August 31, 2018

This Week in Illinois 

The last two weeks have been a busy two weeks for bill action by the Governor.  Tuesday marked the 60 day deadline for the Governor to act on many pending bills on his desk.   Currently, there are only two bills remaining that need action - most notably the Wage History bill (HB 4163).  But for now, let's take a look at bills the Governor has signed, vetoed or amendatorily vetoed.  

Bills Vetoed or Amendatory Vetoed by the Governor
This week Gov. Rauner issued an amendatory veto on SB 904  (Hastings/Hoffman).  This bill would have allowed medical providers to pursue the 1% per month interest penalty on unpaid workers' compensation medical bills in circuit court. We believe SB 904 as approved by the General Assembly would have created a quagmire for the medical billing and payment process. While there are elements of the legislation that merit attention, other provisions will work against the employer community in assuring medical services are necessary and the charges are reasonable. One only needs to look to the chaos in California which changed its medical billing adjudication process a few years ago. As Governor Rauner aptly noted in his AV message, "SB 904 is not reform, does nothing to assist injured workers and dramatically tips the balance in favor of medical providers in a system where Illinois has the second highest medical fee schedule in the country for overall professional services and the highest in the country for major surgery services." 

The Illinois Chamber continues to be willing to negotiate changes that resolve the issues raised by the Medical Society in SB 904. Those changes must be fair and reasonable to the employer members of the Illinois Chamber. We will vigorously fight to prevent SB 904 as passed by the General Assembly from becoming law. An override of the Governor's amendatory veto will require 36 votes in the Illinois Senate and 71 votes in the Illinois House.

This week the Governor also amendatorily vetoed  SB 1737 (Muñoz/Hoffman).  As sent tot the Governor, this bill does several things, among them include: updating the captive insurance regulatory structure to help Illinois overcome its competitive disadvantage in this area; a dds new rate regulation for workers' compensation insurance; i ncreases clarity for domestic stock companies undergoing corporate divisions; e stablishes new regulations for short-term limited-duration health plans (STLDs) and workers' compensation insurance; and m ade changes in collateral requirements to bring Illinois in equivalence with international regulatory frameworks.  The Governor's amendatory veto eliminated from the bill the new workers' compensation rate regulation changes and the new regulation of STLD health insurance policies.  While the Chamber did not support the workers' comp provisions in the bill, we urged the Governor the sign to bill due to the necessary changes to captive insurance.  

At the request of the Illinois Chamber, Gov. Rauner vetoed SB 2921 (Cunningham/Welch).  This legislation amends the State Treasurer Act to authorize the Treasurer to purchase and renovate a building. The State Finance Act is amended to divert funds collected from Illinois businesses under the deeply flawed Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act ("RUUPA") enacted over the 32% tax icnrease last year (SB9). 

Under existing law, these moneys are dedicated for the funding of the unfunded liabilities of the State retirement systems. SB 2921 would a portion of the funds earmarked for the pension systems. RUUPA is improperly retroactive, has a supposed statute of limitations that is illusory, includes estimation provisions that will lead to unrealistic and inflated assessments, authorizes the Treasurer to utilize third-party contingent fee auditors to harass and extort the business community, and in combination with the foregoing imposes a stealth tax increase on Illinois businesses by eliminating the longstanding business-to-business exemption. In these times of necessary fiscal austerity, the business community should not be subjected to a hidden tax and the Treasurer should not be spending funds improperly diverted from Illinois businesses to purchase and renovate a building. We will work to sustain the Governor's veto.  

Last week, Gov. Rauner issued an amendatory veto on  HB 4743 (Ford/Lightford) that sought to add African-Americans as a protected class under the Illinois Equal Pay Act. During the consideration of the legislation, the Chamber informed the sponsors and legislative staff of the duplication the change would cause as pay differentials already are prohibited under federal law and the Illinois Human Rights Act. We also suggested that if public policy is to add races such as African Americans to the Act, it would be more appropriate to add all races to the law.  Governor Rauner's amendatory veto follows our suggestion by adding to the Illinois Equal Pay Act by broadening the bill that maintains the spirit of the bill.  

Last Friday, Gov. Rauner vetoed SB 2332 (Morrison/Lilly).  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.  

Bills Signed by the Governor
Hailed as one of the Chamber's legislative victories this year, the Governor signed  SB 20 (Steans/Currie).  This bill contains extensive procedural changes to the Illinois Humans Rights Act and significant structural changes to the Illinois Human Rights Commission to provide for full-time, professional commissioners.  The Chamber heavily pushed these reforms, especially addressing the backlog at the Human Rights Commission. 

Last week the Governor signed SB 3285 (Sims/Bristow).  This bill Creates the Illinois Home Grown Business Opportunity Act. Provides that the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity shall develop an economic plan to assist businesses and municipalities located geographically close to bordering states.   The Chamber supported this measure.

The Governor also signed SB 2999 (Van Pelt/Conyears-Ervin).  This bill requires an employer to reimburse an employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee directly related to services performed for the employer. It requires that the expenditure must be within the scope of employment, authorized or required and appropriate documentation is provided.  The Chamber worked out an amendment to remove our opposition and were neutral on its passage.  

The Governor signed  HB 4516 (Fine/Morrison), an insurance mandate covering hearing aids for children under the age of 18. The Chamber originally opposed as mandates increase healthcare costs, but we went neutral after amendments limited the scope of the legislation. You can read the press release  here.

HB 1595 (Stuart/Haine) was also signed last week.  This bill amends the Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act and provides for reasonable break time (instead of "unpaid break time each day") during the first year after the child's birth each time the employee needs to express milk. The break time may run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee and an employer may not reduce an employee's compensation for time used for the purpose of expressing milk or nursing a baby. An employer shall provide reasonable break time as needed by the employee unless to do so would create an undue hardship as defined by the Illinois Human Rights Act. The Chamber worked out an amendment and was neutral on its passage. 

And lastly, this week the Governor signed  SB 336 (Harmon/Cassidy).  This bill expands medical cannabis as a pilot program for patients who have received a physician certification for a medical condition that an opioid has been or could be prescribed for by a physician. 

It is not uncommon for lawmakers to file bills during an election year. Below contain many bills filed over the summer thus far.  Many of these bills are filed to demonstrate they are working on a specific issue for their constituents.  However, that does not mean these bills should be ruled out.  Many of them may receive hearings over break or may be advanced during veto session in November.  

SB 3626  (Manar) Amends the Public Utilities Act. Provides that on and after the effective date of this amendatory Act, the members of the Illinois Commerce Commission shall be appointed to establish and maintain the following pattern of regional representation: 2 members from those counties other than Cook County and the 5 counties contiguous to Cook County, one member from Cook County, one member from one of the 5 counties that are contiguous to Cook County, and one member at-large. The pattern of regional representation shall be established by the third Monday of January, 2023. Effective immediately

SB 3623  (Munoz) Amends the Environmental Protection Act. Provides that when a permit is required that may impact either air pollution or water pollution, notice shall be provided to the State Senator and House Representatives of the district where the facility will be located and the public within 15 days from the date the application is filed.

HB 5930 (McSweeney)   Amends the Medical Assistance Article of the Illinois Public Aid Code. Requires the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to establish, by rule, minimum quality standards for providers of medical supplies, equipment, and related services applicable to contracted managed care organizations for all services rendered to MCO enrollees. Requires the minimum quality standards to be based upon recognized national standards promulgated by national bodies and by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Requires the Department to set a rate of reimbursement payable by contracted managed care organizations to contracted, in-network providers of medical supplies, equipment, and related services at the default rate of reimbursement paid under the Illinois Medicaid fee-for-service program methodology for such medical supplies, equipment, and related services in effect as of June 30, 2017. Requires contracted managed care organizations to offer a reimbursement rate to contracted, in-network providers of medical supplies, equipment, and related services at not less than 90% of the default rate of reimbursement paid under the Illinois Medicaid fee-for-service program methodology, including all policy adjusters, for such medical supplies, equipment, and related services of similar quality. Provides that these provisions shall not be construed to allow the Department or its contracted MCOs to enter into sole source contracts for the provision of durable medical equipment, supplies, or related services to Medicaid beneficiaries and Medicaid managed care enrollees. Effective immediately.

HB 5940 (Williams)  Amends the Transportation Network Providers Act. Provides that a transportation network company shall establish and maintain a 24-hour law enforcement contact hotline. Provides that the hotline shall be used for the receipt of inquiries, comments, and other input or requests from law enforcement within this State. Provides that the hotline shall be staffed by personnel located within the United States.

SB 3621  (Nybo) Creates the Protect Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation Act. Provides that any investment adviser, salesperson, or other financial personnel who reasonably believes that financial exploitation of an eligible adult may have occurred, may have been attempted, or is being attempted shall promptly notify the Securities Director of the Securities Department and may also notify any third party previously designated by the eligible adult. Grants such persons immunity from any administrative or civil liability that might arise from such governmental or third-party disclosures. Provides that an investment adviser, salesperson, or other financial personnel may delay the disbursement of funds from the account of an eligible adult or any account that an eligible adult is a beneficiary of if financial exploitation is suspected. Provides that any delayed disbursement of funds shall expire upon the sooner of: (i) a determination that the disbursement will not result in financial exploitation of the eligible adult; or (ii) 15 business days after the date upon which the funds were first delayed, unless the Securities Director requests an extension. Permits a court to enter an order extending the delay of the disbursement of funds or to order other protective relief. Grants immunity to any investment adviser, salesperson, or other financial personnel from any administrative or civil liability that might arise from a delay in the disbursement of funds. Requires an investment adviser, salesperson, or other financial personnel to provide access to or copies of records that are relevant to the suspected or attempted financial exploitation of an eligible adult to State agencies charged with administering State adult protective services laws and to law enforcement. Defines terms. Effective immediately.

HB 5949  (Parkhurst) Amends the Illinois Income Tax Act. Creates an income tax deduction in an amount equal to the out-of-pocket costs incurred by a taxpayer during the taxable year for expenses associated with long-term care for the taxpayer or the taxpayer's family member. Effective immediately.

HB 5931 (Skillicorn)  Amends the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act of the Illinois Municipal Code. Provides that new redevelopment project areas may not be established under the Act until 2 years after the effective date of the amendatory Act. Repeals the provisions 2 years after the effective date of the amendatory Act. Effective immediately.

HB 5946  (Andersson) Amends the State Police Act. Provides that the Department of State Police shall establish, by rule, a standing security protocol for the use of a three-dimensional printer located on the property of a public library, elementary or secondary school, college, community college, or State agency as defined in the Illinois State Auditing Act on or before January 1, 2019. Provides that each entity shall implement the standing security protocol adopted by the Department on or before July 1, 2019. Provides that to the extent that the standing security protocol conflicts with the use a three-dimensional printer for legitimate academic research, a waiver may be issued by the head of the entity or the head of the department of that entity for its continued use. Effective immediately.

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2017 Government Affairs Report | Tyler Diers, Editor