This Week in Illinois
Next week, the House and Senate are scheduled to return to Springfield for the first week of fall veto session. Both chambers will be in Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Below is a list of legislation that was approved by the General Assembly this spring/summer and was either completely vetoed or amendatorily vetoed by Gov. Rauner. In order for the General Assembly to override the governor’s veto, it must be approved by a three-fifths majority in each chamber. Therefore, 71 affirmative votes are needed in the House and 36 affirmative votes are needed to override in the Senate.
The list below does not reflect the entire list of bills that will come up during fall veto session. However, these include bills that are a high priority of the Illinois Chamber and bills that the Chamber will be actively lobbying.
Keeping Illinois open for tech investment
HB 3449 (Williams/T. Cullerton) or otherwise known as the ‘geolocation bill,’ would prohibit private entities from receiving location information from a device until users are put through an onerous consent process. This bill would restrict many valuable and widely used services, including “find my device” features, almost any app involving photographs, engine equipment using telematic technology, and maps and navigation services.
The restrictions in the bill pertaining to location-based applications are so broad, they would apply to thousands of business models, which use location to offer essential services to people throughout the state. More troubling, this bill would have encouraged frivolous lawsuits that hurt Illinois businesses by unfairly voiding terms of service agreements for simply forgetting to include a minor piece of information in your service contract. The Chamber opposes this bill and will be urging lawmakers to vote no on any motion to override the governor’s veto. (Status: Governor Vetoed)
Regulating so-called ‘expatriated entities’
HB 3419 (Andrade/Martinez) would unjustly punish companies who engage in perfectly legal federal tax planning retroactively. Under the bill, the state would prohibit so-called ‘expatriated entities’ who have engaged in corporate inversions from bidding on state contracts and prohibits the state’s pension systems from investing in the stock of such companies. As a matter of fundamental tax policy, the Chamber opposes using the state’s procurement code to punish companies for engaging in perfectly legal federal tax planning. Enacting such hostile retroactive legislation, that is nothing more than political grandstanding, does not make Illinois any more attractive to business. The Chamber opposes this bill and will be urging lawmakers to vote no on any motion to override the governor’s veto. (Status: Governor Vetoed)
Supporting investment in the Illinois Port District
HB 1797 (Davis/Trotter) removes a 40-year-old debt of the Illinois International Port District that was written off by the State and the Capital Development Board 36 ears ago. The legislation does not create a $15 million windfall for the port or create a $15 million hole for the State. It does allow the Port to erase this number off their books so they can make new investments in their facility and drive economic growth. The Chamber supports this bill and will be urging lawmakers to vote yes on any motion to override the governor’s veto. (Status: Governor Vetoed)
Wage history bill limits employers’ defenses
HB 2462 (Moeller/Biss) prohibits an employer from: (i) screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history, (ii) requiring that an applicant’s prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, and (iii) requesting or requiring as a condition of being interviewed or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment that an applicant disclose prior wages or salary. Prohibits an employer from seeking the salary, including benefits or other compensation or salary history, of a job applicant from any current or former employer.
In addition, the very concerning changes being made by HB 2462 are the undermining of employer defenses along with the expansion of civil penalties, including punitive damages and injunctive relief. The question we ask is this legislation really about limiting what employers can ask of a job applicant or is the bill all about increasing litigation opportunities and judicial awards against employers? The Chamber opposes this bill and will be urging lawmakers to vote no on any motion to override the governor’s veto.(Status: Governor Vetoed)
“Fake” workers’ compensation reform
HB 2525 (Hoffman/Raoul), is being promoted by the House and Senate Democrats as workers’ compensation reform. It is far from it. Codification of current bad case law for “causation” and “traveling employee” merely locks employers into the court expanded liability. In addition, it prevents employers from being able to achieve a change in the case law from future courts. Senate amendment 2 offers some relief but is far outweighed by increased regulation and litigation that are contained in the measure. (Status: Governor Vetoed)
In addition, HB 2622 (Fine/Biss) uses employer and insurer tax dollars to capitalize the creation of a state established, mutual insurance company to compete with the over 300 insurers that already provide workers’ compensation coverage. The $10 million of startup money are tax dollars that currently go to run the operations of the Workers’ Compensation Commission. The legislation provides that the funds are a “loan” to be paid back with interest. Given the track record regarding finances of Illinois state government, it is difficult to believe the loan would be paid in a timely fashion. Furthermore, removing resources meant to support the operations of the Commission jeopardizes the entire adjudication of workers’ compensation for injured workers as well as employers. (Status: Governor Vetoed)
$15 minimum wage
SB 81 (Lightford/Guzzardi) would incrementally increase the state’s minimum wage for those 18 years of age to $15 per hour by 2022 and to $12 per hour by 2022 for those under 18 years of age. The bill also amends the Illinois Income Tax Act and creates a credit against the withholding tax liability of employers with 50 or fewer employees, calculated based on the increase in the minimum wage. The Chamber opposes this increase as it would put us disproportionate to other neighboring states. (Status: Governor Vetoed)
Increased criminal penalties for employers
SB 1720 (Biss/Hernandez) increases criminal penalties for violation of the Wage Payment & Collection Act. It also bars contractors for 5 years from bidding on any state procurement by a business violating certain Illinois employment laws, any comparable laws in other states or the federal FLSA.
The Chamber opposes this bill as wage payment violations are very common — not all because of ill intent but due to the fact that violating wage laws is so very easy — many are administrative in nature or are legitimate disputes between the employer and employee. Often there are conflicting laws and regulations between the federal state and local laws making wage/benefit issues contradictory and confusing. (Status: Governor Vetoed)
Support loal government flexibility to attract jobs
SB 1905 (Silverstein/Moylan) seeks to establish the policy of the State that employers, employees, and their labor organizations are free to bargain collectively. Provides that the authority to enact laws or rules that restrict the use of union security agreements between an employer and a labor organization vests exclusively with the General Assembly. Prohibits local governments from enforcing any such law or rule.
Employees should be provided the freedom to determine whether their union is providing value for their dues. If not, SB 1905 artificially enables poor performance on behalf of employees the union is representing. The Chamber opposes this bill and will be urging lawmakers to vote no on any motion to override the governor’s veto. (Status: Governor Vetoed)
Unclaimed life insurance benefits
HB 302 (Martwick/Collins) is an initiative of the Treasurer’s Office, that would require life insurance companies to cross-match lapsed or expired policies against the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File to find potential beneficiaries of unclaimed life insurance benefits. The bill requires all insurers to search policies in force as of Jan. 1, 2012, and to Jan. 1, 2000 if a company has electronically-searchable records.
HB 302 sets a dangerous precedent for Illinois’ business climate. The legislation changes the terms of life insurance policies that have lapsed or expired – effectively reviving contracts that are no longer in force. We believe that violates the contract protections found in the Illinois and U.S. constitutions.
In fact, only one state in the entire country, Florida, has a similar law, and even there it is under litigation. We should explore ways to bring more jobs to our state, and not pass legislation that makes our business climate less attractive. The Chamber is opposed the bill and will be urging lawmakers to vote no on any motion to override the governor’s amendatory veto. (Status: Governor Amendatory Vetoed)