This Week In Springfield
The four legislative leaders and Governor Rauner started the week off by meeting together for just the second time this year.
There were mixed reactions coming from the legislative leaders after leaving the meeting. Senate President John Cullerton described the meeting as productive. He particularly displayed his satisfaction towards the Governor’s willingness for new revenues.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin both appeared before the media after leaving the meeting. Leader Durkin appeared to be pleased with Speaker Madigan’s willingness to non-budget reforms such as opening up negotiations to collective bargaining, pension reform, a property tax freeze, and workers’ compensation.
However, Leader Radogno appeared to be more skeptical and reiterated that the Speaker has manipulated the process before and has disavowed working groups in the past.
The Speaker himself was not available for comment but he did issue a statement declaring the budget would pass if the governor dropped his agenda. He did however commit to appointing members to the Governor’s non-budget working groups.
Every leader offered a different take on the meeting so it is unclear whether the meeting was a success or not. Nonetheless, it is better meet than not to meet.
Time is running out and despite meetings occurring behind the scenes, little progress has been made. Perhaps the working groups will continue to meet and the leaders and the governor will continue to negotiate during the final sprint.
There are only nine scheduled session days left until the scheduled May 31st adjournment.
ARBITRATION BILL VETOED; DEM’S PLAN OVERRIDE
Prior to meeting with the legislative leaders, Governor Rauner vetoed a measure on Monday that would allow an arbitrator to settle public employee contract negotiations if union negotiations fall apart.
In his veto message to the legislature, the Governor called the legislation a “dangerous, unprecedented attack on our taxpayers.”
If enacted, HB 580 would replace the Governor in collective bargaining negotiations with an arbitrator. A similar bill was vetoed by the governor last year and the motion to override the veto failed in the House 68-34-9. This prompted an attack during the primary season by the Speaker, particularly on Rep. Ken Dunkin for siding with the Governor.
Since the Governor’s veto on HB 580, the House has since filed another motion to override his veto. However, during the bills original passage in the House, the roll call failed to receive the necessary threshold of 71 votes to override the Governor’s veto.
The Chamber is opposed to HB 580 and expects the motion to override the Governor to take place before May 31st.
FANTASY SPORTS BILL PASSES BUT HELD IN SENATE
The Illinois Senate approved a measure this week to regulate online fantasy sports. HB 3655 (D. Burke/Raoul) passed the Senate Thursday 32-22-1. This bill creates the Fantasy Sports Contest Act and would apply to paid fantasy sports contests and would ban college and amateur-level sports from fantasy play.
The bill secured enough votes for passage, however a motion was filed to reconsider the vote by Sen. Munoz. It was reported that Sen. Munoz is actually against the bill but voted in favor of the measure in order to place a parliamentary hold on the bill. If you were thinking, “only in Illinois” then you are correct!
Due to the hold placed by Sen. Munoz, the bill remains in the Senate for now and the Chamber remains opposed.
INCREASE IN AGE TO PURCHASE TOBACCO PRODUCTS
After previously failing in the Senate last week by five votes, SB 3011 (Mulroe) was reconsidered this week and passed 32-22-1. If signed into law, this bill would raise the legal purchasing age for tobacco products and e-cigs from 18 to 21.
The bill still needs to pass the House before it is sent to the Governor. The Chamber opposes this measure because it would lead to a large scale increase in the illegal sale of cigarettes and an increase in purchasing of tobacco products in neighboring states.
FORCED UNION REP. ON ECON DEVELOPMENT BOARDS
Two pieces of legislation that would impact many of the state’s local economic development corporations is one vote away from begin sent to the governor’s desk.
As reported before, SB 2531 (Lightford/Welch) and SB 2600 (Delgado/Welch) would provide that any economic development corporation or commission which receives public money must have at least two members from a labor council serve on its board or commission. These members would also have all rights and privileges and not be required to pay any membership fees or dues for such membership.
The Chamber has been working with local chambers and economic development corporations on mobilizing these corporations/commissions and coordinating a consistent message to local legislators.
These two bills may be called as early as Monday. If you haven’t already done so, it is imperative to call your local state representative and voice your opposition. For a one pager and talking points of the issue, please click here.
CHAMBER HOLDS FIRST ANNUAL TYSON FOODS DAY
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association co-hosted a Tyson Foods Day in Springfield this week.
Members from Tyson’s headquarters in Chicago, world headquarters in Arkansas, and office in Washington D.C came to town to educate legislators and staff on Tyson Foods and the economic impact the company has in Illinois.
Thanks to those who attended the reception on Wednesday and those who took the time to meet with their staff on Thursday!
CHANGES COMING TO IL DRIVERS LICENSES
This week Sec. of State Jesse White announced new changes to Illinois’ drivers licenses. The announcement comes after the U.S Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that the current state drivers license and state ID’s would not be compliant to federal regulations outlined in the REAL I.D. Act.
By the end of July 2016, all DMV facilities will hand out temporary ID’s and will then receive a laser engraved card sent from a centralized location in the mail.
While this move will not make Illinois 100% compliant with the REAL I.D. Act, it will move the state closer to full compliance. The other compliance measures require legislative action.
OTHER BILLS OF INTEREST
House Amendment No. 2 to HB 673 (Bradley) was reintroduced for a vote this week for the umpteenth time in the last two years. This legislation keeps resurfacing in this form, purely for political purposes. The sponsor has taken one of the bills out of the Governor’s agenda and split it into two separate amendments. The intent appears to be to get the Republicans on record as failing to vote for property tax freeze legislation so this can be used in campaign mailers. The amendments were voted on by the House earlier this afternoon. Amendment 1, received only 41 favorable votes and failed. Amendment 2 received only 1 favorable vote and failed.
Shortly after the leaders meeting with the Governor and after a lengthy debate, HB 4167 (Madigan) passed the House on Tuesday 68-45-1, however failed to receive the veto-proof threshold. This bill would fund the state’s Monetary Award Program grant (MAP).
After the stalling of HJR 125 in the House, SJR 40 (Sandoval) has been posted for a Senate Committee hearing next week in Senate Transportation on May 24. This is IDOT’s I-55 managed lanes initiative. The Chamber is in support.
Senator Althoff has filed a state procurement Am #1 to SB 1050. The bill contains some provisions from the Governor’s legislation (HB 4644). However, the major difference between the two plans, is that SB 1050 retains the current procurement process and does not dismantle the Chief Procurement Office (CPO). Provisions include new higher education exemptions; changes to the multi-step sealed bidding process; raises the threshold to $100,000 for small purchases; allows for pre-qualified pools; permits joint purchasing (piggybacking); and adds a new “best value” procurement pilot project for IDOT, IDNR, Ag and institutions of higher education. In addition, repeals the current reporting requirements but adds language clarifying that an employee knowingly or intentionally colludes or acts in an anticompetitive nature shall be reported to the IG and is subject to suspension or termination.
Senate Energy and Public Utilities held a subject matter hearing on SB 1585 (Trotter). Testimony filled multiple panels to discuss the pros and cons of the bill. The Committee room was filled to capacity, highlighting the broad range of opinions and the intense interest in the issue. The Chamber continues to monitor.
Chamber-initiative SB 2921 (Hutchinson/Zalewski) was assigned to a committee hearing next week in the House Executive Committee on Wednesday, May 25th. This bill amends the Uniform Penalty and Interest Act to automatically rescind underpayment penalties on taxpayers that are more than 95% compliant. This bill previously passed the Senate unanimously. For more information on our initiative, please click here.
SB 2933 (Hastings) was again considered by the Senate this week, and failed when the sponsor could not obtain the necessary vote for passage – the bill failed on a vote of 29-23-0. This bill sought 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 sales tax allocation decisions made by IDOR. This bill was opposed by Illinois Chamber and many other business organizations.
SB 2964 (Harmon/Hoffman) passed the House this week 72-40-2. This bill requires 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 now heads to the Governor’s desk. The Chamber is opposed.
Both chambers are scheduled to return Monday, May 23.