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


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. 


2020 State of the State
Governor JB Pritzker delivered the annual State of the State address Wednesday afternoon in the House Chambers of the Capitol building. His speech focused on ethics reform, taxes and energy proposals
 
Illinois Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch released the following statement on Governor Pritzker's State of the State Address. "Governor Pritzker presented a positive view of his first year in office, much of which the Chamber agrees with. The Governor embraced pro-growth tax incentives - including the Chamber's data center incentive legislation - championed by pro-business legislators. He has committed to a professional economic development program, greater investment in workforce development and expansion of access to advanced technology for small businesses.  
 
While bipartisan gains are welcomed by the employer community, we need to remind policymakers of the negative impacts of misguided policies enacted in 2019. Small businesses will struggle mightily with the burden of a $15 minimum wage. The wage is unfairly set at $15 regardless of geography or wage rates that vary greatly in our diverse state. Also, the proposed progressive income tax eliminates our current, true Fair Tax. It is already having a chilling effect on employers ' willingness to invest in Illinois.  
 
A focus on our greatest job producers, small business, must be a priority in 2020 to balance the negative effects of 2019 policies. The Governor has demonstrated a good understanding of issues that impact small businesses, but still has pursued detrimental legislation. 2020 represents an opportunity to offer them more support with bipartisan policies to move our state forward."
 
New Senate Transportation Committee Chairman
Senator Ram Villivalam (Chicago) has been named the new Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. Senator Villivalam has pledged to implement a more "open and transparent process" for committee business.  This is a reference to former Chairman Marty Sandoval, who worked his committee business behind the closed doors of his office.  The subsequent public committee meetings were often finished in 2 minutes or less. 
 
Senator Vilivalam also wants to "move to a data-and equity-drive model of allocating transportation funds.  This could prove worrisome if it upsets the decades old 55/45 transportation funding split between Chicago and the rest of the state.  That 55/45 split is one of the few longstanding bipartisan agreements in Springfield. The Chamber will monitor this issue closely. 
 
New Senate Leadership 
New Senate President Don Harmon announced today his new leadership team for the Illinois Senate. The Senate leadership is as follows:
 
Kimberly Lightford - Majority Leader*
  Bill Cunningham - President Pro Tempore and Assistant Majority Leader  
Laura Murphy - Deputy Majority Leader  
Linda Holmes - Assistant Majority Leader
Dave Koehler - Assistant Majority Leader*
Iris Martinez - Assistant Majority Leader*  
Tony Munoz - Assistant Majority Leader*  
Mattie Hunter - Caucus Chair*
Jacqueline Collins - Deputy Majority Conference Chair  
Omar Aquino - Majority Whip
Michael Hastings - Majority Whip
Napoleon Harris - Majority Whip
 
More information, including biographies, may be found here  
 
Legislative Update
The House Transportation: Vehicles & Safety Committee is scheduled to meet next Wednesday , February 5 th at 8:30 am. Representative McSweeney has two bills posted for a hearing. One HB 322 would repeal red light cameras for non-home rule units of government . The other HB 326 requires IDOT to complete a study on red light cameras .  Both bills have bipartisan cosponsors. For more on red light cameras, see below.   
 
The Senate Committee is scheduled but none of the bills are of interest to the Chamber.  
 
A few other interesting bills have been filed. As always, I value and appreciate any feedback you have on these bills or others.
 
HB 4248 (Gabel)   This would delete language that caps at $2 million annually the amount of money that can be diverted from the Grade Crossing Protection Fund to be used for pedestrian walkways. 
 
SB 2560 (Villivalam)  Creates the Complete Streets Act. 
 
SB 2564, SB 2565  Senator Oberweis is once again looking to increase the speed limit. 
 
HB 4353, HB 4402  Representatives Skillicorn and Stava-Murray introduced identical bills to repeal red light cameras.  This a textbook example of politicos sometimes making strange partnerships as these two are as far apart politically as you'll find in Springfield.  These bills were filed in response to the red light camera bribery scandal. For more information on the red light cameras see the "Articles of Interest" below. 
 
Articles of Interest 
 
 
https://news.wttw.com/2020/01/28/gamblers-still-waiting-sports-betting-illinois   (Related: The Super Bowl is this weekend.  Chiefs are 1.5 point favorites.  Who do you have?  Personally, I like Mahomes and the Chiefs)

Until next week,
Clark                                                               

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