GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
Report    

May 3, 2019

This Week in Illinois 
 
The Illinois General Assembly has returned from its two-week spring break to a flurry of activity at the capitol. Both Chambers were in session Tuesday, April 30, and were in session through Thursday, May 2. Both Houses return Tuesday, May 7, through Friday, May 10. Friday is the House deadline to move substantive Senate bills out of committee and the Senate deadline to move substantive House bills out of committee.

GRADUATED INCOME AMENDMENT PASSES SENATE AND MOVES TO THE HOUSE
The Illinois Senate passed a package of bills that seek to implement a graduated income tax system in Illinois. 

SJRCA 1  (Harmon/Martwick)  passed the Senate on partisan lines  40-19-0 . The legislation  amends the Illinois Constitution to authorize a graduated income tax. 

SB 687 (Hutchinson/Zalewski) passed the Senate 36-22-0, with Democrat Senators Suzy Glowiak, Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, and Tom Cullerton joining Senate Republicans in voting NO. The bill amends the Illinois Income Tax Act to establish the new graduated income tax rates. The rates would become effective for tax years beginning January 1, 2021. 

The bill was amended to remove the requirement contained in SJRCA1 that would have required taxpayers filing joint returns federally, to file joint returns for Illinois income tax purposes. The proposed rates are:
 
For taxpayers who file a joint return:
4.75% $0-10,000
4.85% $10,001-100,000
4.95% $100,001-250,000
7.75% $250,001-500,000
7.85% $500,001-1,000,000
7.99% $1,000,000+ (includes all income)
 
For taxpayers who do not file a joint return:
4.75% $0-10,000
4.85% $10,001-100,000
4.95% $100,001-250,000
7.75% $250,001-350,000
7.85% $350,001-750,000
7.99% $750,000+ (includes all income)

The proposed constitutional amendment and the legislation now move to the House.

SB 689 ( Cullerton/Zalewski)  passed the Senate on a largely partisan vote 33-24-0 and heads to the House. The bill a mends the Illinois Estate and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Act to repeal the Illinois estate tax and the Generation Skipping Transfer Tax effective January 1, 2021. The Chamber did not take a position because the bill was a portion of a package of bills tied to the graduated income tax legislation.
 
SB 690  (Manar / Zalewski)  passed the Senate on a partisan vote 36-18-0 and heads to the House. As  amended, it is a property tax freeze bill that would extend the Property Tax Extension Limitation law beginning with levy year 2022, to certain school districts and limit the increase in property taxes to amounts approved by voters by referendum. The Chamber did not take a position because the bill was a portion of a package of bills tied to the graduated income tax legislation.

CHAMBER ENCOURAGES LETTER  CAMPAIGN ON GRADUATED INCOME TAX
Given the Senate's action, the Chamber is shifting focus to the House of Representatives where there is a real chance of defeating these job crushing proposals. The Chamber is urging Illinoisans to send grassroots letters to their state Representative asking them to VOTE NO on the graduated income tax.

You can easily send a letter by clicking here or going to https://ilchamberaction.org/engage/voteno

We are encouraging our members to share this link with their networks and encourage citizen response to this legislation.  

CHAMBER TRANSPORTATION MODERNIZATION BILL NOW INTRODUCED IN BOTH CHAMBERS
SB 2254 (Sandoval) Senate Committee on Transportation Chairman Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, introduced the legislation that is identical to HB 3823, that was introduced by Rep. AndrĂ© M. Thapedi, D-Chicago, in the House earlier this session. The Chamber-backed proposal combines a gas tax increase with the removal of the state sales tax on gas and other pro-business reforms to raise $2 billion for capital improvements. You can find out more about the Chamber's transportation modernization plan here

SENATE PASSES PAID SICK TIME LEGISLATION 
SB 471 (Hutchinson/Gordon-Booth) passed the Senate 24-15-0 and heads to the House. It provides for up to 40 hours of paid sick time for a number of issues including time off for personal or family criminal issues. Executive Director of the Chamber's Employment Law Council Jay Shattuck's opposition testimony in the Senate Executive Committee focused on the problems of a "one size fits all" approach the legislation takes. Some of the main points the Chamber would like the sponsor to consider:
  • Retains 40 hour paid sick time mandate, but provides greater flexibility for employer compliance.
  • Employer definition the same as Wage Payment & Collection Act and limiting to Illinois employers of 25 or more and to Illinois employees;
  • Preemption of similar local ordinances.
  • Clarifies the calculation of how leave is earned, whether it can be carried-over and how an illness is certified.  
  • Clarifies that the new Act does not provide additional time off for VESSA or the Federal FMLA.
  • 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.
  • Repeal of the Employee Sick Leave Act.
  • Effective date of July 1, 2020.
The bill is now in the House for consideration. The Chamber is working with other business groups on an amendment that encompasses the above points that we will be offering in the House negotiations.
 
FLOOR ACTION
HB 252   (Castro/Guzzardi) passed out of the Senate Labor Committee 11-6-0 and heads to the floor. The bill amends the Illinois Human Rights Act providing that "employer" includes any person employing one (instead of 15) or more employees within Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks within the calendar year of or preceding the alleged violation. The Chamber is opposed.  

HB 2233 (Mulroe/Thapedi) passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee 7-3-0 and heads to the floor. The bill amends the Code of Civil Procedure providing that within the discretion of the court, the jury may be asked (rather than required by the court, and must be required on the request of any party) to find specially upon any material question or questions of fact submitted to the jury in writing. The Chamber is opposed.    
 
HB 2460 ( Martinez/Collins/Davis) passed Senate Financial Institutions Committee 6-3-0 and heads to the floor. The bill codifies guidelines that a state agency shall implement sustainable investment practices and incorporate those into new and existing investment decisions. This is an initiative of the Treasurer's office. The Chamber does not believe there is a need to codify this policy, particularly when there is no restriction in law to prevent the Treasurer's office from considering these practices as part of their investment decisions. The Chamber is opposed.
 
HB 2764 (Koehler/Hurley) passed out of the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee without objection and heads to the floor. The bill would allow for the use of less onerous manifesting for transporting non-hazardous waste.  The Chamber supported the bill. 

HB 3481 (Ellman/Gabel) passed out of the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee without debate and along a partisan roll call 5-2-0 and heads to the House. It repeals the Kyoto Protocol. This statute restricted the state from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The Chamber supports a national approach to  regulating greenhouse gases.  Further, if this were done at the state level, it should not come at the discretion of state agencies without any input from the legislature.  The Chamber is opposed.   

EMPLOYMENT LAW ACTION TO WATCH FOR NEXT WEEK
HB 834 should be considered by  the Senate Labor Committee next week. The bill  prohibits employers from seeking wage and benefits history from job applicants. The Chamber continues to press for changes to the bill that protect the status quo on employer defenses and removes punitive damages as one of the new remedies being proposed.

SB 1829 (Bush/Willis/Eldy-Allen) has been assigned to the House Executive Committee. The robust  legislation regarding sexual harassment, disclosure agreements and employer reporting of incidents of sexual harassment. The  Chamber worked extensively with the Senate on changes to the introduced version and is "neutral" on the measure.

HB 2830  (Stave-Murray/Cullerton) is advancing in the Senate. The bill  amends the School Visitation Rights Act. As approved by the House, the legislation prohibits an employer from terminating an employee for an absence from work if the absence is due to the employee's attendance at a school conference, behavioral meeting, or academic meeting. Sen. Tom Cullerton, the Senate sponsor, has agreed to work with the Chamber on an amendment that tightens up notice and clarifies that no more than 8 hours may be taken for this purpose.
 
HB 2975  (Villivalam/Evans)  is in the Senate Judiciary Committee and posted for hearing next week. The bill  amends the Employment Contract Act prohibiting an employer from requiring as a condition or precondition of employment that an employee or person seeking employment waive, arbitrate, or otherwise diminish any future claim, right, or benefit to which the person would otherwise be entitled under state or federal law. An amendment has been filed to exempt professional, managerial and confidential employees from the Act. 


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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