May 17, 2019

This Week in Illinois 
House and the Senate returned to Springfield on Tuesday, May 14 and were in session through Friday, May 17.

Both chambers are scheduled to be in session next week Monday, May 20 through Friday, May 24. At this time, the House is scheduled for session next weekend through May 31. The Senate is scheduled to be off next Saturday, May 25, and Sunday, May 26, returning to Springfield for session on Memorial Day, May 27, through the end of the month.

The Senate Executive Committee held a subject matter hearing on Senate amendment 1 to SB 7 (Steans). There are numerous competing stakeholders and the bill has stalled with ongoing opposition. The Chamber provided testimony highlighting three principles that must be included to protect Illinois workplaces:
1)  Employers must be allowed to manage their workplace when it comes to cannabis or any other substance that impairs a worker, whether the worker is at an employer's physical location or engaged in work activities away from their formal workplace. For example, on-call workers or individuals that travel for their job such as salespersons.

2)  Employers that are required by government contract or wish to establish employment policies of zero tolerance or drug-free workplaces must be allowed to continue these policies without fear of litigation. These are common policies used by employers especially in safety sensitive industries such as construction and manufacturing.

3)  Employers also seek clarity and predictability that enforcing their policies in a non-discriminatory fashion will not place them in jeopardy of defending against their actions of discipline including termination of employment. Employers must clearly have the right to enforce their policies when an individual fails a confirmed drug test or refuses to be tested.
You can view Illinois Chamber Workforce Council Executive Director Jay Shattuck's testimony here.
The Illinois Chamber partnered with non-profit research group TRIP on the release a report detailing the high expense of poor infrastructure to Illinois drivers. The report focused on the cost to drivers, but transit, waterways, and air users also suffer increased costs from damage and delays caused by a lack of maintenance and investment in transportation infrastructure.
TRIP found Illinois drivers pay over $1,000 per year in extra costs due to poor infrastructure and broke down the costs by region. Media outlets around the state picked up the story and we also sent the report to legislators with a letter highlighting the emergency bridge closures in the Chicago and St. Louis areas as examples of increasing costs to drivers.

You can read the full report here and press release here.
Today, the Governor's Office released an outline of their capital proposal. We are encouraged to see details come out from the administration, but need more information to fully analyze the proposal.

The legislators who have been working on developing a bipartisan capital plan are continuing to meet and we will continue to work with all involved towards the best solution.

It appears that over six years the governor is proposing:
  • $12 billion more for roads and bridges
  • $3.2 billion for mass transit
  • $225 million for passenger rail
  • $350 million for CREATE
  • $35 million for ports
  • $70 million for air infrastructure 
Annual pay-as-you-go money for roads and bridges appears to be about $700 million and for transit about $165 million. Federal funds are included in the passenger rail amount and it is not clear how much (if any) federal, local, or private funds are accounted for in the CREATE number. You can read the full report is here.

SJRCA 0001 (Martwick) the Constitutional amendment authorizing the graduated income tax, is posted for consideration in the House Revenue committee on Monday, May 20. The Chamber continues to oppose the constitutional amendment in the House.

We are encouraging our members to take action by sending a letter to their legislators here.
HB 2491 (Walsh/McGuire) passed the Senate with no opposition and will be sent to the governor for his signature. The legislation provides a process to recycle plastic materials as a pilot program in either Grundy or Will county. Chamber supports this legislation.
SB 9 (Bennett/Ammons) passed House Energy and Environment Committee 19-11-0 and moves to the House floor. The Chamber and IERG have been working to get language that would fix a few remaining issues with the bill and have shared it with the sponsor. While many members of the committee encouraged the sponsor to work with industry on the language, it remains unknown if that will occur. The Chamber opposed the bill and IERG testified in opposition. 
HB 357 (Hoffman/Bennett) passed out of the Senate State Government Committee on party lines with a 6-3 vote and has been placed on the calendar for Third Reading in the Senate. The bill requires the state to procure products made in Illinois or the USA. The Chamber testified in opposition on the increased cost to taxpayers and the risk of retaliation from our international trading partners.  
SB 471 (Hutchinson/Gordon-Booth) was held in the House Labor Committee and the sponsor intends to call the bill next week. The bill would require employers to provide 40 hours of paid sick leave. The Chamber opposes this legislation, however, has an amendment to provide the sponsor that would address our concerns. 
HB 889 (Swanson/Anderson) passed the Senate Insurance Committee with a 12-0 vote and has been placed on the calendar for Third Reading in the Senate. This bill amends the Insurance Code to require an individual or group policy of accident and health insurance or managed care plan to provide coverage for long-term antibiotic therapy for a person with a tick-borne disease. The Chamber is opposed.  
SB 1240 (Link) adopted an amendment in the Senate Revenue Committee. The amendment was adopted by a 6-3 vote and this bill has been placed on the calendar for third reading in the Senate. This legislation would create a bag tax in the state of Illinois.  

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If you have questions about the Government Affairs Report, contact Tyler Diers at Do not reply to this email. 

Illinois Chamber of Commerce

2017 Government Affairs Report | Tyler Diers, Editor