Executive Director Energy Council
June 3, 2019
That's it, the legislative session has ended until October 28
for veto session. Holy cow that was an interesting end. The legislature knocked out cannabis, a budget, graduated income tax, gaming, a capitol bill (vertical and horizontal), and won some big pro-business reforms. Several of those reforms and asks were initiatives of the Illinois Chamber. One of those was a tax incentive for big data centers, which will be a huge win for the state and bring some big energy users to our borders. For the full list of how things ended up, see our End of Session report sent out this morning. If for some reason you didn't receive it, let me know. Veto session calendars are
As we all know, multiple proposals were introduced to modify Illinois' energy economy this session. A total of six, none of them advanced out of either Chamber. Committee hearings and subject matter hearings were conducted. It is expected that negotiations will occur over the summer to attempt a package for the fall veto session, but no details yet.
Having session end without a big energy package was not without some major efforts moving or being tried. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't a bad session for the energy world. There were things we liked that passed, things we didn't. SB9, the coal ash bill still in need of additional improvements passed this session. SB9 can be improved, but will take a trailer bill. We also saw initiatives to codify environmental justice practices, expansion of individual access to judicial review, protecting critical infrastructure assets. Those bills did not pass. Again, some good some not so good. We expect we'll see many of these initiatives next year, along with possible attention toward a climate bill. Senator Bush made mention of it in Committee that her staff will be researching proposals over the summer to tackle next year.
Below is a wrap-up for where things landed for this session. My track list is here with bill numbers and final action, organized by final action.
Coal Ash State Regs Advance
regulates coal ash and passed both Chambers. It is the product of much improvement, but there are a few remaining issues that could have significant issues. Particularly how it will marry with impending federal coal ash rules and liability issues for off-site pollution. Without these changes, the risks to job losses and actual environmental harm are real. Opponents had been trying to work with the House and Senate sponsors' on language to mitigate these issues, but the Sponsors have been unwilling to amend the bill. When debated on the House floor, Representative Ammons committed that Senator Bennett will explore a trailer bill over the summer. The Chamber opposed the bill and will look to negotiating a trailer bill. For further information on the remaining issues,
see the attached one-page
Union Moves on Private Refineries and Ethanol Plants Stalls
(Hastings/Walsh) created the Illinois Hazardous Materials Workforce Training Act. It passed the Senate but did not pass the House. SB1407 would have required all construction and maintenance work at privately owned petroleum refineries, petrochemical facilities, and ethanol facilities within the state to be exclusively performed by members of certain trade unions. It was not considered in the House as part of Republican Leader Jim Durkin's requests in exchange for Republican votes on the remaining legislative issues at the end of session. Expect this issue to come back. SB1407
is an awful bill and sets an awful precedent that certain private companies in the refining and ethanol industries must pay prevailing wage on construction work.
Chamber Supported Bills
(Walsh/McGuire) provides a process to recycle plastic materials. It passed both Chambers. The Chamber supported the bill.
(Munoz/Mah) requires that IEPA provide public notice to legislators when permitting a new facility. It passed both Chambers. The Chamber worked with Senator Munoz last year on language to bring our position to neutral. While we still have concerns with the duplicative notice processes at the IEPA this bill creates, the language passed in SB1847 brings us to neutral. Representative Mah tried to amend the bill and replace it with language to codify environmental justice policies. She was not successful.
(Hurley/Koehler) would allow for the use of less onerous manifesting for transporting non-hazardous waste. It passed both Chambers. The Chamber supported it.
(Hoffman/Hastings) which sets stricter penalties for intentionally damaging critical infrastructure facilities, did not advance in the Senate. While the bill passed the House with bipartisan support by a vote of 77-28 and was amended significantly to appease environmental groups concerns, it was tabled in Senate Criminal Law Committee and not considered. Significant misinformation was being pushed out and opponents were arguing against points that no longer applied with the amendment. Nevertheless, it was not considered. The Chamber supported the bill.
Bills the Chamber Opposed But Passed
(Gabel/Ellman) repeals the Kyoto Protocol Act and passed both Chambers. The bill will enable state agencies to regulate greenhouse gases. The Illinois General Assembly passed the bill back in 1998 to prevent the state from going alone in attempting to regulate greenhouse gases, and rather join a national approach. We believe that any attempt to regulate greenhouse gases should be a national approach. The Chamber opposed the bill. Again, there were rumblings of action next year on climate change.
Efforts the Chamber Kept at Bay
(Gong-Gerschowtiz), dealing with judicial review, did not advance in the House. The bill was never called in House Judiciary-Civil Committee and referred back to Rules. The Chamber led efforts to oppose the bill. It was a repeat from last year and provides that a person suffering legal wrong or aggrieved because of a final administrative decision is entitled to judicial review to the same extent as a person who is a party. The bill also allowed new evidence to be submitted and applied to the Department of Ag, Transportation, Public Health, Natural Resources, and IEPA. The Chamber appreciates the support and work from our coalition members.
(Mah), which would codify environmental justice policies, did not advance in the House. The bill provides that the IEPA shall consider adverse impacts on environmental justice communities relating to granting a permit or permit renewal before publishing a draft permit for public comment. The bill would codify environmental justice policies that the IEPA considers now and adds requirements beyond current practices. The Chamber is opposed. It is likely this issue will be considered next year.
Bills of Note
(Curran/Durkin) sets forth various requirements for the use of ethylene oxide in Illinois, such as emission restrictions, trapping, and testing. It passed both Chambers. Both Chambers held multiple hearings and negotiated legislation to prevent against ethylene oxide leakages. The bills were in response to the Sterigencis facility issue in DuPage County. After much negotiation, the Chamber was neutral on its passage.
SB651 (Lightford/Gordon-Booth) implemented additional requirements on competitive retail electric suppliers. The bill was negotiated to become an agreed bill that requires marketing materials to contain a price-to-compare and notification to customers when rates will increase, among others. The Chamber did not take a position on the bill.
(Glowiak) was considered in the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee. The resolution, while non-binding, calls for the State to play a role in addressing climate change from a public health perspective. The Chamber testified on the bill, encouraging the Committee to consider that any approach to emission reduction efforts should include all technology types, including renewable generation, low-carbon energies or technologies such as carbon capture, among others. The resolution as drafted promotes only green energy production and disincentivizing reliance on carbon based fuels. Chairwoman Bush asked us to provide language to the resolution to include those points. The resolution, however, was never considered. Senator Glowiak did amend the resolution, but only removed the offending paragraph. That was not the Chamber's suggested language change. The resolution was not considered by the end of session.