Veto Session Wrap-up
The second, and final, week of the veto session adjourned last Thursday. The General Assembly will return to Springfield for the beginning of the spring legislative session on January 28, 2020.
At the conclusion of the Senate's floor action yesterday, Senate President John Cullerton announced his retirement from the Senate in January. The jockeying for the position of Senate President will be intense as there is no readily identifiable successor.
Also, the adjournment of the House session was interesting as Rep. Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) challenged the adjournment motion to adjourn the House until January 28th. He argued that there was much work left for the General Assembly, especially in the area of ethics reform, and requested, per the House rules, a record vote on the adjournment motion, rather than the usual voice vote.
After consultation with the House Parliamentarian, the request for a recorded vote was granted, but the Parliamentarian also ruled a majority of the members voting on the adjournment motion was only required, not a 60-vote majority of the members of the House. Therefore, the motion to adjourn passed on a vote of 53 in favor, with the Republican members of the House voting "no".
By ruling that a vote of the majority of those voting, rather than requiring a vote of the majority of the House members, allowed the Democrats to avoid having their members in potentially contested districts vote in favor of adjournment for 2 1/2 months.
Key Employment Law Veto Session Issues
Recreational Marijuana Workplace Protections Clarified:
Codification of the legislative intent for the workplace protections provided when the legislation was being debated last May was part of a "trailer bill",
, and was passed by the General Assembly. The language negotiated by the Illinois Chamber codifies several key issues for employers and protects from litigation actions taken by employers for random drug testing, preemployment testing and for failure of a drug test. It clears up the concern that employers might have to prove impairment when an employee fails a drug test. While employers still will need their drug and alcohol policy to meet the standards of reasonableness and non-discrimination, these changes provide greater clarity and protections to employers that need and want safe employees, safe workplaces and a safe public.
The measure was approved by the House on a 90-20-1 vote and by the Senate 41-6-1 and now goes to the Governor for his signature.
Paid Leave Advances to House Floor:
, sponsored by Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria), was advanced out of the House Labor Committee on a partisan vote last week... 18 Democrats voting yes and 7 republicans voting no. SB 471 requires all employers to provide paid time off to all employees. For each 40 hours worked, an employee is to receive 1 hour of paid time off up to 40 hours per year. It limits how employers can implement the law and significantly reduces flexibility for employers as to how they design their leave and paid time off benefits.
The House sponsor met with the Illinois Chamber, other members of the business community, organized labor and women advocacy groups prior to the House Labor Committee hearing. There was an agreement to move the bill to the House floor and hold the legislation for an amendment that business and organized labor will try to hammer out between now and when the General Assembly returns the end of January. In general, the business community has signaled that it can live with the 40-hour paid time off mandate, but the law must also provide maximum flexibility for employer compliance. The areas that the business community would like to see changes to the proposal are:
- The definition of "employer" be the same as that of the Wage Payment & Collection Act
- Limiting the law to Illinois employers of 25 or more and to Illinois employees;
- Preemption of similar local ordinances;
- Clarifies how the calculation of how leave is earned, whether it can be carried-over and how an illness is certified;
- Clarifies that the new Act does not provide additional time off for VESSA or the Federal FMLA;
- Reduces statute of limitations from 3 to 2 years, remove punitive damages from remedies and provide recovery of legal fees for employers when faced with a frivolous or meritless claim determined in a civil action at circuit court;
- Repeal of the Employee Sick Leave Act; and
- An effective date that will allow employers ample time to implement the law.
Legislation Approved to Undermine Janus Decision
(Harmon-D-Oak Park/Hoffman-D-Belleville) amends the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act to provide new requirements for public employers to furnish employee information to a union bargaining representative, prohibits employers from disclosing certain employee information to non-union bargaining representatives, mandates workplace and employee access to union representatives and codifies union dues collection procedures. This measure was approved by large, bipartisan votes and will now go to the Governor for his likely signature.
Bills and Amendments Introduced During Veto
During the veto session there were several bills and amendments introduced that will be taken up in the new year. Below is a summary.
(Yingling-D-Round Lake Beach)...House amendment 1 provides that in an expedited proceeding, the Department of Human Rights, the Human Rights Commission, any panel of the Commission, or any Commission hearing officer may not shorten the filing period for filing charges under a specified provision (instead of shortening the "180 day charge filing period set by this Act or by rule"). In a provision concerning summary decisions, changes a cross-reference regarding the types of decisions eligible for a summary order. In provisions concerning settlement, court proceedings, court actions, circuit court actions pursuant to election, and circuit court actions by the Illinois Attorney General, changes cross-references regarding court proceedings. The bill is on Second Reading in the House.
(Gordon-Booth-D-Peoria) amends the Illinois Human Rights Act adding to the Employment and Elementary, Secondary, and Higher Education Articles, that "race" includes traits historically associated with races, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists. Sent to House Rules Committee.
Smoke Free Workplace:
(Link-D-Waukegan/Williams-D-Chicago) amends the Smoke Free Illinois Act to include the use of alternative nicotine products and electronic cigarettes in the definition of "smoke" or "smoking". This measure is in the House Human Services Committee.