GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
Report    

April 17, 2020

This Week in Illinois

Session Update
The House and Senate were not in session this week. It is very unclear when the General Assembly will return to Springfield. Chamber leaders have said to expect a very limited agenda when they do return, one that focuses on the budget and COVID-19 relief. 

There has even been talk that the General Assembly may not meet until November for a very robust veto session. The budget year ends June 30th, so this would require operating without a budget for several months. If legislators can't return to Springfield by June 1, a super majority would be required to pass a budget. This would strengthen the bargaining power of the two minority leaders. The Chamber will continue to keep you informed on timelines.
    
The Illinois House finalized its membership for legislative working groups on a variety of different topics this week. The Senate had previously completed membership assignments and has begun meetings. Notable House working groups include Economic Recovery, chaired by Reps. Mike Zalewski (D-Riverside), Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) and Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero). The Senate has an Economic Recovery committee chaired by Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) and a Regulatory Relief committee chaired by Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) group. 

IWCC Emergency Rules Unfairly Impact Businesses  
Many of you are aware of a massive overreach in administrative rule-making undertaken by the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission (IWCC). Wednesday, the commission voted to approve a rule that would all but guarantee workers compensation benefits for any worker who claims a COVID-19 related illness. This is an unprecedented expansion of the
  Illinois Occupational Diseases Act. This expansion was undertaken without consultation with the employer community, is clearly beyond the statutory authority granted to the IWCC, and was rushed through in clear violation of other statutes.

The Chamber is consulting closely with our partners in the business community in determining an appropriate and aggressive response to this government overreach. We have drafted a letter to the members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) urging them to suspend the IWCC emergency rules. You can see the full letter  here. If you would like to sign on to the letter, please contact  sarah@shattucklobbying.com

Responsible Reopening & Rehiring Discussion
As we all consider the recent news on job losses and potential drops in state and national GDP, the Chamber and Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (IACCE) co-hosted a webinar to discuss responsible reopening and rehiring on Tuesday, April 14 for our local chambers. This webinar was a way for us to begin  in earnest the discussion about responsible reopening of businesses, rehiring of employees and reopening our economy. You can listen to the discussion here.
 
Leader Brady Small Business Programs Webinar 
On Friday, April 17, Illinois Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) in conjunction with Illinois State Representatives Tim Butler (R-Springfield) and Keith Sommer (R-Morton), discussed state and federal programs being offered to small businesses. The webinar  included presentations from Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Erin Guthrie and an update from District Director for the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Illinois District Office Bo Steiner. You can view the powerpoint here
 
Independent Contractor Relief 
Beginning on April 7, independent contractors receiving 1099-MISC forms and self-employed individuals were eligible to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program loan as part of the CARES Act. However, loan commitments have reportedly reached the maximum total of $349 billion available in the Paycheck Protection Program. The U.S Chamber has   urged   congressional leaders to restore this needed CARES Act funding.

Yesterday, the U.S. Chamber released an information  guide  to help independent contractors access funding through the CARES Act based on new guidance  provided by the SBA this week. It provides step-by-step assistance to help individuals understand eligibility requirements, borrowing limits, and appropriate use of funds under the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the steps required to apply for unemployment compensation.  
 
Click  here for interactive state-by-state information on the independent contractor workforce.  
 
Business Suggestions  
The Chamber is consulting with the governor's administration on business relief. Please send any information or suggestions  we can use to advocate on your behalf  to Andrew at acunningham@ilchamber.org

After a week of rough news, we also want to share your good news. Please send any announcements or positive stories on your business to Darbi at:  ddurham@ilchamber.org.  

Connect with the Chamber

  

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