May 29, 2018
There are three days left until the end of session, and there is progress being made on a budget. There is even a rumor running around the Capitol that legislators could be out by tomorrow, with a budget. Of course, that remains to be seen as negotiations appear close, but not there yet. But it's today's latest rumor.
The Illinois Chamber is closely monitoring the budget negotiations to ensure that gimmicks impacting businesses are limited. As we mentioned, budgeteers are optimistic and things continue to move along. However, several non-budgeteers at various times over the last week have mentioned closing loopholes to 'fix' some of our budget woes. Keith Staats, the Executive Director of our Tax Institute, continues to monitor this issue.
Not much remains pending for the legislature on the energy and environment front. Below is a quick recap of what we've got.
SB3156 (Mitchell/Aquino) passed the House on Monday. 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. The Chamber is exploring alternatives to clarify this issue. The bill heads to the Governor's desk.
Today, House Executive met, but did not consider SB1531 (Harris), Amdt 3 and/or 4.
It's still a little unclear what path this issue will take. The Chamber is opposed to SB1531, Amdt 3 and Amdt 4. SB1531 sets forth additional requirements for utilities and their engagement with low-income customers, such as expanding the use of deferred payment arrangements and that when uncollectible debt increases, other ratepayers will be on the hook for those costs. The bill also attempts to implement additional regulation on competitive energy suppliers and shift the regulation of competitive retail energy market to the Attorney General's office, rather than the Illinois Commerce Commission. Amdt 4 limits certain restrictions and regulations just to alternative retail suppliers and further regulates their interaction with low-income customers.
We hear another amendment could be offered, along with a resolution to ask the ICC to study this issue. Long story, short, this issue continues to evolve.
SB486 (Harmon/Currie) received a fourth amendment, making the bill an agreed bill. The bill provides a standardized property tax value for commercial solar energy systems and is on third reading in the House. The Committee passed the bill without opposition and it is on 3rd reading in the House. It would need to go back to the Senate for concurrence.
SB2591 (Bennett/Meier) establishes an Agriculture Impact Mitigation Act agreement with solar facilities. The bill has passed both Houses and heads to the Governor's desk.
Senate Energy and Public Utilities is holding a subject matter hearing on the Renewable Energy Resource Fund. As of now, I'm told the Illinois Power Agency and the Attorney General's office will be testifying. There is a lot of confusion, however, in what the hearing will discuss. We believe the hearing would discuss municipal utilities and rural electric co-ops and their participation in the Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan through the Future Energy Jobs Act, but again, there is a lot of confusion floating around on the issue. Either way, the hearing is tomorrow (Wednesday) at 8am.
House Environment is scheduled to meet at 8am. The Committee will consider a few bills dealing with electronic waste recycling, but so far nothing of major concern. SB2213 (Biss/Stratton), which isn't expected to be called and is not posted, received an extension to May 31st. We continue to monitor the issue closely and remain opposed.
SB3550 (Althoff/Sauer), Amdt 1,
which deals with the ewaste program and drop-off collection programs. The amendment is agreed to after stakeholder negotiations.
HB3248 (Althoff/Fortner), Senate Concurrence. The bill is a trailer bill to the e-waste program that passed last year and includes anti-trust language. Without this language, the manufacturer clearinghouse program would not be able to begin.
SB3309, (Schmipf/Bryant) would bring Illinois law in line with the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act provisions. It passed the Senate with no opposition.
HB4746 (Rose/Ammons), Senate Floor Amdt 1, which combines Senator Rose's previous bills that sets forth reporting and inspection requirements on natural gas storage facilities over the Mahomet Aquifer.
IS AN EDIE AWARD IN YOUR FUTURE?
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for the 10th Annual Economic Development in Illinois Awards - the Edies. The Edies honor outstanding economic development projects completed in the calendar year of 2017 that imagine, design, invest, build and bring jobs, growth and prosperity to Illinois communities.
Traditionally nominations are made by economic development leaders. Nominations are being accepted now until 5 p.m. June 15, 2018. More information can found on our website or contact Katie Stonewater at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JOIN ILLINOIS CHAMBER PRESIDENT & CEO AT ECNOMIC BREAKFAST SUMMIT
We look forward to you joining Illinois Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Todd Maisch as he speaks at the Economic Business Summit Breakfast in Des Plaines on June 20.
This event is being cohosted by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce and also features Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs. Topics that will discussed included legislative updates from Springfield, IL, and Washington, DC, business trends, labor force issues, and other timely topics that impact Illinois businesses.
For more information or to RSVP please click here.
SAVE THE DATE: ILLINOIS CHAMBER ANNUAL LUNCHEON - UNION PACFIC'S LANCE FRITZ KEYNOTE
Mark September 20, 2018 in your calendar to join us at the Hilton Chicago for the 2018 Illinois Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. This fall Lance Fritz, the chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Union Pacific Railroad will keynote this exciting event.
Union Pacific Railroad is one of two western-U.S. railroads that connects Illinois agriculture and industry to the West Coast and international markets. In addition, their heritage traces back to Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Pacific Railway Act of 1862, setting the wheels in motion that eventually connected the Pacific to the Mississippi River by rail-a fitting story for Illinois' bicentennial celebration!
Sponsorship opportunities are available and we look forward to seeing you there!