February 13, 2019
The Senate is out this week and the House is in Wednesday through Friday. While there are many committees scheduled, we do not anticipate a flurry of committee activity this week as minimum wage will be the focal point. New bill introduction for both chambers is Friday, February 15th. The Governor's budget address is next Wednesday and will lay out a somber fiscal situation for the state. The Governor released a report announcing a $3.2 billion budget deficit and we can expect the Governor will lay out ideas to address the budget hole next week.
Both the House Energy and Environment Committee and Public Utilities met but did not consider legislation posted for Committee. The Committee chairs took the opportunity to welcome members to the Committee, introduce staff, and commit to having an open door.
Schedule this week
Neither House Energy and Environment or Public Utilities are scheduled to meet this week. However, we are monitoring a few bills that could be called.
House Labor and Commerce
HB249, (Walsh) would have the effect of requiring all construction and maintenance work at privately owned petroleum refineries and petrochemical facilities within the state to be exclusively performed by members of certain trade unions. Another repeat from last year (SB2480), but discussions were continuing over the summer. It's likely minimum wage will take up the attention of the Committee, but the bill is nevertheless posted.
House State Government
HB356 and HB357, Buy America and Buy Illinois bills, sponsored by Representative Hoffman, are posted for Thursday. Both bills would force the state to limit their purchasing options to products made in Illinois or US, extending the preference for domestic products in the procurement code to include products mined or produced domestically. Not only would this bill have potential trade repercussions for Illinois, but it would also drive up the cost and extend the timeline for infrastructure projects. There is a provision to allow for a waiver if the domestic product is more than 12% more expensive than the foreign product, but this would still significantly increase the cost of projects. The Chamber opposes this approach. We do not yet know if the bill will be called.
New Bills of Note
HB2095 (Morgan) would require an environmental impact note to accompany every bill and proposed rule. If the bill's sponsor does not think the bill needs an environmental impact note, any member can request one be included and a majority vote must occur to override the sponsor's decision.
HB2171 (Morrison) would require natural gas utilities to demonstrate that existing customers will not subsidize the cost of new facilities beyond what is provided for in rules and in excess of certain payments by customers to approve new construction. Further requires the ICC's order for new construction shall address the economic impact on customers. This is a repeat from last year (HB5083).
HB2172 (Morrison) which requires a natural gas utility to submit with its annual filing certain information concerning existing and newly installed pipeline facilities to the ICC. Also a repeat from last year (HB5082).
SB1114 (Bush) allows a county, if it finds an imminent hazard to the public health or safety exists arising from an unfit condition, may bring an action for immediate injunctive relief. These can include garbage, human or animal waste, debris, or "other hazardous, noxious, or unhealthy substances or materials from a structure or property." While the bill is likely geared toward garbage, etc. it could include a host of other things with the general nature of "other hazardous substances...". The Chamber will meet with the Senator to better understand the bill's intentions.
SB1117 (Bennett) a placeholder for coal ash storage.
SB1183 (Anderson) would prohibit a public utility from charging non-residential electric customers at a rate over 10% higher than rates in the winter. Only applies to public utilities with less than 800,000 residents.
SB1184 (Fine) would ban the use of coal tar sealant in Illinois. The Chamber is opposed to this effort, which has been an effort for at least the last two General Assemblies.
SB1240 (Link) would impose a seven cent tax on each bag (paper, plastic, or compostable) used at a retail store. Defines how the revenue collected will be distributed.
SB1335 (Rose) would authorize state agencies to enter into Power Purchase Agreements for wind and solar development and to construct it on state property. It would designate the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center at the University of Illinois as the agency authorized to facilitate those agreements.
Solar Bill Announced
The Path to 100 Act was announced last week, which calls for increasing Illinois' renewable portfolio standard to 40% by 2030, up from 25% by 2025. The bill would include a series of other provisions designed to improve efficiencies to the REC program: improving the interconnection process, removing technical barriers to deployment, enhancing contract certainty, and others. Language for the bill has not been introduced but is expected soon. The bills will be sponsored by Representative Will Davis and Senate Energy and Public Utilities Chair Bill Cunningham.
Governor Pritzker Releases Transition Reports
- Commit to 100% clean and renewable energy
- Invest in clean water infrastructure, expand energy efficiency and energy storage efforts
- Electrify the state's public transportation sector
- Invest in energy efficiency at state-owned facilities, including offices and schools
- Calls for clean energy projects to be prioritized in a state capital bill (lead pipe replacement; prevent Asian carp; improve storm and wastewater management; create clean energy empowerment zones)
- Expand energy storage-related businesses and incentivize projects that propose locating at retired coal plants
Second Annual Women in Business Conference - March 15th!
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.
For more information, the agenda, sp
onsorship information, and how to register, visit the conference website!
Details of the Green New Deal being promoted in Washington have been introduced. H. Res. 109 calls for the creation of a Green New Deal, which is intended to redefine the national debate on climate change. H. Res. 109 calls for eliminating additional greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, creating millions of high-wage jobs and ensuring economic security for all, among other goals. To achieve this, the plan lays out a ten-year commitment to convert 100% of the power demand to "clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources", upgrade all existing buildings, and expand high-speed rail to eliminate the need for air travel. The resolution is nonbinding.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not announced plans for the House to consider the resolution, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to allow a vote on the Green New Deal. Republicans have seized on the Green New Deal to criticize its proponents as an ambitious plan to tackle climate change and as a "socialist fantasy". The resolution does not provide much detail beyond certain goals and broad avenues on how to achieve them. Costs for the plan are unknown. No date is set for the vote yet.
Articles of Interest