GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
Report    

November 15, 2019

This Week in Illinois 

This week wrapped up the final week of fall veto session and concludes the 2019 legislative session.  

One of the biggest news stories coming out of the busy veto session was news late Thursday night that Senate President John J Cullerton would be retiring. 

Speaking of retirements, this Government Affairs Report will be the last Government Affairs Report authored by me, Tyler Diers.  Albeit, I am not retiring but rather have accepted a new position in the government affairs arena.  It has been a pleasure to keep you all updated over the last four years on pertinent matters before the legislature.  Y our engagement on these issues and support of this organization has made Illinois a stronger and better place for business.  Thank you!

The House and Senate also released their 2020 Spring legislative calendar yesterday.  You can find those below:


Cannabis cleanup 
The Chamber successfully obtained language in the cannabis trailer bill to codify the workplace protections that were raised in legislative intent from the Spring session.  

The changes secured by the Chamber codify several key issues for employers and protects from litigation actions taken by an employer for random drug testing, pre-employment testing and for failure of a drug test. It clears up the concern that an employer might have to prove impairment when an employee fails a drug test. An employer still will need its drug and alcohol policy to meet the standards of reasonableness and non-discrimination. These changes provide greater clarity and protections to employers that need and want safe employees, safe workplaces and a safe public.
 
While we were unable to secure exemption of the medicinal marijuana law from the Privacy in the Workplace Act, we have commitments from the legislative sponsors and the Governor's Office that the issue will be dealt with next session.
 
The measure was approved by the House on a 90-20-1 vote and by the Senate 41-6-1 and now goes to the Governor for his signature.  Language of the bill can be found here.  


Paid sick leave passes Committee but held on floor 
SB 471 (Gordon-Booth) was advanced out of the House Labor Committee on a partisan vote this week.  This legislation would require all employers to provide paid time off to all employees. For each 40 hours worked, an employee is to receive 1 hour of paid time off up to 40 hours per year. It limits how an employer can implement the law and significantly reduces flexibility for employers as to how they design their leave and paid time off benefits.
 
The House sponsor met with the Chamber, other members of the business community, organized labor and women advocacy groups prior to the House Labor Committee hearing. There was an agreement to move the bill to the House floor and hold the legislation for an amendment that business and organized labor try to hammer out between now and when the General Assembly returns in 2020.
 
The Illinois Chamber with input from members of the Employment Law Council and other business groups drafted an amendment that focused on providing employers the flexibility to implement the requirement. Attached is a copy of the amendment. It does the following:
  1. Retains 40 hour paid sick time mandate, but provides greater flexibility for employer compliance;
  2. Employer definition the same as Wage Payment & Collection Act and limiting to Illinois employers of 25 or more and to Illinois employees;
  3. Preemption of similar local ordinances;
  4. Clarifies the calculation of how leave is earned, whether it can be carried-over and how an illness is certified; 
  5. Clarifies that the new Act does not provide additional time off for VESSA or the Federal FMLA;
  6. Reduces statute of limitations from 3 to 2 years, remove punitive damages from remedies and provide recovery of legal fees for employers when faced with a frivolous or meritless claim determined in a civil action at circuit court;
  7. Repeal of the Employee Sick Leave Act; and
  8. Effective date of July 1, 2020.

Tax
HB 3902 (Bristow) passed the Senate this week.  This legislation permanently reinstates the sales tax exemption for materials, parts, equipment, components, and furnishings incorporated into or upon an aircraft.  The Chamber supported this legislation, however, the Governor has made public comments that he intends to veto the legislation.  Shall the Governor issue a veto, we would expect the legislature to override his motion.  

Both houses approved SB 119 this week. This legislation contains clean up to various tax provisions that were passed during the spring session including but not limited to data centers, manufacturer's exemption, and collection of sales taxes.  The bill now heads to the Governor. 

Lastly, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's request for a graduated real estate transfer tax (or RETT) failed to garner support this session.  

Healthcare 
HB 3888 (Mayfield) failed to pass out of the Senate Executive Committee this week.   This legislation would have sought to further regulate and phase out the use of ethylene oxide (ETO).  The Chamber testified in opposition to this legislation.  You can view the video of our testimony here.  
 
Energy 
SB 671 passed out of the Senate and was referred to the House.  The bill would make changes to SB 9, coal ash legislation that passed this spring.  The Chamber opposed the bill as it does not make the necessary fixes called for during consideration in the spring and could have real implications for the operation of this program.  Senator Bennett agreed to hold a stakeholder process over the summer, but that did not happen.  We will continue to work to achieve needed fixes to the legislation.

Building Regulations
Both the House and Senate passed   SB 659  (Willis) this week.  This legislation would add additional requirements for sprinkler and fire alarm inspectors.   The Chamber is opposed to this legislation.  The bill now heads to the Governor where we will be requesting a veto 

Pensions
Both the House and Senate approved SB 1300 (Hoffman) this week.  This legislation is the Governor's initiative for local fire and police pension consolidation.  The Chamber was supportive of its passage.  The bill now heads to the Governor. 

Ethics Reform
Given the recent developments and recent federal probes into activity at the Illinois statehouse, legislators approved legislation to provide for ethics reform.  The two proposals are laid out under SB 730 and HJR 93.

Connect with the Chamber

  

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

Illinois Chamber of Commerce

2017 Government Affairs Report | Tyler Diers, Editor