GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
Report    

August 17, 2018

This Week in Illinois 

GOV. RAUNER TAKES ACTION ON BILLS 
The legislature remains in summer recess and the Illinois State Fair wraps up on Sunday.  Several bills of importance to the Illinois Chamber await either signature or veto by the Governor.  For many bills outstanding, the final deadline is fast approaching.  Expect action on several bills in the next 10 days.  For now, here are two bills that received Governor's action this week.  

Gov. vetoes expansion of employment discrimination law
Demonstrating again the importance of having checks and balances in our state government, Governor Rauner at the urging of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and other business groups vetoed HB 4572. The legislation 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. 

In his veto message the Governor noted, "The Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits unlawful discrimination in employment in Illinois, and, in most instances, applies to employers with 15 or more employees. This 15-employee threshold mirrors the federal definition of employer in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other anti-discrimination statutes enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This longstanding and well-reasoned threshold balances the need to foster fair, equitable and harassment-free workplaces across the State with the lopsided burden that discrimination claims impose upon small businesses and startups, in comparison to large organizations with in-house compliance, human resources, risk management, and litigation defense functions." 

He added in his message, "Moving away from federal best practices and Illinois' own current practices will discourage business creation, while maintaining greater consistency with this standard provides small businesses with predictability in their compliance efforts, and recognizes the distinct challenges that liability may pose for them." 

The veto now moves to the Illinois House for consideration during the November veto session. The vote in the House earlier this year for HB 4572 was seven votes shy of the seventy-one needed for an override. The sponsor, Rep. Guzzardi, has indicated he and the civil rights advocates will be pressuring Republican legislators to support an override, especially lame duck lawmakers.

Rauner signs Systems Viability Act
This week Governor Rauner signed a very important piece of legislation, HB 4508 which extends the Systems Viability Act (SVA). This law provides the option for municipalities to recover market value for their water or wastewater assets when partnering with a Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) regulated utility.
 
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce was part of a broad coalition that supported this legislation, joining labor and business groups across the state to help navigate and ensure passage. This is another tool that will help address Illinois' over $35 billion in clean water and wastewater needs over the next 25 years.
 
It is important to note that while this is a good option, its ability is limited without a sustainable, predictable, and robust infrastructure investment program. Not all water systems are in a position to take advantage of this option, and not all municipalities will take advantage of it. However, Illinois needs to provide safe reliable water systems to all of its citizens if we want to attract new businesses and residents to the state.

CHAMBER DISPATCH ACCEPTING ENTRIES 
The Chamber Dispatch blog is up and operating at  www.chamberdispatch.com .  If you are interested in submitting topics, we can post articles from any of our members - and categorize them to go into a specific category that best fits the topic.   Articles for the blog should be around 500 - 600 words and can/should be submitted with a photo to lsilvey@ilchamber.org .

CHAMBER HAPPENINGS
Sept. 20th: Annual Luncheon
Mark September 20, 2018 in your calendar to join us at the Hilton Chicago for the 2018 Illinois Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. This fall Lance Fritz, the chairman, president, and chief executive officer of   Union Pacific will keynote this exciting event.
 
Union Pacific Railroad is one of two western-U.S. railroads that connects Illinois agriculture and industry to the West Coast and international markets. In addition, their heritage traces back to Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Pacific Railway Act of 1862, setting the wheels in motion that eventually connected the Pacific to the Mississippi River by rail-a fitting story for Illinois' bicentennial celebration!

Fore more information and to register, click here.  
 
Oct. 24: Workers' Compensation & Safety Conference
The Illinois Chamber strives to provide the Illinois business community with timely information to ensure employers are up-to-date in all realms of business. Workers' Compensation is no different. This confusing and oft-abused statute is one employers and their employees need to be familiar with to in order to stay in compliance. This conference is designed not only to inform, educate and assist employers on how to be in compliance, but also to show employers how to reduce their workers' comp costs in the process.

For more on the agenda and to register, click here.  

Connect with the Chamber

  

If you have questions about the Government Affairs Report, contact Tyler Diers at tdiers@ilchamber.org. Do not reply to this email. 

Illinois Chamber of Commerce

2017 Government Affairs Report | Tyler Diers, Editor