May 21, 2020
Please review an update from IMSCA regarding the Illinois General Assembly being back in session:
The Illinois General Assembly has resumed meeting in session as of May 20, 2020 through Friday, May 21. 2020. Here is an overview of important items that are expected to be addressed during this short 3 day session:
Legislation addressing the Illinois Worker's Compensation Committee's (IWCC) emergency rule is likely to emerge as soon as May 21, 2020. The IWCC emergency rule was withdrawn in response to legal action that was filed against it. It is important to remember that changes to the worker’s compensation system has a long history of adhering to the agreed bill process - meaning no changes move forward unless all negotiators agree on language. Those who were exclusively involved in the negotiations included: Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, Illinois Retail Merchants Association, the Illinois AFL-CIO and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. Please click on the links below for a copy of the draft legislation that is expected to be filed on May 21, 2020, as well as a link to a copy of the legislative intent which will also be read in to the record during floor debate on this bill. This language will be filed as an amendment to SB 471. The business community is reporting that while this language allows essential employees to receive a rebuttable presumption, this language will make it easier for employers to rebut those claims using an ordinary level of rebuttal; meaning an employer simply has to show “some evidence” that the employee could have contracted the virus elsewhere and that the employer engaged in best practices.
Here is an overview of what is included:
- The term "COVID-19 first-responder or front-line worker" is defined as: all individuals employed as police, fire personnel, emergency medical technicians, or paramedics; all individuals employed and considered as first-responders; all workers for health care providers, including nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities and home health care workers; corrections officers; and any individuals employed by essential businesses and operations as defined in Executive Order 2020-10 dated March 20, 2020, as long as individuals employed by essential businesses and operations are required by their employment to encounter members of the general public (emphasis added). Although Sections 9 and 12h of EO 2020-10 issued on March 20th includes construction as an essential business - the inclusion of "required by their employment to encounter members of the general public..." is an improvement over the emergency rule. This is one of the areas IMSCA highlighted as construction work sites being "different" than other types of work locations. Construction sites are controlled environments with mandated safety protocols for individuals who are allowed to enter, and are generally not open to the public.
- Provides circumstances where the presumption may be rebutted by evidence that includes but is not limited to: the employer was engaging in and enforcing to the best of its ability industry-specific workplace sanitation, social distancing, and health and safety practices based on updated guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control or Illinois Department of Public Health or was using a combination of administrative controls, engineering controls, or personnel protective equipment to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 to all employees for at least 14 consecutive days prior to the employee's injury, occupational disease, or period of incapacity resulted from exposure to the COVID-19 virus. This section also includes a broad definition of PPE; by stating: "personal protective equipment" means industry-specific equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause illnesses or serious injuries, which may result from contact with biological, chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical or other workplace hazards. "Personal protective equipment" includes but is not limited to, items such as face coverings, gloves, safety glasses, safety face shields, barriers, shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, coveralls, vests, and full body suits..." The inclusion of this language as a defense is also an improvement over the emergency rule because most construction employees' basic uniform consists of a variety of PPE; including gloves and masks.
- An employer’s experience modification will not change due to COVID.
- A home residence is not the workplace.
- The presumption ends December 31, 2020.
- An employee has to have been exposed and contracted the virus – simple exposure does not qualify.
The agreement provides defenses that will make it easier for business owners to defend themselves. This is an improvement over the emergency rules that were blocked.
Mechanic's Lien Sunset Extension
One of IMSCA's legislative initiatives this year was SB 3496, which seeks a 5-year extension to a law originally passed in 2012 and again in 2016. Section 6 of the Illinois Mechanics Lien Act provides that to obtain a lien under the Act, work must be done or the material furnished within 3 years from beginning the work for owner-occupied residential property, and within 5 years for other types of property. This law was set to expire December 31, 2020. As of right now, IMSCA's proposed language is being included in the regulatory sunset bill package - SB 1530 House Amendment #1.
Here is a link to the bill:
The IMSCA proposed language can be found on page 33, and is being renewed through December 31, 2021. SB 1530 is scheduled to be heard in House Executive Committee on May 21, 2020.
Single/Multiple Prime Contracting Sunset Extension
The Capital Development Board's current statutory authority to use the single prime delivery method is set to expire January 1, 2021. This statute is also receiving a one year extension through January 1, 2022. No other changes to the CDB's ability to use single prime are being made, and the current parameters for using single prime remain the same. This sunset extension is included in SB 1857 House Amendment #2.
The language can be found on page 59. SB 1857 is scheduled to be heard in House Executive on May 21, 2020.
HB 5769 (Thapedi) - Proposed Personal Protective Equipment Responsibility Act
IMSCA is hearing this bill will not move forward during this week's session. However, IMSCA is keeping a close watch on any potential movement.
Here is a link to the bill:
IDPH Emergency Rule
On May 15th, the IL Department of Public Health issued an emergency rule that would have allowed the issuance of Class A misdemeanors to businesses in violation of the Governor Pritzker's "Shelter in Place" Executive Order. At yesterday’s JCAR meeting, the IDPH withdrew this rule. However, Senator Bill Cunningham plans to sponsor legislation that is similar to the rule that was withdrawn.
Other issues such as the budget, changes to the 2020 election and specific COVID-19 response legislation (healthcare, property taxes, etc.) is also expected to be addressed this week. As of right now, the General Assembly only plans to be in session for three days. Updates will be provided as these issues continue to develop and information becomes available.
If you have question or need additional information, you can contact Jessica Newbold Hoselton, Executive Director, Illinois Mechanical & Specialty Contractors Association (IMSCA) at: (217) 523-4361.