April 7, 2018

This Week in Illinois 

Both the House and Senate are on their last week of Spring recess this week.  The House is scheduled to return to Springfield on Monday, whereas the Senate is scheduled to return to town on Tuesday.  

Next week is the deadline week for bills to advance out of committees.  Therefore, there are a lot of bills that have major implications that are scheduled for next week.  The large amount of pending legislation also makes it difficult to determine at this moment what bills will move and what bills will either die or have a deadline extension.  Upon adjournment next week, we will have a better idea of what legislation will be moving for the remainder of the session.  

This is the last call to register for next week's Chamber Day.  This inaugural event will bring in local chambers and Illinois Chamber members to Springfield for an eventful day focused on policy advocacy.  The event features a lunch keynote from Governor Rauner, Democratic nominee for state's Attorney General Kwame Raoul and GOP nominee Erika Harold, healthcare and immigration discussions, tax reform implications, and much more!  On Wednesday, we will also be releasing our midterm scorecard ratings for the House and Senate elected officials.  To cap the things off, there will be a reception at the Chamber's Springfield office at the end of the day.  To view the agenda, click here.  The cost to register is only $49.  Don't delay, register HERE today!  

Yesterday, the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee held a subject matter hearing on the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's plan to distribute Volkswagen trust settlement funds.   The Illinois EPA has been designated as the lead agency to administer funds allocated to Illinois from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. Illinois' initial allocation of funds is $108 million to be used to fund mobile source projects. The funds are to be used for projects that reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides in Illinois.  

Illinois headquarters many of our nation's top manufacturers that create vast amounts of jobs across the state. The Illinois Chamber supports the Illinois EPA's  commitment to ensuring sufficient money in the plan goes to clean vehicles and clean locomotives while offering employers of all kinds the ability to access the plan. Investing in Illinois' heavy industry, infrastructure and business community is a chance to maximize our state's economic growth.  Opponents to the Illinois EPA's plan would prefer to have all monies from the settlement to go to electric vehicles.  

Our state faces many economic and environmental challenges, but we support the balanced approach of policy that encourages business growth with smart environmental investment.

This week, a bill opposed by the Illinois Chamber last year and defeated in the House has resurfaced.  SB 1502 (Hastings/Turner), otherwise known as the "Right to Know Act" has been kicked out of the House Rules Committee and placed on the order of consideration in the House.  After its slim passage in the Senate last year, SB 1502 failed to receive the required votes to advance to the Governor's desk.  Given the bill failed on the House floor by five votes, the House still has one more chance to pass the bill.  

If enacted, this bill would require websites and online services to post a privacy policy identifying the categories of personal information they collect and respond to consumer requests for all categories of personal information that was disclosed.  
This bill applies to any information that "identifies, relates to, or describes" an individual.  It includes things like a person's name, address, or photograph, but also "deidentified" or anonymous information such as "alias, nickname, and user name," or IP addresses. 
The proposed legislation would require small businesses across our state to create massive databases of personal information about their online customers/users that would not otherwise have to create or collect. Many businesses will also have to pay extra to keep these databases secure from hackers   and identity thieves, hire or train staff to respond to consumer requests and purchase more insurance in case of a data breach.
The Chamber is opposed to this legislation as it would add increased costs to small businesses, employee training and insurance costs.  I f business owners do not comply in the exact way this legislation is written, they could be forced into expensive and superfluous lawsuits.
Many businesses will be forced to hire lawyers to draft privacy policies for their websites that ultimately don't benefit consumers.  

The Chamber team is monitoring the situation and will provide information as it becomes available.  

This week the Chamber joined a diverse coalition of more than three dozen business and agricultural organizations to oppose SB 3005 (Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago) and HB 5119 (Rep. Steven Anderson, R-Geneva).  Thee two bills would further slow-down an already cumbersome state permitting process by allowing any person, including non-Illinois residents, to sue state agencies. Most importantly, there is already a process in place for reviewing permits which allows for affected parties to weigh in. 

The legislation currently has been refined to apply only to permitting decisions by the Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Transportation, Public Health, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
This would open the floodgates for interest groups to interject in administrative decisions before the State of Illinois, causing severe logjams, excessive litigation and further undermine the ability of businesses in Illinois to obtain the necessary approvals to operate in the state. Proponents of the legislation have stated in committee hearings they are seeking opportunities for more lawsuits to challenge state decisions. This not only impacts the activities of state government, but also the health and safety of the public, and the operation of our whole economy.
The permitting process for state agencies differs vastly. The central theme, however, is that there are opportunities for the public and third parties to engage in the process and the State is responsible for eliciting those comments and concerns and considering them when determining whether to grant a permit. This bill upends decades of carefully balanced negotiation designed to put the best interest of Illinois' citizens first. The existing permitting process engages public opinion and threads the desires of the public with the health, safety, security, and economic opportunity the State is obligated to provide its citizens.
This legislation has been amended twice and began much more broadly than it is now. The drafters included all state agencies in the underlying legislation, either not appreciating its impact or not caring. No matter how this legislation changes, or what industries or agencies may later be carved out, we oppose the concept and the precedent it sets. Efforts to layer on burdensome requirements to increase lawsuits in the state and bog economic activity down for our businesses, farmers, and citizens is just bad policy. Particularly when public protections are already in place.  We encourage members to reach out to your elected officials in the Senate to voice your opposition to this bill.  

Earlier this week, Vice President of Policy & Executive Director of the Infrastructure Council Benjamin Brockschmidt led off a subject matter hearing on the potential impacts of President Trump's infrastructure proposal. While the proposal has a number of components with varying levels of good/bad, none of the proposals are in legislative format. Without seeing the details of this language, it is impossible to accurately support or oppose either the plan as a whole or individual components. We will continue to monitor this as more information comes out.

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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