Clark Kaericher | Vice President, Government Affairs | 217-522-5512 x 296

February 28, 2020

The Infrastructure Council is an initiative of the Illinois Chamber that brings together Chamber members with a focus on increasing infrastructure investments in a strategic and thoughtful way to boost the overall business climate in Illinois. Our focus is on the public and private systems that are essential to Illinois businesses. 

Happy Friday everyone, hope you're avoiding the Coronavirus. It was a relatively light week by historical standards in Springfield as lawmakers continue to deal with the primary election happening on March 17th. We expect a significant uptake in legislative action after that date.

Legislative Update

The Senate Transportation Committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 5 pm. These bills of interest have been posted for the committee:

SB 3091 (Rose) - Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Removes the permit requirement, from September 1 through December 31, for a vehicle transporting agricultural commodities to exceed the maximum weight, axle weight, and gross weight limits under certain circumstances. Makes conforming changes. Effective immediately. NOTE: The Chamber has spoken with the Senate GOP about our concerns with this legislation.

SB 3002 (McGuire)- Amends the Toll Bridge Act. Provides that the county board may enter into an agreement establishing a toll rate schedule for a period not to exceed 99 years, as determined by the county board.

SB 2961 (Ellman) - Repeals the Railroad Intoxicating Liquor Act.

The House Transportation: Regulation, Roads and Bridges Committee is scheduled to meet at 2 pm on Tuesday. There is one item of interest posted for that committee.

HR 751 (Halpin) - Expresses support for a strong intercity passenger rail network and supports the passage of U.S. S.2922, the proposed "Rail Passenger Fairness Act", providing Amtrak the ability to enforce its preference rights by bringing a civil action before a federal district court. This would allow Amtrak to file expensive civil suits against freight companies. The Chamber opposes this legislation and has filed a witness slip expressing that opposition.

The House Transportation: Vehicles and Safety Committee will meet on Wednesday at 10 am. The following were posted to that committee:

HB 326 (McSweeney) - Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that 30 days after the effective date of the bill, the Department of Transportation shall conduct a study evaluating automated traffic law enforcement systems. Provides that on or before December 31, 2019, the Department shall file a report with the General Assembly with the results from the study, including input from local law enforcement, and any recommendations the Department deems necessary. Effective immediately.

HJR 109 (Stephens) - States the belief that O'Hare International Airport's noise monitoring technology should be coupled with artificial-intelligence software to match the noises perceived by each station at each time to specific individual flight operations and the operations of individual airlines and to gauge the compliance of each individual airline firm with the guidelines set down in the Fly Quiet Program. Calls for a measurable improvement in Fly Quiet compliance no later than January 1, 2021, with further improvements to follow. Urges the Aviation Department of the City of Chicago to select a trusted third party that represents the interests of O'Hare International Airport's noise neighbors and to share the information enumerated in this resolution with this third party. Urges the Aviation Department and the trusted third party to collaborate to develop a rank-ordered chart of each airline firm's compliance with Fly Quiet Program guidelines. Urges the Aviation Department and the trusted third party to give the charts explicit and formal consideration as elements in any decisions made, subsequent to the start of the generation of this data and these charts, on the reallocation of departure gates and support facilities at O'Hare International Airport.

House Passes (Limited) Red Light Camera Ban

As part of the fallout over the latest red light camera scandal involving former Senator Martin Sandoval, the Illinois House passed a limited red light camera ban by an overwhelming 84-4 majority. HB 322 (McSweeney) would ban red-light cameras from any "non-home rule" community. Non-home rule communities are generally those with fewer than 25,000 residents and they have much more limited powers than home rule communities under state law. This bill would not apply to large municipalities like the City of Chicago- they will continue to operate red-light cameras. The bill will next move to the Senate for consideration.

Rep. McSweeney has a companion bill, HB 323, that would ban red-light cameras everywhere in Illinois. He indicated he will ask the House Rules Committee to release his bill to a committee.

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