April 30th, 2021

This Week in Illinois
Session Update
The House and Senate returned to Springfield for another week of session. both chambers returned to Springfield for floor action and other in-person business on Tuesday. The House and Senate were in session for 3 days, with business concluding on Thursday afternoon. Both chambers continued to conduct committee hearings through the virtual platform at

Friday, April 23rd, was both the House and Senate deadline to move substantive bills out of their originating chamber. An extension was a given on a number of bills but hundreds were returned to the Assignments/Rules committee. The next crucial deadline is May 14th when all substantive House bills must be moved out of Senate committees and all substantive Senate bills must be moved out of House committees. The Senate is scheduled to return for session this Tuesday, May 4th (note: Senate canceled Monday May 3rd scheduled session). The House is expected to return on Tuesday, May 4th.

Governor Pritzker Releases Energy Proposal 
On Wednesday, the Pritzker Administration released its wide-ranging 915-page omnibus energy plan. The Governor's energy plan creates a price on carbon to spur the closure of fossil fuel-fired electricity generators and coal mines, sunsets formula rates for utility companies, provides a small subsidy for two of Exelon’s plants, and expands funding for renewable development. In addition, a massive new bureaucracy is created to assist communities and workers transition into clean energy jobs following those aforementioned closures, and low-income energy programs are expanded. 
Also included in this plan are ethics reforms, such as requiring further investigation into the ComEd deferred prosecution agreement and use of ratepayer funds, and expands the Freedom of Information Act to cover the Citizens Utility Board and prohibits CUB from accepting funding from charitable foundations affiliated with utilities. 
On clean energy, the Governor's plan sets the target date of 2050 for Illinois to be a 100 percent clean energy state, with coal and natural gas to be phased out by 2030 and 2045, respectively. Project labor agreements on solar and winds projects are required on projects of a certain size. There are also new efficiency standards for appliances and a significant investment in and expansion of the electric transportation sector. Read the Governor's two-page summary here. Read the entire "Consumers and Climate First Act" here. 
In our briefing with the Governor’s Office Wednesday afternoon, Deputy Governor Christian Mitchell welcomed an ongoing dialogue with the Illinois Chamber, as well as specific amendments to address our members’ concerns. 
The Illinois Chamber Energy Council is actively engaged on this issue on behalf of Illinois businesses. For more information on this proposal, or the opportunity to engage on this issue, contact Alec Messina, Executive Director of the Illinois Chamber Energy Council. 

SB 2008, Pharmacy Benefit Management Will Increase Health Care Costs
SB 2008 is an initiative of independent pharmacies to unfairly increase costs on State Government, consumers and employers to increase their profits. It is estimated this bill will increase health care costs by $1 billion. This cost will be passed on by insurers in the form of increased premiums for employers and the State of Illinois.

The Chamber participated in a stakeholder meeting on Tuesday. Chairman Harris of the Senate Insurance Committee appeared particularly interested in the Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ (HSF) analysis of the bill and the potential fiscal impact. In written documentation submitted prior to the meeting, HFS stated SB 2008, Senate Amendment 1 “makes substantial changes to Medicaid drug pricing, reimbursement, rebate, and dispensing fees which could increase annual Department liability between $110.9 million and $272.2 million annually”.   

This legislation would further hamstring the use of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) who use market-based methods to hold down one of the largest costs employers bear in health care, drug prices. Employers and governments hire PBMs to help them get the best prices and accessibility to quality drugs. PBMs work to bridge the gap between the legitimate needs of pharmaceutical companies to produce a fair return on their investments in medicines and employers’ and taxpayers’ needs to hold down costs.

The Chamber encourages the legislature to allow the State to finalize rules regarding Public Act 101-452, and allow the reforms previously negotiated by the various stakeholders, and passed by the 101st General Assembly, time to work. The Chamber would appreciate members contacting their local legislators and expressing your concerns regarding SB 2008. For more information on this bill, or the opportunity to engage on this issue, contact Lori Cowdrey Benso, Executive Director of the Illinois Chamber Healthcare Council.

Apportionment Data Released: Illinois Will Lose One Congressional Seat
On Monday, the US Census Bureau Released its 2020 Apportionment results. The data showed that Illinois suffered a slight decrease in population, 18,000 people total. This population decrease, while not as drastic as estimates suggested, represents the first time Illinois has lost population in a census count. Governor Pritzker said the population decline must be reversed. Cited reasons for Illinois' population decline includes high property taxes and out-migration of college students.

Illinois will now lose a federal congressional seat. In 2022 the Illinois delegation will consists of 17 members rather than 18. Also, in the presidential Electoral College, Illinois will suffer the loss of one vote. Full apportionment data can be found here.

Agreed Bill Process On Unemployment Insurance Begins
The agreed bill process on unemployment insurance changes began on Monday. Essentially, the agreed bill process is structured political expediency that addresses issues where business and labor are on opposite sides. During the process, each side negotiates on an agreed bill. If both sides cannot come to an agreement then nothing will happen on the issue. 

One of the biggest issues currently under consideration is the unemployment insurance trust fund which has incurred large deficits during pandemic. Trust fund debt is estimated to be between $4-5 billion. This has led Illinois business leaders to call for the use of federal funds to replenish the UI trust fund. Even with federal funds a large deficit will persist. With the agreed bill process, conversations have started on this issue. A resolution of some kind is expected by the end of session.

Cairo Port Project Gaining Steam
On Wednesday, it was announced that a project labor agreement had been reached between the Alexander Cairo Port District and the AFL-CIO. This agreements represents a major step toward the construction of a new port in Cairo, Illinois. The agreement ensures 500 union construction jobs for Illinois workers in the area.

80 percent of all barge traffic in the US passes Cairo. The capital bill included $40 million for the completion of this project. Due to the completion of this project, the Port District has already announced contracts with major shipping container companies. These logistics companies will use the port to transport agricultural goods among other thing things. Senator Dale Fowler (R) says that the new port will be "game-changing" for the region and the state. Infrastructure Council members got a detailed look at this project during the annual Spring meeting and are excited about its prospects.

Legislation to Watch

HB 158Healthcare Pillar was signed into law. This bill seeks to expand health care access and equity. Amongst other things, this bill creates a Community Health Workers program which will include training and certification. Adds implicit bias training to the required training for interns, residents and physicians. Amends the Employee Paid Sick Leave Act to include care of children, parents, step-parents, in-laws, and grandparents. Requires the Health Facilities and Services Review Board conduct a racial equity impact assessment for all future hospital closure applications that is publicly viewable. Creates the Health and Human Services Taskforce which will review health and human service departments and programs with the goal of improving health and human service outcomes for Illinois residents. Creates the Anti-Racism Commission to identify and propose statewide policies to eliminate systemic racism. Creates the Medicaid Business Opportunity Commission within HFS to develop a program to support and grow minority, women, and persons with disability owned businesses. Requires day care providers to be trained in childhood emotional learning, trauma, and adverse experiences. This bill passed both chambers at the end of March.

HB 2877Housing Assistance passed the Senate by a vote of 39-13-0. This bill creates the COVID-19 Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program Act. Contains provisions for: the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance program; accessibility and transparency; process for further prioritizing applicants for financial assistance and housing stability services; and required notifications and correspondence. Provides that certain new provisions concerning sealing of court files in a residential eviction action apply until August 1, 2022. Contains provisions for: the sealing of a court file in a residential eviction action; emergency sealing of a court file in a residential eviction action during the COVID-19 emergency and economic recovery period; and a temporary COVID-19 stay of certain foreclosure proceedings and filings. Makes corresponding changes to a provision regarding demand for rent and eviction actions. This bill has now passed both houses.

SB 672Food Delivery passed the Senate by a vote of 55-0-0. This bill Creates the Fair Food Delivery Act. Provides that a third-party delivery service may not purchase or use the name, likeness, registered trademark, or intellectual property belonging to a merchant, and may not take or arrange for the pickup or delivery of an order from a merchant through the marketplace, without first obtaining written consent from the merchant. Provides that an agreement entered into pursuant to the Act may not include a provision that requires a merchant to indemnify a third-party delivery service, an independent contractor of the third-party delivery service, or a registered agent of the third-party delivery service for any damages or harm partially or wholly caused by or resulting from the third-party delivery service, an independent contractor of the third-party delivery service, or a registered agent of the third-party delivery service. Authorizes recovery of actual damages or $5,000, whichever is greater. Imposes a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 per violation. Provides that each day a violation occurs constitutes a separate violation. 

SB 1096Diagnostic Testing passed the Senate by a vote of 54-0-0. This bill Provides that a health plan amended, delivered, issued, or renewed on or after the effective date of the amendatory Act shall provide coverage of diagnostic testing for enrollees that is performed by a testing provider in accordance with specified federal and State COVID-19 testing requirements, and that diagnostic testing for enrollees shall be considered medically necessary. Provides that a health plan may inquire as to whether an enrollee is an employee of the long-term care facility but shall not require further evidence or verification of the enrollee's employment status. Provides that the coverage requirements set forth in the provisions shall only apply when specified federal and State testing requirements are in effect. Provides that any failure to provide coverage of diagnostic testing pursuant to the provisions shall be deemed a failure to substantially comply with this Code. Provides that the provisions are repealed on January 1, 2022.

SB 1767Prevailing Wage Searchable Data passed the Senate by a vote of 42-11-0. This bill provides that beginning January 1, 2022, the Department of Labor shall make accessible to the public on its website by the 16th day of each month following the month the work was performed the following information from certified payrolls submitted under this Act: classification or classifications, skill level, such as apprentice or journeyman, gross wages paid in each pay period, number of hours worked each day, ( starting and ending times of work each day, hourly wage rate, hourly overtime wage rate, and hourly fringe benefit rate. Provides that the database shall be searchable by contractor name, project name, county in which the work is performed, and contracting public body.

SB 2182Data Center Exemptions remains on 3rd reading and was not called this week. This is a Chamber initiative and we are lobbying to have this bill heard in the next week. As amended, this bill provides that a "qualifying Illinois data center" means a new or existing data center that, among other criteria, is located in the State of Illinois, is located within a 5-mile geographic radius, and is connected by common infrastructure. Provides that a data center and an associated tenant may enter into an ancillary memorandum of understanding, as prescribed by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, for purposes of receipt of an exemption. Provides that the Department is authorized to conform existing memorandums of understanding with the provisions concerning data center investments. Modifies the definition of "tenant". This bill is a Chamber initiative.

SB 2563, Emissions passed the Senate by a vote of 37-15-0. As amended, this bill requires the Department of Transportation to include in its diesel powered vehicle emission inspection report the number of inspections conducted at a brick-and-mortar official testing station and the number of inspections conducted by an official portable emissions testing company. Removes language allowing a permittee to issue certificates of safety. Allows a permittee to conduct interstate inspections on interstate carriers in accordance with federal regulations. The amendment removed the onerous California emission standards in favor of an IDOT study. Senate Amendment 3 Changes the date by which the Department of Transportation must make available a public report on emission testing data from September 15, 2022 to March 15, 2023. Changes the date through which the Department of Transportation must collect data on diesel emission testing to include it its public report from June 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022. With the amendment the Chamber is now neutral on this bill.

Amendments to Watch:

SB 1088Lawsuit Loans amendment was filed. This bill creates the Consumer Legal Funding Act. Sets forth provisions concerning consumer legal funding contract requirements and right of rescission. Sets forth consumer legal funding company prohibitions. Sets forth the fees that may be charged by a consumer legal funding company and provides that a consumer legal funding company shall not collect any additional fees besides those specified in the Act. Provides that the contingent right to receive an amount of the potential proceeds of a legal claim is assignable by a consumer. Provides that an attorney or law firm retained by the consumer in the legal claim shall not have a financial interest in the consumer legal funding company offering consumer legal funding to that consumer. Sets forth provisions concerning application and fees for a consumer legal funding license. Sets forth provisions concerning investigation to determine whether a consumer legal funding license shall be issued, the license, the issuance of more than one license to a licensee, and an annual license fee. Provides that the Director may fine a licensee an amount not exceeding $10,000 per violation or revoke or suspend a license if he or she finds specified information. Provides that the Division of Financial Institutions shall establish rules and a schedule of fines for the administration and enforcement of the Act. Sets forth provisions concerning closing of business and surrender of a consumer legal funding license, investigation of conduct of business, books and records that shall be retained by every licensee, and other business that may be conducted by a licensee. Provides that the Director may issue a cease and desist order to a licensee in specified circumstances. Provides that the Division may adopt rules that are necessary and appropriate for the protection of consumers in the State. Provides that the Director may apply to a court for an injunction or civil penalty against a violation of the Act. The Chamber opposes the amendment to this bill because the lending practices are often predatory and encourage the filing of frivolous lawsuits.

SB 1089 (SFA 0003)Construction Waste was filed. This amendment provides that for the disposal of solid waste from general construction or demolition debris recovery facilities, the total fee, tax, or surcharge imposed by all units of local government upon the solid waste disposal facility shall not exceed 50% of the applicable amount. Changes a provision concerning facilities accepting exclusively general construction or demolition debris for transfer, storage, or treatment to apply to general construction or demolition recovery facilities. Provides that no person shall: cause or allow the acceptance of any waste at a general construction or demolition debris recovery facility, other than general construction or demolition debris; cause or allow the deposit or other placement of general construction or demolition debris that is received at a general construction or demolition debris recovery facility into or on any land or water; beginning one year after the effective date of rules adopted by the Pollution Control Board, own or operate a general construction or demolition debris recovery facility without a permit issued by the Environmental Protection Agency; and cause or allow the storage or treatment of general construction or demolition debris in violation of the Act, any regulations or standards adopted under the Act, or any condition of a permit issued under the Act. Requires the Agency to propose, and the Board to adopt, rules for permitting the operation of general construction or demolition debris recovery facilities. Provides for administrative citations and civil penalties regarding violations of the provision regarding general construction or demolition debris recovery facilities, including a civil penalty of $1,500 for each violation, plus any hearing costs incurred by the Board and the Agency, and a civil penalty of $3,000 for a second or subsequent violation. Makes other changes. Makes conforming changes. Repeals a provision regarding the limitation on fees assessed by local government on facilities accepting exclusively general construction and demolition debris.

SB 1204 (SFA 0001)Suspension of Labor by Employees was filed. This bill amends the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act. With regard to the right to organize and bargain collectively, provides that employees covered under the Act have the right to engage in activities not otherwise prohibited by law for health and safety reasons. In provisions concerning prohibitions, provides that the good faith concerted cessation or suspension of labor by employees (rather than the quitting of labor by an employee or employees in good faith) because of abnormally dangerous conditions for work at the place of employment shall not be deemed a strike or an abandonment of employment (rather than shall not be deemed a strike) under the Act. Amends the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. With regard to employee rights, provides that it is lawful for educational employees to engage in lawful concerted activities for health and safety reasons. In provisions concerning strikes, provides that a good faith concerted cessation or suspension of labor by educational employees because of abnormally dangerous conditions for work at the place of employment shall not be deemed a strike or an abandonment of employment under the Act.
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