November 30, 2018

This Week in Illinois 

The Illinois General Assembly wrapped up its final two week fall veto session this week.  Both the House and Senate for the current General Assembly are scheduled to come in for a two day lame-duck session prior to the new 101st General Assembly is sworn in on January 9, 2019.  The Senate calendar for 2019 can be found here and the House calendar can be found here.  Looks like next year will be a busy year...

All in all, the Illinois Chamber had a successful veto session with no major piece of hostile legislation becoming law.  In fact, the Illinois Chamber's Energy Council was successful in passing a bill (more on that below) out of both chambers in one day (not an easy task).  Several bills in which the Illinois Chamber supported or were able to negotiate away our opposition passed both chambers.  For a complete breakdown of this week's session, please see below.  

Employment Law
What originally was thought to be the Illinois Chamber's largest battle of the veto session ended up getting worked out.  Both chambers were successful in overriding the Governor's amendatory veto to SB 904 (Hastings/Hoffman), a bill that would have had drastic implications for workers' compensation costs.  The Chamber's Employment Law Council was able to negotiate our demands and our concerns were addressed with the passage of HB 3452   (Hoffman/Hastings) and  HB 200  (Hoffman/Hastings).  We will be urging Gov. Rauner to sign both of the trailer bills.  

The General Assembly was also successful in overriding the Governor's amendatory veto to SB 1737(Munoz/Hoffman).  This bill made changes to the workers' compensation insurance rates overseen by the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) and also addressed short term health insurance plans. The Chamber considered the provisions on captive insurance an overall net positive and supported overriding the Governor's veto.  The bill now becomes law.  
The General Assembly overrode the Governor's amendatory veto to HB 4743 , (Ford/Lightford).   This legislation amends the Equal Pay Act providing that no employer may discriminate between employees by paying wages to an African-American employee at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays wages to another employee who is not African-American for the same or substantially similar work on a job that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility and is performed under similar working conditions. An unjustified pay differential based on race already is a form of discrimination under the Illinois Human Rights Act.   The Chamber supported the Governor's amendatory veto because it appropriately provided protection against pay discrimination for all races. However, the bill now becomes law. 

Both chambers passed SB 849 (Zalewski/McGuire) this week.  The bill prohibits home rule units of government from taxing or imposing a fee on the generation of electricity or the emissions from electric generation.  The bill extended the sunset to January 1, 2021.  Amendment 2 was an initiative of the Illinois Chamber Energy Council.  The bill now heads to the Governor's desk where we will be urging his signature.  

The House Environment Committee continued to hold hearings this week on proposed amendments to SB 3101 (Sente).  The bill's amendments sought to regulate the use of ethylene oxide (EtO) in Illinois.  However, given the high profile nature and complexity of the issue, the sponsor decided to pull the bill from moving during veto.  The US EPA held a town hall hearing on EtO in Willowbrook last night.  Expect this issue to be picked up in 2019.  

Business Regulation
The House failed to override SB 2332 (Morrison/Lilly) this week. This bill would raise the age to purchase tobacco products to 21. The bill also eliminates the penalties for underage possession of tobacco products. The Chamber opposed this legislation as it punishes businesses for the decisions of individuals.  We expect this legislation to resurface in 2019.  

The Senate Agriculture and the Senate Public Health Committee held a joint subject matter hearing this week (no votes were taken) on SB 3429 (Biss).  This bill would create the Administration of Antibiotics to Food-Producing Animals Act. Further, it would provide that a medically important antibiotic may be administered to a food-producing animal only if prescribed by a veterinarian licensed vet who has visited the farm operation within the previous 6 months and only if deemed necessary for specified purposes. While no votes were taken, this issue may resurface in 2019.  The Chamber opposed this bill.  

SB 3051 (Claybourne/Hoffman), a technical change that clarified that the Illinois Water Systems Viability Act was not to sunset on the date included in final passage. The debate brought up opposition that was heard with the Systems Viability Act was originally debated in the spring, but ultimately passed out of both chambers - House (60-45-2), Senate (40-5-1). The Illinois Chamber supported the bill.

SB 482 (Zalewski/J. Cullerton) passed the Senate Executive Committee this week but failed to advanced out of the Senate.  This bill deals with sales taxation of aviation fuel.   The Illinois Chamber participated in last minute negotiations to the bill with stakeholders but an agreement was not met.  The Chamber opposed this legislation.  

The House International Trade and Commerce Committee this week held a subject matter hearing on a progress report on the Trade Policy Task Force's final report.  The Chamber testified on the importance of international trade to the Illinois economy and offered recommendations to the final report that will be submitted to Congress and the White House before the end of the year.    

Facebook is bringing Community Boost to Springfield next week, a program to help individuals and businesses expand their digital tool kit. The program is free and it's open to all! We are excited to be partnering with Facebook around this effort, and we hope to see you there! Don't delay, get the details and register here.

The first wave of the Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program has officially launched. The pilot program launched last spring and Secure Choice staff have been working with a small group of employers and employees over the last few months. 

The rollout is taking place in three waves, with the first wave starting this month. Employers with 500 or more workers (as reported to the Department of Employment Security) have already begun to receive notices to complete the registration and enrollment process before the end of November 2018. Below is the wave schedule:
  • May 2018 - Pilot Phase: Voluntary Employers of all sizes 
  • November 2018 - Wave 1: Employers with 500+ employees
  • July 2019 - Wave 2: Employers with 100-499 employees
  • November 2019 - Wave 3: Employers with 25-99 employees
Additional resources are available on our Program website at .   The Treasurer's Office, the chief administrator of the Secure Choice program, has offered up representatives to speak to businesses, local chambers, and employees on the program.  If you are interested in having them come out and speak to you or your group, please reach out to Tyler Diers.  

*Disclaimer, the Chamber opposed this legislation when it was going through the General Assembly but it is officially here and compliance is important.*

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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