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February 7, 2021

This Week in Illinois 

Session Schedule Update 
The House is scheduled to be in session for just one day this week on Wednesday, February 10th. A vote on remote activities, such as virtual committee hearings, is expected to be taken.  

The Senate was expected to be back in Springfield on February 9th, but session dates for all of February have now been canceled. As replacement, the Senate is expected to hold virtual committee hearings between February 9th-11th and February 16th-18th. 

The Governor's annual budget and state of the state address, always delivered to a joint session of the General Assembly, is still scheduled for February 17th. A virtual address is now expected.

Senate Extends Drafting and Filing Deadline 
While previously scheduled for today, the Senate's drafting deadline for legislation has been extended to Thursday, February 11th. In addition, the Senate's bill introduction deadline has been moved back one week to Friday, February 26th. 

Senate Committee Assignments Now Available 
The Illinois Senate has released the list of committee chairs as well as full committee rosters for the 2021 legislative session. The list, as well as currently scheduled hearings, can be found here. 

Notable new committee chairs include Cristina Castro (D) for the Senate Executive Committee, Steve Stadelman (D) in the Revenue Committee, and Linda Holmes (D) for the Senate Labor Committee. 

Many Senate Chairs will retain their positions, including Ram Villivalam (D) in the Transportation Committee and  Napoleon Harris III (D) for Senate Insurance. 

Last week's GAR featured notable  changes and retentions for chairpersons within the House.

Makers' Madness: the Coolest Thing Made in Illinois 
The Illinois Manufacturer's Association (IMA) has launched its annual "Coolest Thing Made in Illinois" contest. This competition highlights outstanding Illinois companies and products. Nominations for coolest product are now open through February 14th and can be made by anyone. Complete your nomination here. A winner of the competition will be crowned on March 24th. 

Legislation to Watch:
  • HB 49 (West) No Grants Allowed, For-Profit Higher Education
    • Prohibits the Board of Higher Education from awarding any grant funds to a private institution of higher education that is operated for profit. Also, the bill removes a provision allowing Monetary Award Program grants to be made to applicants enrolled at qualified for-profit institutions.
  • HB 62 (Flowers) Healthcare for All
    • This bill provides that all individuals residing in this State are covered under the Illinois Health Services Program for health insurance. Provides that it is unlawful for private health insurers to sell health insurance coverage that duplicates the coverage of the program. Requires the State to establish the Illinois Health Services Trust to provide financing for the program.
  • HB 66 (Flowers)  Managed Care Medical Assistance Program
    • No recipient of medical assistance shall be required to enroll or transition to the State's managed care medical assistance program. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services shall not enter into any new contract or agreement with a managed care organization (MCO) to provide services where payment for medical services is made on a capitated basis. Provides that the Department shall not renew, renter, renegotiate, change orders, or amend any contract or agreement it entered into with an MCO that was solicited under a specified request for proposals.
  • HB 89 (Flowers) Community Bank of Illinois Act
    • Provides that the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation shall operate The Community Bank of Illinois. Provides that State funds must be deposited in the Bank. Specifies the authority of the advisory board of directors to the Bank.  Specifies the powers of the Bank. Contains provisions concerning the guaranty of deposits and the Bank's role as a clearinghouse, the authorization of loans the General Revenue Fund, bank loans to farmers, limitations on loans by the Bank amongst other things.
  • HB 95 (Halpin) Company-Specific Subsidy Interstate Compact
    • Enters into the state into a compact, which may be entered into by any state and the District of Columbia, in which each member state agrees to not offer company-specific subsidies for companies currently located in or considering locating in the member state. This includes headquarters, real estate development, manufacturing and other ventures. Excludes existing subsidies until change of terms.
  • HB 118 (Guzzardi) Recovery of Damages for Underpayment in Wages
    • This bill provides that an employee is entitled to recover damages of 5% (rather than 2%) of the amount of any underpayments in wages for each month following the date of payment during which such underpayments remain unpaid.
  • HB 145 (Morgan) No Company-specific Economic Incentives 
    • This bill enters Illinois into the compact, which may be entered into by any state and the District of Columbia, in which each member state agrees not to offer or provide any company-specific tax incentive or company-specific grant to any entity. Also creates the Phase Out Corporate Giveaways Board.
  • HB 146 (Morgan)  IDOI Unreasonable Rate Increases Regulation
    • Provides that all individual and small group accident and health policies written in compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act must file rates with the Department of Insurance for approval. Provides that rate increases found to be unreasonable in relation to benefits under the policy provided shall be disapproved. The Department will approve or deny rate increases within 60 calendar days after the rate increase is filed. A rate increase that is not approved or denied by the Department on the 61st calendar day shall be automatically approved.
  • HB 209 (Mussman) Latex Glove Ban
    • This bill provides that a food service establishment may not permit employees to use latex gloves in the preparation and handling of food. Provides that, to encourage compliance, a food service establishment shall receive a notification of warning for the first violation.
  • HB 264 (Bennett)  Venue Limitations for Civil Action
    • This bill limits venue for actions against corporations, partnerships, and insurance companies. Provides that in actions in which no party is a resident of this State and over which another forum has jurisdiction, the court shall, upon motion, dismiss the action subject to specified conditions. Provides that joint and several liability attaches when a defendant is found to be 50%, rather than 25%, at fault. Limits amounts recovered for medical care, treatment, or services and caretaking expenses to the amounts actually paid for those expenses regardless of the amounts initially billed.
  • HB 283 (Flowers) Financial Transaction Tax 
    • This bill imposes a tax on the privilege of engaging in a financial transaction on any of the following exchanges or boards of trade: the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade, or the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Provides that the tax is imposed at a rate of $1 per transaction for all transactions for which the underlying asset is an agricultural product, a financial instruments contract, or an options contract. transactions executed via open outcry that are physically filled on the exchange floor are exempt from the tax. The Chamber opposes this legislation because a financial transaction would drive the affected exchanges from Illinois and as a result the tax would actually reduce Illinois
  •  HB 284 (Flowers) Home Rule Commodity Tax
    • This bill provides that a home rule municipality with 1,000,000 or more inhabitants may, by ordinance, levy a tax on stock, commodity or options transactions. The Chamber opposes this legislation because a tax of this type, if enacted, would drive the affected exchanges from the City of Chicago and, if enacted in combination with HB 284 from Illinois. As a result, the legislation would actually result in a reduction of tax revenues to the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois.
  • HB 353 (Flowers) Essential Worker Minimum Wage Increase
    • Increases the minimum wage to $20 per hour for essential workers for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • HB 559 (Durkin) BIPA Reform, Damages Limitation - Chamber Initiative
    • A private entity in possession of biometric identifiers shall make their policy available to the person from whom biometric information is to be collected or was collected. If within the 30 days the private entity actually cures the noticed violation and provides the aggrieved person an express written statement that the violation has been cured and that no further violations shall occur, no action for individual statutory damages or class-wide statutory damages may be initiated against the private entity. Provides that if a private entity continues to violate the Act, the aggrieved person may initiate an action against the private entity and may pursue statutory damages for each breach of the express written. A prevailing party may recover: against a private entity that negligently violates the Act, actual damages (rather than liquidated damages of $1,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater); or against a private entity that willfully violates the Act, actual damages plus liquidated damages up to the amount of actual damages. 
  • HB 560 (Durkin) BIPA Reform, DOL Enforcement - Chamber Initiative
    • This bill deletes a provision regarding a right of action. Provides instead that any violation that results from the collection of biometric information by an employer for employment, human resources, fraud prevention, or security purposes is subject to the enforcement authority of the Department of Labor. Provides that an employee may file with the Department a violation by submitting a complaint form within one year from the date of the violation. Any other violation of the Act constitutes a violation of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, with enforcement by the Attorney General. 
  •  HB 570 (Carroll) Cigar Tax Cap - Chamber Initiative
    • This bill provides that, beginning on January 1, 2022, the tax per cigar or other rolled tobacco product shall not exceed $0.50 per cigar or roll. Provides that distributors are allowed a discount in the amount of 2% of the distributor's tax liability, but not to exceed $2,000 per return.  The legislation will reduce the current price differential between bricks and mortar sellers and internet sellers. Internet sellers currently have a price advantage over retail sellers because internet retailers of cigars are not subject to the Tobacco Products Tax.
  •  SB 41 (Glowiak Hilton) Increased Wireless Facility Regulation
    • This bill provides that a wireless provider may be required to provide the following additional information when seeking a permit to collocate small wireless facilities: (i) a written affidavit signed by a radio frequency engineer with specified certifications; (ii) a written report that analyzes acoustic levels for the small wireless facility and all associated equipment; (iii) information showing the small wireless facility has received any required review by the FCC under the National Environmental Policy Act; and (iv) a certified copy of the original easement documents and other supporting documentation demonstrating that the applicant has the right to install, mount, maintain, and remove a small wireless facility and associated equipment in specified circumstances. Provides that an authority may adopt reasonable rules requiring providers to place above-ground small wireless facilities and associated equipment and to replace larger, more visually intrusive small wireless facilities with smaller, less visually intrusive facilities.  This bill would virtually end 5G wireless technology in Illinois.
  • SB 56 (Bryant) BIPA Reform, Right of Action Limitation
    • This bill provides that if, within the 30 days, the private entity actually cures the noticed violation and provides the aggrieved person an express written statement that the violation has been cured and that no further violations shall occur, no action for individual statutory damages or class-wide statutory damages may be initiated against the private entity. Provides that a prevailing party may recover actual damages for a negligent violation of the Act. Provides that a prevailing party against a private entity that willfully violates the Act may recover actual damages plus liquidated damages up to the amount of actual damages. 

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Illinois Chamber of Commerce

2020 Government Affairs Report | Clark Kaericher, Editor