May 18, 2018

This Week in Illinois 
The countdown is underway until the scheduled My 31st scheduled adjournment.  Just 11 scheduled session days remain on the calendar.  The legislative leaders and governor continued to meet on the budget this week.  From post-meeting interviews, it appears as if discussions are going much better than previous budget negotiations.  Rank and file "budgeteers" also continue to meet on and off.  The budget situation remains very fluid.  

For a look at what bills remain active, please see below:

Business Regulation 
HB 4275 (Andrade/Steans) would remove the arbitrary cap on how much fitness clubs can charge in yearly contracts.  This bill moves Illinois more in line with 47 other states that have no such cap.  The Chamber supports this bill.  Status: Senate 3rd Reading.  

SB 2332 (Morrison/Lilly)    passed out of the House Health & Healthcare Disparities Committee today on a party line vote.  This bill  would raise the age to purchase tobacco products to 21. The Chamber opposes this legislation as it punishes businesses for the decisions of individuals. Status:  House 2nd Reading. 

Employment Law 
SB 2863 (Raoul/Hoffman) passed the House Labor and Commerce Committee this week.  This bill is substantially similar to HB 2525 that was vetoed by Gov. Rauner last year.  This bill is nothing more than fake workers' compensation reform.   Rep. Hoffman noted that the bill will not move as is and an amendment will be forthcoming.   Status: House 2nd Reading.  

HB 4595 (Fine/Biss) is identical to legislation vetoed by Governor Rauner last summer. This bill c reates a state-backed workers' compensation insurer.   The measure includes a $10 million loan from the IWCC Operations Fund. The fund is supported by fees paid by employers thru their WC insurance policies or directly by self-insured employers. $10 million represents one third of the Commission's budget.  The Chamber opposes.  Status: Senate  Judiciary. 

HB 4572 (Guzzardi/Castro) passed the Senate this week.  This bill amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to redefine "employer" to include any person employing one (currently 15) or more employees within Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks within the calendar year of or preceding the alleged violation. The Illinois Chamber opposes this measure. We are seeking a more comprehensive reform of the Human Rights Act that addresses the backlog of employment discrimination charges under the Human Rights Act. Status: Passed both houses. 

SB 2999 (Van Pelt/Conyears-Ervin) passed the House Labor and Commerce Committee this week.  As amended, SB 2999 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. Any rules and interpretation of law must be consistent with federal law. There are a couple additional changes we are pursuing in the House. The Chamber worked with the Senate sponsor on an amendment to remove our opposition.  The Chamber is currently neutral.  An additional clean-up amendment is forthcoming.  Status: House 2nd Reading. 

HB 4324 (Welch/Lightford) amends the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act requiring the Department of Labor to adjudicate claims under the Act within 30 days. IDOL is required to request that an employer deposit up to 10% of a disputed wage claim with the Department pending adjudication of the claim. Increases the administrative fees imposed upon an employer who has been demanded or ordered by the Department of Labor or a court to a pay wage settlement. Authorizes the placement of a judgment lien upon and employer's real estate and authorizes action under the Code of Civil Procedure for a citation or a supplementary proceeding to discover assets. The original bill created a nightmare of regulation and potential liability for business owners. The broad, strong opposition of business interests led to a more reasonable approach that House Labor Chairman Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville) helped persuade the proponents to accept. However, Sen. Lightford has filed an amendment that will unravel the agreement. We are urging the Senator to reject the amendment and move forward with the legislation as approved by the House.  Status: Senate Labor. 

HB 4081 (Rep. Halpin/Sen. Bennet) failed to receive the required number of affirmative votes in committee this week.  This bill creates the Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act which requires an employer that intends to relocate a call center or portions of a call center from Illinois to another state or a foreign country to provide notice to the State Treasurer at least 120 days before the relocation. Authorizes a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 for violations. Requires the Treasurer to compile and post on the Treasurer's website a list of employers that have relocated call centers. Requires an employer that relocates a call center from Illinois to another state or a foreign country to repay grants, loans, and tax benefits that may have been received. The Chamber testified in opposition, arguing that the Illinois WARN Act and the ability of DCEO to claw back state incentives in certain situations provide adequate protection that the legislation seeks.  Status: Remains in Senate Telecommunications and IT Committee. 

HB 2771 (C. Mitchell/Hutchinson) requires employers to provide 40 hours of paid sick time. The bill exempts unionized construction companies, certain railroad employees, school districts, park districts, and City of Chicago sister agencies. An employee may earn sick days after 180 days of employment. If this measure should be approved, we will be pushing hard for a Gubernatorial veto. Status: House Calendar for Concurrence Senate Amendments 1 & 2.

HB 4163 (Moeller/Castro) amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003 prohibiting an employer from: (i) screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history, (ii) requiring that an applicant's prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, and (iii) requesting or requiring as a condition of being interviewed or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment that an applicant disclose prior wages or salary. Prohibits an employer from seeking the salary, including benefits or other compensation or salary history, of a job applicant from any current or former employer, with some exceptions. Greatly expands civil penalties and injunctive relief. An amendment was placed on HB 4163 prior to its passage that eliminated an employer's wage differential defense does not apply if an employee demonstrates that an alternative employment practice exists that would serve the same business purpose without producing the differential and the employer has refused to adopt the alternative practice. This measure has a deadline extension to May 31st in the Senate.  Status: Senate Labor.

Yesterday, an extensive amendment to SB 577 regarding new notice and reporting requirements for sexual harassment were filed.    Briefly,  the amendment does the following:
  • Gives workers who experience harassment or discrimination two years to file a charge with the Department of Human Rights (currently, 180 days); 
  • Gives workers who file a harassment or discrimination charge with the Department of Human Rights the right to request a notice of right to sue after 180 days (a right they currently have under federal but not state law); (we expect this issue to be broken out and part of a different bill we have been working on as a broader reform of the Human Rights Act);
  • Requires public contractors and large employers to report annually to the Department of Human Rights on the number of settlements they enter into or adverse judgements against them related to sexual harassment or discrimination, and allows the Department of Human Rights to initiate an investigation of repeat violators.
Energy and Environment 
SB 2213 (Biss/Stratton) was note called for a vote this week.  This bill  Status: House Environment. 

SB 3156 (Aquino/C. Mitchell)  passed favorably out of the House Environment Committee this week.  The bill requires that Compliance Commitment Agreements (CCAs) be posted online within 30 days after taking effect.  The Chamber learned of instances where companies that have entered into CCA's with the IEPA are being sued, despite the good faith effort of entering into the CCA and trying to resolve the issue.  SB3156 would cause an increase in litigation on Illinois businesses. Therefore, we opposed the bill and offered an amendment that would add language to the bill that removes the threat of double jeopardy and provides that protection to companies to resolve their issues through the CCA instead of litigation by a third party.  Status: House 2nd Reading. 

SB 3005 (Raoul) has been sent back to Assignments. This could see an amendment before the end of session.  The bill, in regards to Illinois permitting processes, would further increase the cost of doing business in Illinois, hampering the growth and development of businesses throughout Illinois and new businesses looking to locate in Illinois. We continue to monitor the bill.  Status: Re-referred to Senate Assignments. 

HB 5198 (Walsh/McGuire) passed the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee today.  This bill allows for plastics to be converted back to crude oil and other useful products during recycling. Chamber supports.  Status: Senate 2nd Reading. 

HB 68 (Lang) would create a private right of action for patients, providers and other advocacy organizations to sue health plans for mental health parity, in addition to other problematic reporting requirements. This would dramatically increase healthcare costs on employers. Chamber is opposed as is.  The situation remains fluid.  Status: House 2nd Reading.  

HB 4146 (Fine/Steans) prohibits the modification of a health care plans coverage of a drug during the plan year if the drug has previously been approved for coverage. Chamber is opposed.  Status: House Special Committee on Oversight of Medicaid Managed Care. 

HB 3479 (Feigenholtz/Manar) amends the Medical Assistance Article of the Illinois Public Aid Code. Requires a managed care community network that contracts with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to establish, maintain, and provide a fair and reasonable reimbursement rate to pharmacy providers for pharmaceutical services, prescription drugs and drug products, and pharmacy or pharmacist-provided services. Chamber is opposed.  Status: Senate Human Services.  

HB 4508 (Sauer/Clayborne) passed the Senate this week.  This bill  m odifies the definition of "water or sewer utility" to remove language specifying  water or sewer service provided to 7,500 or fewer customer connections as provided by certain entities. Provides that appraisals of the fair market  value of the water or sewer utility.  The Chamber supports.  Status: Passed both houses. 

SB 3101 (Castro/Moeller) contains provisions requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to create a State beneficiary mitigation plan in accordance with specified consent decrees. Provides that the Agency shall establish the Volkswagen Settlement Task Force. Given the absence of business-industry on the task force, the Chamber opposed.  Status: House Environment. 

SB 3291  (Clayborne/Evans Jr.) passed committee this week unanimously.  This bill would preempt local drone ordinances in order to simplify and streamline drone regulations and ensure that Illinois law complies with federal guidelines. The Chamber supports.   Status: House 2nd Reading. 

After a tax-fatigued year last in 2017, little has moved on the tax front this session.

SB 2577 (Castro/Moeler) mirrors the South Dakota law before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Wayfair case. Provides, beginning January 1, 2019, that an out-of-state retailer is required to charge and collect Illinois Use Tax on sales to Illinois customers if the company makes either 200 sales into Illinois or has gross receipts from Illinois sales of at least $100,000 in a year. If the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of SD and abolishes the current physical presence requirement from the 1992 Quill case this law will be enforceable. If the court uphold the physical presence requirement it will not be enforceable. We are neutral on the bill.  Status: House Revenue and Finance. 

This week we also continued our efforts to amend the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act to roll back the egregious anti-business provisions of that law. SB 3229 (Harmon)  is an initiative of the financial industry and would modify some provisions of the Act. As discussed in prior newsletters, the language of SB 3229 that purports to eliminate the retroactivity of the Act does not eliminate the retroactivity problems inherent in the Act. We have engaged in discussions with Senator Harmon and his staff to highlight our concerns and provided amendatory language to the Senator to address the concerns of the business community. The Treasurer's office is strongly opposed to our proposed amendments. The Treasurer is strongly in favor of maintaining retroactive implementation of the Act.  Status: Senate 3rd Reading. 

SB 3238 (Harmon/Costello) coal equipment exemption extension.  Chamber supports.  Status:  House 2nd Reading.  

Ever since the House revived SB 1502, otherwise known as the "Right to Know" bill, there has been a lot of chatter about a potential amendment originating from the House. As you may recall, the bill as currently drafted 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. Currently, no such amendment has surfaced but we will continue to monitor the situation. 

SB 575 (Raoul) received another amendment this week.  This bill would seek to regulate microphone enabled devices (i.e. tablets, IoT devices, refrigerators, cars, etc.).  The Chamber is opposed to this bill and has able to help prevent the bill from advancing in April. Status: SFA 2 referred to Senate Judiciary. 

HB 5611 (Andrade/Martinez) passed committee last week unanimously. This bill codifies the Governor's executive order into law by creating an official agency within the state.  The Chamber supports.  Status: Senate 3rd Reading. 

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Illinois Chamber of Commerce

2017 Government Affairs Report | Tyler Diers, Editor