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January 13, 2021

This Week in Illinois 

Illinois House of Representatives Welcomes New Speaker 
The Inauguration of the 102nd General Assembly also brought the election of a new Speaker of the House. Representative Emanuel "Chris" Welch (D) was elected to lead the lower chamber, replacing long-time Speaker Michael J. Madigan. Representative Jim Durkin (R) will continue to serve as House Republican leader. Regarding Rep. Welch's election, the Chamber released the following statement:

"The Illinois Chamber would like to congratulate Representative Emanuel "Chris" Welch on his election today as Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. Speaker Welch will be the first new speaker in the lifetime of many Illinoisans. It is no secret that Illinois faces a number of challenges including its budget and business climate, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Illinois Chamber hopes to work collaboratively with Speaker Welch to better the state's economy and jobs climate."  

McConchie Officially Elevated as GOP Leader
Senator Dan McConchie also began his first day as Senate Republican Leader. Leader McConchie has served in the upper chamber since 2016 and will replace retired Senator Bill Brady (R). Senate President Don Harmon (D) will remain in his current role. 

Lame-Duck Session Highlights 
On Friday, January 8th, the Illinois General Assembly reconvened during the lame-duck session. Large swaths of new legislation were introduced with sweeping implications for the Illinois business community. On these issues, the Chamber filed numerous witness slips within committee and was one of the only groups to testify against HB 5871, the Economic Equity Act, which did not pass. This was the first meeting of the Illinois General Assembly since the recess of the Legislature's special session on May 23rd, 2020. 

Detailed below is some of the most critical legislation lobbied by the Illinois Chamber during the lame-duck session. Listed first are the bills that passed both houses. Listed second is legislation that failed to advance, in part due to the advocacy of the IL Chamber. 

Bills passed out of both Chambers
  • HB 4276 Workers compensation. This bill passed out of the Senate by a vote of 55-0 and passed the House 113-0. This bill concerns the extension of rebuttable presumption and workers compensation dealing with COVID-19 until June 30th. 
  • SB 54  Alcohol delivery. This bill passed out of the House by a vote of 105-7 and passed the Senate by a vote of 50-0. This bill concerns the delivery of alcohol from distributors to consumers. Stating that nothing within the Liquor Control Act of 1934, except for provisions concerning prohibited sales, shall restrict or interfere with a retailer's delivery of alcohol. Acceptable methods of delivery, such as the use of third party contractors, are specifically outlined.  Also, this bill limits home rule powers to regulate alcohol delivery for municipalities with less than one million residents. The Chamber supports this bill.
  • SB 1480  Employment. This bill passed out of the House by a vote of 70-43 and passed the Senate 31-15. This bill states that it is a civil rights violation for any employer to use a conviction record as a basis to refuse to hire, to segregate, or to act with respect to recruitment, hiring, promotion, conditions of employment, and further requirements concerning conviction records provided there is not a direct connection to the job duties. 
  • SB1608 Procurement. This bill passed both the House and Senate late last night by a vote of 70-39-1 and 32-15 respectively. This bill specifies further requirements in the awarding of State contracts under the act concerning diversity and underrepresented groups. It also amends the Illinois Procurement Code. This would allow for the cancellation of contracts for not meeting "aspirational goals".  The Chamber has concerns with this legislation due to the burden it places on contractors doing business with the State. 
  • SB 1792  Cannabis/farming/payday loans. This bill  passed out of both the House by a vote of 110-0-2 and the Senate by a vote of 35-9. The bill requires the Department of Agriculture to conduct a study and use the data collected to determine economic and other disparities associated with farm ownership and farm operations in this State. This legislation also makes payday loans restrictions. 
  • SB 1980  Housing. This bill passed the House by a vote of 113-0 and passed the Senate by a vote of 46-0. This bill requires housing authorities to collect information concerning the denial of assistance on the basis criminal history records. 
  • HB 3360  Civil justice regression. This bill has passed out of both the House by a vote of 69-42-1 and the Senate by a vote of 38-17-2. This bill provides that a plaintiff shall recover prejudgment interest on all damages set forth in a judgement.  In addition, the prejudgment interest shall begin to accrue on the date the defendant has notice of the injury from the incident itself or a written notice.  The court shall add to the amount of the judgment interest on the amount calculated at the rate of 9% per annum. The Illinois Chamber opposed this legislation. 
Key Bills that Failed to Advance 
  • SB 1199  Tax increase. This bill had its consideration postponed after being debated extensively on the House floor and failing to reach 60 votes. The bill would have allowed the State of Illinois to decouple from a provision in the CARES Act that allows sole proprietors, shareholders of Subchapter S corporations and partners of partnerships to carryback net operating losses to income years and obtain refund in taxes.  The Chamber opposed this legislation as it would have  removed a much-needed source of cashflow for struggling businesses.  However, there were some favorable provisions for online retailers supported by the Chamber in this bill. 
  • HB 3840  Healthcare omnibus. This bill passed the Senate by a vote of 35-18 but failed to advance in the House. This was a healthcare omnibus bill opposed by the Chamber due to its original provisions regarding hospital closure moratoriums, as well as the termination of the Medicaid Managed Care Program. Some of the bill's worst provisions were amended near the end of the lame duck session, but nonetheless, failed to advance. 
Send Us Your Legislative Agenda
Its time to look forward to the spring legislative session. Please send us your agenda so that we can work together to develop a strategy. Thank you to everybody who has reached out so far, we have received some great feedback.  Email any thoughts, concerns, and ideas to: ckaericher@ilchamber.org

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If you have questions about the Government Affairs Report, contact Clark Kaericher at ckaericher@ilchamber.org. Do not reply to this email. 

Illinois Chamber of Commerce

2020 Government Affairs Report | Clark Kaericher, Editor