February 2, 2019

This Week in Illinois 

The Illinois legislative session is officially in full swing! 
The House and Senate were in this week, however, given the cold temperatures, the House was sent home. The Senate stayed in this week but legislative action was relatively slow.  The Senate did, however, hold a subject matter hearing on raising the minimum wage in Illinois.  
The proposed statewide $15 an hour minimum wage will be an 82 percent increase when fully enforced. The Chamber remains adamantly opposed because it will harm small businesses, kill jobs and eliminate opportunities for the workers who need them the most. While efforts to mitigate the damage have been offered by proponents, none we have seen so far come close to justifying nearly doubling our minimum wage. 
Last Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court dealt a blow to the business community by reversing an appellate court decision in Rosenbach v. Six Flags. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that plaintiffs don't need to allege actual harm in order to qualify as an "aggrieved" person under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).  
Potential damages under BIPA can be substantial, 
ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 per violation. It's unclear at the moment what will happen next, however, the Illinois Chamber expects more lawsuits to follow in the wake of this decision. Employers who utilize biometrics in the workplace for either timekeeping or security should immediately take steps to comply with the statute.  
Also last week, the Chamber Foundation joined our partners in releasing a report that showed Illinois has had significantly weaker growth in data center markets than surrounding states that have data center incentives. 
The report, published by Mangum Economics, compares the disparity of data center capital investment growth and jobs created between Illinois and neighboring and competitive states and examines the state tax policies used to attract and grow the industry.
Today, 30 states have incentives specifically targeted at attracting data centers as part of expanded economic development efforts. Since 2012, 24 states have enacted legislation aimed at capturing a greater percentage of data center growth.
Illinois should consider these tax incentives to ensure the direct and indirect benefits from the construction, operation, and ancillary growth that occurs over the lifetime of these facilities.

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Illinois Chamber of Commerce

2017 Government Affairs Report | Tyler Diers, Editor