We have thirteen days left of session. Lots of bills are being pushed to the 3
reading on the floor so we are keeping a close eye out, especially with politics playing heavily into this session. Otherwise, this week has been relatively light and so far, not a lot of rushing around is expected. The budget negotiations remain ongoing and we will likely see a replay of what happened last year with a Democratic budget passing and a Governor veto. All of this remains to be seen, however. Below is a recap of Committee activity and what's left for the week.
House Environment - Tuesday
The Committee met Tuesday and considered a few bills.
(Stratton/Biss) was not called. No word yet when the bill will be called, but it's possible it could also move to another Committee. We are keeping a close eye on its activity. As a reminder, the bill requires all state environmental and workplace safety regulations to remain as strict as they were on January 19, 2017. At this point, we should have the votes to keep the bill from advancing out of the Environment Committee.
Attached is our opposition sheet
(Mitchell/Aquino) passed favorably. The bill requires that Compliance Commitment Agreements (CCAs) be posted online within 30 days after taking effect. The Chamber learned of instances where companies that have entered into CCA's with the IEPA are being sued, despite the good faith effort of entering into the CCA and trying to resolve the issue. SB3156 would cause an increase in litigation on Illinois businesses. Therefore, we testified in opposition to the bill and offered an amendment that would add language to the bill that removes the threat of double jeopardy and provides that protection to companies to resolve their issues through the CCA instead of litigation that could be brought by a third party. Specifically, the amendment says that any complaint filed with the Pollution Control Board that alleges violations that are already subject to a CCA, or are being diligently prosecuted by the State, to be duplicative and the Board would not be required to hear a duplicative complaint.
(Ammons/Rose) extended the date for the Mahomet Aquifer Task Force to the end of the year and allowed for the report to be posted online. It passed the Senate and the Committee with no opposition.
(Ford/Harris) creates the Cook County Water Infrastructure Fund to provide grants to municipalities to fund infrastructure improvements to facilitate water supplies from Lake Michigan for residents of Cook County. The bill passed the Senate with no opposition, but only by the Committee 11-8.
(Fortner/Rezin) exempts local governments from fees collected on low-level radioactive waste generators. It is an initiative of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
(Bennett/Rose) removes requirement that a permit must be obtained to apply a commercially available algicide is not federal land, on private property, or community water supply source. The bill received some debate in the Committee over the toxicity of the algicide. The bill passed Committee 15-1.
House Agriculture - Tuesday
(Welch/Koehler) was moved to subcommittee in House Agriculture. The bill would prohibit small drilling wells from classifying as confidential. The Chamber opposed the bill.
House Public Utilities - Tuesday
(Martinez/Mah) were considered and passed with no opposition. SB2727 deals with counties and 911 public safety boards, and SB2908 requires telephone statements to be provided in Spanish.
Senate Environment - Thursday
The Committee meets to hear
(Walsh/McGuire), which allows for plastics to be converted back to crude oil and other useful products during recycling. The Chamber supports the bill.
House Revenue - Thursday
(Harmon/Currie) provides a standardized property tax value for commercial solar energy systems. The bill has received two amendments and could be considered in House Revenue Thursday.
: Keep an eye on SB577. It is a shell bill that was kicked to third reading in the Senate and was described in the Senate Assignments report as "Senator Raoul's shell bill". I do not know if this will become the vehicle for a modified version of
, but I wanted to raise it nevertheless. We heard from staff the Senator could move forward with language that would limit it exclusively to agricultural facilities such as Confined Animal Facilities. We have not seen language. The Chamber remains opposed.
NextGrid continues to chug along. The Chamber is engaged in three of the seven working groups and so far, we are three meetings into Working Group 4 - Community and Customer Engagement, and one meeting into Working Group 5 - Electricity Markets. Working Group 6 - Regulatory and Environmental Policy - does not meet until June.
Working Group 4 has been very focused on residential customers and determining how they value electricity and the grid. That ranges from the ability of the grid to support distributed generation choices, energy efficiency technologies, electrification, and AMI. Residential customers are important, but it's obvious that the business community classes must be considered as well. The Chamber has advocated that the commercial and industrial customer classes deserve equal consideration when drafting the report and has secured a working group session to discuss the unique needs of C&I customers and the priorities of the business community when determining future policies. In a nutshell, those include ensuring competitive energy costs; market-based solutions that promote competition; and technology neutral and a grid that can adapt. More as those presentations develop.