The House and Senate both wrapped up their week long session today. This week is known to many statehouse observers as 3rd Reading deadline week. In other words, all bills must have successfully passed out of their respective chambers by today’s adjournment.
For a more in-depth look at what occurred this week at the statehouse, please follow below.
CHAMBER INITIATIVES PASS FAVORABLY
Several Chamber initiatives passed out of their respective chambers this week with bi-partisan support. One of the Chamber’s biggest legislative proposals of the 99th General Assembly passed its biggest hurdle yet and is one more step away from appearing on the on November ballot. HJRCA 36 (Phleps), which would protect the dollars collected for transportation infrastructure from being diverted for any purpose other than transportation. A Lockbox Amendment would allow Illinois to join 31 other states that already have this safeguard to protect infrastructure dollars. The resolution passed out of the House 98-4-2 and now moves to the Senate where Sen. Haine has agreed to sponsor the resolution.
Another Chamber initiative, SB 2921 (Hutchinson) passed the Senate unanimously Thursday. This legislation amends the Uniform Penalty and Interest Act to provide for automatic abatement of the underpayment penalty when a taxpayer has been determined upon audit to have paid at least 95% of the taxes due. The bill also caps the underpayment penalty at 15% and eliminates the provisions in the current law that impose a 20% penalty on any underpayments paid after commencement of an audit unless the audit results are agreed to by the taxpayer. The bill now heads to the House where Rep. Zalewski is the sponsor.
SB 2506 (Righter), a Chamber-initiative that aims at streamlining employment discrimination investigations passed out of Senate unanimously on Thursday. The bill now heads to the House where Rep. Andersson is the sponsor.
HIGHER EDUCATION RECEIVES FUNDING
State universities throughout the state were relieved today with a bi-partisan solution aimed at keeping the lights on at several higher education institutions. After SB 2059 was debated in the House last night for nearly an hour, the sponsor decided during the eleventh hour to pull the bill from the record and to call the bill today.
Both chambers eventually approved the stopgap appropriation bill which authorized the state to spend $600 million on state universities, community colleges and grant programs such as the Monetary Award Program (MAP).
The passage of this bill came as Chicago State University warned it would be closing its doors if an agreement was not made by May 1.
While legislators were reluctant to pat themselves on the back, this bipartisan effort can be a signal of what a compromise may look like. The bill is currently on the Governor’s desk, where there is word he plans on signing the funding proposal.
TAXES, TAXES, TAXES
Bad news going into this week was that both chambers would likely hear proposals aimed at confiscating the wealth of job creators and small businesses. Good news was that many of the proposals either were not brought up for a vote or did not pass the required vote threshold.
, would have added a 3% income tax surcharge on individuals that make greater than $1 million for the taxable year. Revenues collected from the tax would be distributed to school districts on a per pupil basis. The Chamber remains opposed to the proposal. However, it was reported Wednesday that the Speaker does intend to reintroduce this proposal in the future.
On Tuesday, the House Executive Committee passed HB 689 (Lang). HB 689 statutorily provides new personnel income tax rates in the event a constitutional amendment is ratified by the voters. HJRCA 59 (Mitchell) and SJRCA 1 (Harmon) are the two proposed constitutional amendments that would trigger the rates provided in HB 689. However, SJRCA 1 and HJRCA 59 were not brought up for a vote. It is still possible these resolutions are brought up for a vote when the legislature returns, however parliamentary speaking would be difficult. The Chamber remains opposed to the tax proposals listed above and will remain vigilante if these measures advance.
Other tax related issues that made headlines this week included a property tax freeze proposal by Rep. Franks.
HB 696 (Franks) passed the House Thursday night 71-31-5. This bill creates a property tax freeze for the 2015 levy year. However the property tax freeze legislation changes the definition of “taxing district” to provide that it does not include home rule units. The Chamber has technical concerns with the language and scope of the bill in its current form.
And lastly, the Senate passed a bill that would establish a sales and use tax exemption for feminine hygiene products. SB 2746 (Bush) passed 52-1-1.
This week saw plenty of action as it relates to constitutional amendments. 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. If successfully passed out of both chambers, the resolution goes to the voters for final passage.
As reported above, one of the Chamber’s biggest legislative proposals of the 99th General Assembly passed its biggest hurdle yet and is one more step away from appearing on the November ballot. HJRCA 36 (Phelps) passed with bi-partisan support and now heads to the Senate where the resolution must be voted on by May 8th.
Other major constitutional amendments that received considerable attention this week included a proposal that the Chamber supported to change the redistricting process (HJRCA 58-Franks) and a bill to eliminate the Lt. Governor’s Office (SJRCA29-T.Cullerton)
Many of the constitutional amendments were required to pass favorably out of their respective chambers by Friday, however it is not mathematically impossible for the amendments to be reconsidered when the legislature returns.
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 on House 2nd Reading. The Chamber is opposed to this measure.
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. However, the bill was not called this week and anticipates an deadline extension.
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 is now in the Senate with Sen. Hutchinson as the Senate sponsor. The Chamber remains opposed to the legislation and believes there will be a hearing in May in the Senate.
HB 4501 (Yingling) passed favorably out of the House today 93-19-0. 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.
HB 4999(Guzzardi) passed the House on Friday 105-0-1. creates the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act and would 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 that an employee or applicant 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. The Chamber worked closely with the sponsor to include adopted language to the bill and was neutral on its passage.
HB 5604 (Conroy) passed the House unanimously Friday. This bill would make coverage a mandatory offer rather than an outright mandate, so employers and individuals have the option to purchase this kind of coverage (subject to premium adjustments). This coverage will be for treatment of pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections and pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome, including the use of intravenous immunoglobulin therapy. The Chamber was neutral on the measure.
HB 6020 (Yingling) amends the Freedom of Information Act. Provides that a member-based organization that is a public body that has a membership that includes one or more government taxing body, lobbies on behalf of its governmental members, and receives a majority of its funding from governmental members; their records relating to receipts of public funds or expenditures are public to FOIA.
HR 1092 (Flowers) urges the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act. The Chamber believes this will not move, however remains opposed.
SB 2355 (Holmes) passed the Senate unanimously Friday. This bill provides that any contract entered into or renewed which allows the rights and obligations of the contract to be assigned or leased to another insurer, must provide notification of that change to the contracting dentist within 30 days. With the adopted language, the Chamber was neutral on its passage.
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.
SB 2600 (Delgado) & 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 2933 (Hastings) this bill 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.
. Under the Prevailing Wage Act, SB 2964 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 now heads to the House with Rep. Hoffman as the sponsor. The Chamber remains opposed.
Both chambers are not scheduled to return until Tuesday, May 3.