August 3, 2018

This Week in Illinois 

The legislature remains in summer recess.  Several bills of importance to the Illinois Chamber await either signature or veto by the Governor.  We will continue to provide updates as actions on pending legislation are taken. Typically, the Governor takes action on legislation late on Friday.  As this is being written, the batch of governor action has not been released.  Those bills will be featured in next week's Gov't Affairs Report.  However for now, please see below on new bills signed into law over the last couple weeks.  

Gov. signs bill sending liquor control issues back to local gov
Yesterday, Gov. Rauner signed a bill, supported by the Illinois Chamber, removing an archaic and burdensome obstacle to small business development throughout the state.   The Liquor Control Act of 1934 prohibited the sale of alcohol within 100 feet of a religious institution, school, hospital or military station, and demanded that any exemption would require General Assembly approval. With the Governor's signature to SB 2436 (Nybo/Feigenholtz), this new law places such exemptions back into the hands of local liquor commissioners, effective immediately. The exemptions came into place post-Prohibition era to further regulate the sale of liquor.  However, the law has only became an unnecessary burden for restaurants and retail stores looking to sell products near certain locations.  Often times, businesses would need to wait months for the General Assembly to return to Springfield to grant their exemption.  Since the Liquor Control Act of 1934 became law, there have been 75 exemptions written into statute.  Today, these issues will no longer need resolve by the Illinois General Assembly.  

New law eliminates arbitrary cap on health club dues
This week, Gov. Rauner signed HB 4275 (Andrade/Steans). This bill would remove an arbitrary cap on how much fitness clubs can charge in yearly contracts. Previously, fitness clubs could charge no more than $2,500 a year.  The Chamber supported this legislation because it implements free market principles by removing the price cap.  Price controls obstruct the introduction of premium products consumers are demanding.  As an example, the high volume low price model employed by some businesses offers customers fitness memberships for as low as $10 per month. On the other end of the spectrum, some clubs offer a high price membership that carries extra benefits in the form of amenities, classes, and one-on-one instruction.  State government should not be in the business to tell fitness clubs how much they can charge.   This bill moves Illinois more in line with 47 other states that have no such cap. 

River Edge Redevelopment Zone  Tax Credit 
Gov. Rauner recently signed legislation expanding the historic preservation tax credit program.  SB 3527 (Stadelman/Gordon-Booth) expands the River Edge Redevelopment Zone (RERZ) Historic Tax Credit to communities statewide.   Established in 2012, the RERZ originally was a five-year pilot program allowing a 25 percent state income tax credit for qualifying projects in blighted, historic riverfront areas in Peoria, Rockford, Elgin, East St. Louis and Aurora.  With the Governor's signature this tax credit expands the tax credit statewide.  In addition, the new law adds a new $15 million credit for project administered by the Historic Preservation Division of the Department of Natural Resources.  The Chamber was neutral on its passage.  

New law codifies Dept. of Innovation and Technology
Gov. Rauner recently signed a law recognizing his executive order from 2016, creating the Department of Innovation and Technology.  Bipartisan support for the legislation reflects the state's commitment to improve cybersecurity, enhance employee work processes, and provide better services to Illinois citizens.  Cybersecurity has been a priority for DoIT. Since its inception, the agency has encrypted more than 5.8 billion records, protecting the personal and private information of Illinois citizens. DoIT launched the first statewide security operations center with 24/7 monitoring aimed at identifying risk and proactively responding to cyberthreats.  The Chamber supported this legislation.  

The Illinois Chamber and the Chamber's Business Services division has several events and webinars scheduled for this summer.  Check out or events calendar for more information or see below for some of the featured events this summer!

August 9th: Age of Agility Summit Illinois
We are living in a time of extreme and rapid innovations in technology, causing radical shifts in the workforce and, consequently, drastic changes are needed in how we educate students. Technologists, futurists, and business leaders alike are referring to this fundamental shift as the next Industrial Revolution. We call it the Age of Agility, and we are calling for changes in education that match the forces of change in the workforce and economy. 

Please join our partners at Empower Illinois and America Succeeds for the Age of Agility Summit Illinois on Thursday, August 9th from 7:00 am to 12:30 pm. This event will present insights and perspectives from business, education, and policy leaders on what the Future of Work means for restructuring the way we deliver education - helping us crowdsource strategies and solutions to take action within our state and across the country. Children only get one chance at a quality education. We must do everything we can to ensure that they get the education they need and deserve to succeed in the future.

The event is free to attend.  Click here to RSVP. 

September 20th: Annual Luncheon 
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!

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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