IHLA Governmental Affairs Update
January 2018

The next City Council meeting is 1/17/18.
Street Performers Ordinance: Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) and Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward) introduced a proposal last spring to amend the street performer ordinance to extend protections to local residents and businesses. The aldermen receive thousands of complaints about excessive noise from residents and businesses affected by street performers, and the current law only serves to move the violating performer to another location. The proposal introduced by the Aldermen sought to remove ambiguities in the existing law and make enforcement of the ordinance easier. The proposal passed the City Council's Committee on Licensing, but amid threatened litigation from the ACLU, it was not considered by the full City Council.
In an effort to work with the ACLU, Alderman Reilly continued to work on alternative locations for the musicians to play before bringing the measure back to the City Council. Following discussions with the ACLU, Reilly introduced a new proposal to revise the existing street performer's ordinance. The measure is still under review but is an attempt to secure more desirable locations for the performers, while satisfying residents and businesses. The ordinance is pending in the Committee on Licensing while Alderman Reilly works with the stakeholders.
Clarification on Sexual Harassment Ordinance: IHLA is working with the City attorney and Alderman Michelle Harris (8th Ward) to clarify that the sexual harassment ordinance calls for room attendants to have panic buttons as intended. During the negotiating process, wording was deleted from the ordinance to protect hotels, and the end result was a more general ordinance that could be interpreted to include other hotel employees to have panic buttons. IHLA has met with the City attorney and clarified that the ordinance was intended to cover room attendants specifically; the next step is to either make the needed changes in the Rules Committee or pass a clarification amendment. The deadline for hotels to start providing panic buttons to their room attendants is 7/1/18.
2017 Chicago Tourism Numbers: Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that a record 55.2 million people traveled to Chicago in 2017. The mayor's office credits the tourism industry with supplying an estimated 146,500 Chicago jobs, more than 20,000 new jobs since 2011. A major contributor to the additional jobs is the opening of new hotels throughout the city. Chicago opened five new hotels in 2017; eight more are scheduled to debut this year.

The next Cook County Board meeting is 1/17/18.
Cook County Assessor Real Estate Assessment Practices Ordinance: The Cook County Board calls on Assessor Joseph Berrios to appear before the Finance Committee on real estate taxes. The County Board has proposed an ordinance to look into the County Assessor's real estate assessment practices. The ordinance requires the Cook County Assessor to appear before the Finance Committee to provide the status update promised in 7/2017 and to discuss best practices in real estate assessment.
Recreational Marijuana Legalization:  County Board Commissioner John Fritchey (12th District) calls for a resolution to place a non-binding advisory referendum to legalize recreational marijuana on the ballot for the March primaries. He expects that referendum, which would not directly affect the law, would draw wide support from Cook County voters. Cook County makes up approximately 40% of the population of Illinois. The idea is to cut the cost of arresting, processing, and trying people for possession and tax them instead. The tax on cannabis brings in around $700 million a year to the states that have legalized marijuana. 


Three of the Candidates for Governor Have Deep Ties to Tourism: Another statewide election year in Illinois begins. The 3/20/18 Primary election has three candidates for governor that have an intimate history with the Illinois visitor industry.
Democrat Chris Kennedy  was the president of Merchandise Mart Properties until 2012. The Merchandise Mart is one of the largest commercial building s in the world. Three million people come through the Mart each year to visit its retail shops, permanent showrooms, and office space as well as attend the numerous trade, consumer, and community events hosted there.  In addition, from 1997 - 1999, Kennedy served as Chairman of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau (CCTB, now Choose Chicago).
Democrat J. B. Pritzker grew up in the family business - Hyatt Corporation. He is the son of Donald Pritzker who, along with his brothers bought a hotel next to the Los Angeles International Airport named Hyatt von Dehn in 1957. Donald Pritzker was President of Hyatt Corporation when he died in 1972 at the age of 39 while playing tennis at a Hyatt Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner  was named Chairman of CCTB in 2010 by former Mayor Richard Daley, after serving a stint on an interim board of the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority. He was Chairman when the CCTB merged with the Chicago Office of Tourism. Rauner then became chair of the newly created Choose Chicago. He served as Chairman of Choose Chicago up until 2013.  
Important Upcoming Dates
January 23
General Assembly Reconvenes
January 31 Governor's State of the State
February 14 Governor's Budget Address
February 16  Bill Introduction Deadline
March 20 Illinois Primary Election
 Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association
P: 312-346-3135 | F: 312-346-6036 

FOLLOW IHLA:  Like us on Facebook  FACEBOOK    Follow us on Twitter  TWITTER    View our profile on LinkedIn  LINKEDIN