This Week in Springfield
The Illinois General Assembly took its final break this week before returning to Springfield next Tuesday for its final month of the spring legislative session.
The Chamber has taken advantage of this week to analyze outstanding bills, meet with stakeholders on pertinent pieces of legislation, and plan for the month ahead.
DEAL ON THE HORIZON?
Legislators last week took a small but meaningful step towards breaking the partisan gridlock by approving a $600 million “stopgap” appropriation bill for higher education. The so-called stopgap funding bill provided state universities a temporary solution and will give many universities flexibility until the beginning of the fall semester. SB 2059, which received bipartisan votes in both chambers was signed by Governor Rauner earlier this week.
While the passage of the funding bill was not hailed as a solution to the overall budget impasse, many statehouse insiders are hoping to build momentum off of this recent compromise.
As Illinois nears its eleventh month with out a state budget for the current fiscal year, any grand bargain would need to include a budget fix for the current fiscal year and an agreed spending plan for the upcoming 2017 fiscal year budget.
In the event of a grand bargain, the Chamber will continue to advocate on behalf of its members to ensure that meaningful workers’ compensation reform is included in any deal.
Another possibility that may emerge out of a grand bargain is a capital investment bill for our state’s infrastructure. However, the likelihood of a capital bill being passed after a budget deal is unlikely. Therefore, any talk of a grand bargain should include a capital investment bill.
Now that there appears to be a will, legislative leaders must come up with a plan that will get the state back to fiscal sanity while enacting structural reforms that will make Illinois a pro-jobs, pro-growth state.
The clock is ticking, stay tuned.
IL CHAMBER REWRITING IL CONSTITUTION
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is rewriting the Illinois Constitution and is one chamber away from being sent to the voters for approval in the November general election.
Chamber-initiative HJRCA 36 (Phelps-Haine) passed out of the House last week with bi-partisan support and has since been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Executive Committee on Tuesday, May 3 at 11:00AM.
This constitutional amendment would end Road Fund diversions by preventing any money from being removed from the Road Fund for any purpose other than transportation. As a result of this, transportation investment will be predictable, allowing businesses to plan investments long term.
Show your support for our proposal by filing a witness slip here! If you have already filed a witness slip, please click here to be patched through to your Senator’s office and tell them to support HJRCA 36 and to put a stop to road fund diversions!
EMPLOYEE LEAVE BILLS REDUCED
As reported in previous Government Affairs Reports, several paid employee leave bills were introduced this session. Anywhere from bone marrow and organ donor leave to child bereavement leave. As the leading voice for business in Illinois, the Chamber tends to oppose any paid leave mandates on employers. However, we are pleased to announce that many of these bills have either been amended to address the business community’s opposition or the sponsor has decided not to call their bill.
However, there are still still two paid employee leave bills that are still on the legislative docket and may move this session.
HB 3297 (C. Mitchell) creates the Employee Paid Health Care Time Act to 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. This bill has recently been re-referred to House Rules Committee, which tends to mean the bill is dead. However, as a precautionary measure the Chamber will continue to work with allies of the business community to prevent its passage.
SB 2147 (Hutchinson) Creates the Health Workplace Act and requires employers to provide specified paid sick days to employees. Employees who work in Illinois who are absent from work for a reason set forth in the Act shall be entitled to earn 7 paid sick days in a 12-month period. (Accrue at the rate of one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked). The deadline in which this bill may pass favorably out of the Senate has been extended to May 13. With the extension, the Chamber has reason to believe that the bill will be called for a vote.
The Chamber has negotiated with the sponsors of both SB 2147 (Hutchinson) and HB 3297 (C. Mitchell) and have disagreed philosophically with the sponsors on the idea of a mandated paid leave on employers. Paid leave bills are often tough votes to take during an election year and the Chamber will continue to work the roll call on these bills.
ILLINOIS RANKS No. 1
Not in college football pre-season rankings but in property taxes nationwide, according to a recent CoreLogic analysis of real estate property taxes nationwide.
The runner-ups belong to New York, New Hampshire, and New Jersey. The lowest median property tax rates in the US were Hawaii, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Alabama.
There is a constitutional amendment currently in the Illinois Senate that would freeze property taxes. HB 696 (Franks) passed the House last week. 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.
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 has been re-referred to Rules Committee. The Chamber is opposed to this measure.
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. The bill is scheduled for a hearing on May 4 at 3:00PM in the Senate Executive Committee.
HB 4501 (Yingling) 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 9:00AM hearing in Senate Local Government on May 4.
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 scheduled to return Tuesday, May 3.