The bill introduction deadline is tomorrow. At that point, we expect to have a fuller view of the types of legislative initiatives we can expect this spring. Major legislation, such as a capital bill, will come later this session in the form of amendments.
Next week is the Governor's Budget Address. Deputy Governor Dan Hynes spoke at the City Club of Chicago today in what is widely viewed as a speech previewing the Governor's budget asks. He focused on changing the state's pension payments by extending the length of time the state takes to reach full funding. One area he noted the Administration is looking at is whether to transfer state assets to the pension system. He did not reject the idea of transferring the Illinois Tollway to the pension system. The other major topic of Hynes' speech focused on winning passage of a Constitutional Amendment to change Illinois' income tax system to a graduated system. You can find a summary in Crain's here.
I'm tracking a variety of legislation, though not taking a position on most. You can review the legislation I'm currently tracking at the links below and I've included a list of bills where the Chamber currently has a position.
HB 356/HB 357 - Oppose
These bills mandate Buy America and Buy Illinois provisions for procurement. They are troubling from an infrastructure perspective because these provisions tend to raise the price of infrastructure projects and can affect timelines as well.
HB 813/HB 2130/SB 105 - Support
These bills repeal the Commercial Distribution Fee charged to semi trucks. The fee places Illinois at a competitive disadvantage and the revenue raised supports General Revenue Fund efforts rather than the Road Fund.
HB 2127/SB 1326 - Oppose
The Chamber is opposed to these bills, which would mandate certain types of state contractors use a software to track their billable hours. The bill is concerning because it appears to be a monopoly mandate for the use of a specific software firm.
HJR 8 - Support
HJR 8 authorizes the Tollway to begin procurement for a P3 project to add capacity to I-55 between I-355 and I-90.
SB 24 - Oppose
This bill mandates a 2 person crew on freight trains. Crew size is negotiated as part of the collective bargaining agreements with the freight lines and should not be mandated by the state.
SB 146 - Support
This bill eliminates the fee Dept of Revenue charges to transit agencies (and units of local government) to collect their sales tax revenue.
INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE NEWS
Deferred maintenance on the state's overpasses and bridges was in the news this week after a structural failure on
Lakeshore Drive in Chicago
caused it to be closed for emergency repairs, an I-80 overpass dropped concrete onto the road below, and CBS Chicago published a story on the
Des Plaines River bridge
, which received a sufficiency rating of 6 out of 100 (below 80 is deficient) and is marked as "critical condition and may require closure" in IDOT inspection reports. IDOT acknowledged the bridge project will take years to secure funding and plans.
The FAA announced this week that beginning February 23rd drone owners will need to display their drone's registration number on the outside of the drone.
USACE REQUEST FOR INFORMATION ON WATERWAYS P3
The US Army Corps of Engineers published their call for information regarding available public-private partnerships on the waterways. USACE held a webinar late last year where they emphasized they are looking initially for P3 projects that can be done without changes to federal law and for areas within federal law that may need to be changed to advance P3 projects. IDOT is working on drafting comments. You can see the request for information
. The presentation from last year's P3 Stakeholders webinar is available
BRANDON ROAD COMMENTS
Draft comments to the US Army Corps of Engineers are available
here for you to review
. Please reach out with any questions or suggested edits by email or phone.
SECOND ANNUAL WOMEN IN BUSINESS CONFERENCE
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is hosting its second Women in Business conference on March 15th, 2019 at Pinstripes in Oak Brook, IL. The event will bring together business leaders from across the State to encourage women to invest in themselves, become courageous leaders, and be a force in their careers.
Our panel topics this year focus on practices to better diversify corporations and understanding why diversity brings more business success; individual communication tactics to send a message of confidence; and learning from proven influencers on the skills that can help you get to where you want to be professionally. These panels will be capped with keynote addresses by inspiring speakers to embolden attendees to blaze their own path. The event will end with a networking and social event.
ILLINOIS CHAMBER LOBBY DAY
Please save the day for our 2019 Chamber lobby day on March 20th. If you would like to register, you can do so
TFIC LOBBY DAY
The Transportation for Illinois Coalition has scheduled its 2019 Lobby Day for Wednesday, April 3.
If you would like to attend the Lobby Day, please fill out the registration form here and return to Jennifer at TFIC or you can send to me. 2019 is shaping up to be a big year in infrastructure funding, and the TFIC Lobby Day is always a well-organized opportunity to interact with elected officials in Springfield.