroe) passed Senate Public Health Committee 6-3-0 and has since been added to the Senate calendar of 3rd Reading. The Chamber is opposed to this proposal and expects the bill to be called for a vote next week.
OTHER BILLS OF INTEREST
HB 1290 (Currie) creates the Wage Lien Act to allow an employee to have a lien on all property of the employer, including the after-acquired property, for the full amount of any wages, penalties, and interest owed to the employee. Wages include labor and services rendered by an employee and vacation pay, sick leave pay, parental leave pay, or severance pay pursuant to an employment contract or agreement. This bill is n House 2nd Reading. The Chamber is opposed to this measure.
HB 4999 (Guzzardi) amends the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act to make it unlawful for an employer or prospective employer to request or require an employee or applicant to authenticate or access a personal online account in the presence of the employer, to request or require the employee or applicant to invite the employer to join a group affiliated with any personal online account of the employee or applicant, or join an online account established by the employer. When an employer pays for or provides additional features to an employee’s personal online account and the employee uses only those features for business purposes, the rest of the account will be considered a personal online account. The scope of the Act does not cover an employee’s profile on a social media networking website. The Chamber has been in negotiations with the sponsor and have given him several suggestions in which the sponsor has accepted. The Chamber is neutral with House Amendment No. 1.
HB 5527 (Manley) passed the House unanimously on Thursday and now heads to the Senate. This is a Dept. of Revenue initiative which creates the Tax Preparer Oversight Act. This bill provides that, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2017, the Department of Revenue shall require any income tax return preparer to include his or her federal PTIN on any tax return prepared by the income tax return preparer and filed under the Illinois Income Tax Act or any claim for refund of tax imposed by the Illinois Income Tax Act. The Department is required to develop a program using the PTIN as an oversight mechanism to assess returns, to identify high error rates, patterns of suspected fraud, and unsubstantiated basis for tax positions by income tax return preparers
HB 5621 (Ives) provides that neither an insurer nor a provider may terminate an agreed-upon contract earlier than the end date of the original contract terms. An insurer may not remove a contracted provider from its provider network until the end date of the original contract terms. Sponsor committed to hold on 2nd Reading to work out an amendment. The Chamber is opposed.
SB 2145 (Lightford) amends the Minimum Wage Law to increase the minimum wage from $8.25 to $9.00 beginning July 1, 2016 and increases it by $0.50 each July 1st until July 1, 2019 when the minimum wage will be $11.00. It inserts a provision that the State has the exclusive power and function of establishing a minimum wage, preempting home rule with the exception of the City Council of the City of Chicago and amends the Illinois Income Tax Act to create a credit against the withholding tax liability of employers with fewer than 50 employees, calculated based on the increase in the minimum wage. The Chamber opposes this legislation and has reason to believe it will be called for a vote next week.
The Senate Revenue committee was scheduled to hold a hearing on April 13, but the hearing was cancelled. SB 2148 (Hutchinson), was moved from the Senate Revenue committee to the Senate Executive committee this week. This legislation amends the Illinois Income Tax Act to decouple from the federal Domestic Production Activities Deduction, it would eliminate for foreign and domestic dividend subtractions, and eliminate the “non-combination rule” for unitary businesses that apportion income under differing statutory apportionment formulas. The bill has been posted for the Executive committee hearing scheduled for next Wednesday April 20. The Chamber strongly opposes and is ready to testify in committee in the event the bill is called.
SB 2417 (Althoff) passed out of the Senate Environment and Conservation committee on Thursday unanimously with the understanding that the bill would be held on 2nd for further discussions. Committee Amendment No. 1 would allow recycling collectors to charge a fee of up to $25 for each CED containing a cathode-ray tube that they accept.
SB 2531 (Lightford) would require any economic development council that receives public money to have two members of labor and two minorities represented on the council. The Chamber met with the sponsor this week and is continuing the negotiate with proponents of the legislation. The Chamber is opposed as written and believes it is an act of micromanaging economic development from Springfield.
SB 2865 (Collins) creates the Small Business Lending Act which requires on-line lenders to small businesses to obtain a license from DFPR. Requires certain disclosures and reporting requirements and essentially applies a payday loan database to an installment loan product. The Chamber believes this will restrict the ability of small business owners to use certain types of lenders and dry up capital. The bill passed the Senate Financial Institutions Committee 8-0-2. The Chamber has reason to believe that the bill will not be moving this session, however will remain opposed and monitor its action.