The House and Senate were both busy this week moving bills out of committees.
Both chambers also spent a much of the week conducting subject matter hearings on pertinent issues such as economic development, public-private partnerships, healthcare taxes, and internet lottery.
Rank and file legislators and budget staff members from both parties, also known as the ‘budgeteers’ continued to meet this week to put together a pieces of a budget deal.
There are only thirteen scheduled session days remaining, so expect any deal to be made as a result of these meetings soon.
For a round-up of all things at the statehouse this week, please follow below.
CHAMBER OFFERS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT REFORMS
On Thursday, Chamber Pres. and CEO, Todd Maisch provided testimony to the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee to emphasize the need for a comprehensive, bipartisan approach to economic development in Illinois.
With the proposed launch of the new economic development corporation by Governor Rauner and with the sun-setting of the EDGE credit at end of 2016, the Chamber is calling for a thorough discussion on economic development.
During his testimony, Maisch focused on five specific points including: the support for the new economic development corporation, the need for an improved EDGE-like program to counter other states, expanded emphasis on job skills, expanded emphasis on infrastructure investment, and the need for a new program for distressed communities that need more help than EDGE-like programs.
HEALTH INSURANCE CLAIMS ASSESSMENT TAX
On Thursday, the House Human Services Appropriations Committee held a subject matter on HB 5750 (G. Harris). Chamber VP of Legislative Affairs, Staci Wilson testified in opposition to the bill.
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 would 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, the Chamber 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.
Similar legislation enacted by the State of Michigan is under legal attack in Michigan and the Illinois legislation, if enacted into law, would be likely be challenged on the same basis. ERISA plans may be exempt under federal preemption principles, calling into question the constitutionality of this proposal
The Chamber opposes this measure and will continue to voice opposition to the bill.
PREVAILING WAGE CALCULATION HURTS TAXPAYERS
There is a measure before the General Assembly that would lock in a pervailing wage rate and would eliminate the voice of local governments in determining local wage rates.
SB 2964 (Harmon/Hoffman) would require the prevailing wage rate to be calculated as the rate that prevails for similar work on public works projects when the work is performed under a collective bargaining agreement or understanding between an employer and bona fide labor organizations in a locality where 30% or more of the workers are involved.
This bill passed the House Labor and Commerce Committee earlier this week 16-7-0 and has since been placed on House 2nd Reading. The Chamber is opposed to this legislation and is currently working members against this measure.
For the Chamber’s one-pager on this bill, please click here.
FORCED UNION REP. ON ECON DEVELOPMENT BOARDS
As reported last week, there are two pieces of legislation that will may directly impact local economic development boards/commission statewide.
The Chamber believes that state government should not be in the business of forcing all local economic development corporations and commissions in Illinois to adopt a one-size fits all formula to economic development. Each community’s needs are unique to their area.
Economic Development Corporations and Commissions are there to support local municipal economic development initiatives and to grow and attract a thriving retail, industrial, and commercial business environment. Decisions on board membership should be done at a local level, appropriate to that local community environment.
This week, SB 2531 was assigned and posted to a committee hearing in the House Labor & Commerce Committee on Wednesday, May 18 at 11:00AM. In addition, SB 2600 was also assigned and posted to a committee hearing in the House Sales and Other Taxes Subcommittee on Wednesday, May 18.
Those interested in submitting feedback or would like to be included in updates to these two bills are encouraged to reach out to Staci Wilson.
LET’S HONOR THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED
This year, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Senate Republicans are honoring the military service and sacrifice of all our men and women in uniform who have passed away.
As a way to honor loved ones and friends who have served in the U.S. Military, we are encouraging anyone to submit a photograph and written remembrance of any veteran who is no longer with us, which will be displayed on the Illinois State Capitol Memorial Day Remembrance Wall. Submissions will be displayed in the State Capitol Rotunda starting during the week prior to Memorial Day, on Thursday, May 26 through Monday, July 4.
Please email a photo and written remembrance (Max: 250 words) along with the following information: name, military branch (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Guard, Navy) and conflict served (Afghanistan and Iraq, September 11, Gulf War, Vietnam, Korea, WWII, WWI, Peacetime, Other). Military photos preferred but not necessary.
The deadline to submit is Monday, May 23. Please email submissions to: MemorialDay@senategop.state.il.us
For more information on this initiative, please click here.
OTHER BILLS OF INTEREST
Senate Amendment No. 1 to HB 940 (Lang/Link) passed out of the Senate Executive Committee 10-5-0 this week. This amendment would expand video gaming at inner-track wagering locations. Other various gaming expansion amendments were filed under this bill that were not adopted in committee this week. The sponsor indicated that he would bring the bill back with an agreed amendment.
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 the Chamber has met with the sponsor and she has shown willingness to work with the Chamber on this issue.
HB 4999 (Connelly/Guzzardi) passed the Senate Executive Committee this week. This bill would make it unlawful for employers to require employees to provide usernames/passwords for personal accounts. The Chamber negotiated an agreement in the House and was neutral on its passage in Senate Exec.
HB 5576 (Nekritz/Hutchinson) passed out of the Senate Executive Committee this week 11-6-0. This bill mandates coverage without cost sharing for all contraceptive drugs, devices, and other products, including voluntary sterilization. Insurance must pay for up to 12 months of contraception at one time. The Chamber is opposed.
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.
SB 345 (Harmon) 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. The bill is currently on 3rd Reading in the Senate.
SB 346 (Haine) would amend the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. Changes included employer protections and the extension of the program for an addition two years. The Chamber is neutral on the amendment.
SB 517 (Clayborne) 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 2038 (Cullerton/Madigan) passed both chambers on Thursday with bi-partisan support. SB 2038 is also known as the $700 million social services stopgap funding bill. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
SB 2865 (Collins) creates the Small Business Lending Act which requires certain lenders to small businesses to obtain a license from DFPR. The bill imposes certain disclosures and reporting requirements and essentially applies a payday loan database to an installment loan product. This will restrict the ability of small business owners to use on-line lenders if they so choose to do so and dry up capital. Sponsor committed to hold on 2nd Reading and continue discussions.
SB 2920 (Hutchinson) The Illinois Chamber worked closely with the bill’s sponsors to come to agreement on amendment 3 to SB 2920, which removes our opposition to the bill. We are neutral on the legislation. With amendment 3, the bill expands the Illinois Environmental Justice Commission to include members of the business community and labor and quantifies the number of community members the Governor can appoint to the Commission. The bill no longer includes provisions on the EJC’s role in the state implementation plan of the Clean Power Plan and will not include representation of the ICC, IPCB, and the IPA. The Chamber opposed those provisions and worked to remove them from the bill.
SB 3020 (Sandoval) passed the Senate this week. This 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 17.
For those interested, the Illinois Chamber and the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association are co-hosting a Tyson Foods, Inc. Springfield fly-in next week. Those interested in attending the Tyson reception on Wednesday night at Arlington’s are encouraged to RSVP to Tyler Diers at
For more information on the reception, please click here