GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
------------Report
April 16, 2021

This Week in Illinois
Session Update
The House and Senate returned from their two week legislative spring break for a busy week of session. both chambers returned to Springfield for floor action and other in-person business. The House was in session for four 4 days, with business concluding on Friday, while the Senate was in session for three days. Both chambers continued to conduct committee hearings through the virtual platform at ilga.gov.

Today, April 16th is the Senate deadline to move substantive bills out of committee. Next Friday, April 23rd, is both the House and Senate deadline to move substantive bills out of their originating chamber. Unless an extension is given, all bills not passed out of their originating chamber will be returned to the Assignments/Rules committee.

The Senate is scheduled to return for session this Tuesday, April 20th. The House is also scheduled to return on the 20th.

Federal Money: Debt Repayment and Business Relief
Earlier this week, Governor Pritzker joined Senate President Don Harmon and House Speaker Welch in addressing Illinois' planned use of federal COVID-19 aid money.

The state expects to receive $7.5 billion from the federal government in "one time funds" approved last month. The Governor and legislative leaders said they will first pay-off COVID-19 related debts, which amount to approximately $4 billion. After spending earmarked funds it is expected that the state will have over $1 billion to spend as desired. The funds could potentially be spent on infrastructure, healthcare or education. Encouragingly, the Democrat leaders seemingly endorsed the idea of using the funds for job creation and economic growth. Republican leaders support the use of the funds for economic growth, specifically the refilling of the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) Program. The Chamber is a strong proponent of the BIG program which has provided critical aid to Illinois small businesses.

BIPA Reform Progressing in the General Assembly
HB 559, BIPA Reform was placed on the House Calendar for 3rd reading. This is the Chamber's initiative to reform BIPA that, among other things, provides for a right to cure. We are hoping for a vote next week. You can help by contacting your legislator and asking them to vote in favor of this bill.

In the other chamber, the Senate Judiciary Privacy Subcommittee heard testimony on the SB 300, a senate Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) reform proposal that is very similar to HB 559, another BIPA reform initiative. Chamber Vice President of Government Affairs Clark Kaericher testified in support of the measure, while a representative of the ACLU testified in opposition.  Each of the major Illinois business groups filed witness slips in support of the measure. Notably the plaintiff’s bar did not take a position on this bill.  
 
Melissa Siebert a partner at Shook Hardy & Bacon, also served as a witness in favor of the reform measure.

“There have been more than 1,000 BIPA actions filed in federal court since mid-2017,” said Melissa Siebert, an attorney who specializes in defending BIPA lawsuits. “In the last six months alone, there have been 239 new BIPA class-actions filed.” 

SB 300, sponsored by Senator Barickman (R), would allow entities 30 days to "cure" a violation of BIPA if no data breach has occurred. This right to cure would go a long way in reducing the number of frivolous lawsuits against the Illinois business community. Even more, BIPA has been known to have a chilling effect on innovation in the state.

Illinois Chamber Hosts Annual Chamber Day
The Illinois Chamber hosted the annual Chamber Day event on April 14th-15th through a virtual format. The robust gathering was attended by local chamber members from across the state as well as legislative and business leaders.

The two day event featured policy experts in the area of small business relief, tax, healthcare, redistricting and much more. The Chamber welcomed House Majority Leader Greg Harris as well as House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie. The Chamber would like to give a special thank you to the Legislative Leaders who took time out of their busy schedules to attend and participate.

Legislation to Watch:

  • HB 117, Secure Choice Savings Program passed out of the House on a vote of 116-2-2. As amended, this bill provides that the Secure Choice Savings Program Act applies to employers with at least 5 employees, rather than at least one employee. (Current law applies to employers with fewer than 25 employees.) Provides that a small employer is an employer that employed less than 5 employees during any quarter of the previous calendar year, rather than less than 25 employees at any one time throughout the previous calendar year. The Chamber negotiated the amendment with the Treasurer's office which will move the Chamber to a neutral position. We appreciate the Treasurer's willingness to work with us on this issue.

  • HB 559BIPA Reform was placed on the House Calendar for 3rd reading. This bill provides that the written policy that is developed by a private entity in possession of biometric identifiers shall be made available to the person from whom biometric information is to be collected or was collected (rather than to the public). Provides that an action brought under the Act shall be commenced within one year after the cause of action accrued if, prior to initiating any action against a private entity, the aggrieved person provides a private entity 30 days' written notice identifying the specific provisions the aggrieved person alleges have been or are being violated. 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 if a private entity continues to violate the Act in breach of the express written statement, the aggrieved person may initiate an action against the private entity to enforce the written statement and may pursue statutory damages for each breach of the express written statement and any other violation that postdates the written statement. Provides that 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 (rather than intentionally or recklessly) violates the Act, actual damages plus liquidated damages up to the amount of actual damages (rather than liquidated damages of $5,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater). This bill is an initiative of the Chamber. The Illinois Chamber is a strong proponent of BIPA reform.

  • HB 1711Pet Shops Sourcing Passed out of the House by a vote of 76-24-2. This bill provides that a pet shop operator may offer for sale a dog or cat only if the dog or cat is obtained from an animal control facility or animal shelter. Provides that an animal control facility or animal shelter that supplies dogs or cats to pet shop operators to be offered for sale shall not be a dog breeder or a cat breeder or obtain dogs or cats from a dog breeder, a cat breeder, a person who resells dogs or cats from a breeder, or a person who sells dogs or cats at auction in exchange for payment or compensation. The Chamber opposes this bill.

  • HB3293Workers Comp Commissioners Salary passed the House by a vote of 115-0-0. This bill requires each Commissioner appointed on or after the effective date of the amendatory Act to be authorized to practice law in this State. Provides that each Commissioner appointed on or after the effective date of the amendatory Act shall receive an annual salary of 70% of a Circuit Court Judge in the Judicial Court constituted by the First Judicial District under the Salaries Act and the Chairman shall receive an annual salary of 5% more than the other Commissioners. Provides that the performance of arbitrators shall be reviewed by the Chairman every other year, or more often at the discretion of the Chairman (rather than on an annual basis). Provides that no arbitrator shall hear cases in any county, other than Cook County, for more than 4 years consecutively (rather than 2 years in each 3-year term). Provides that the Secretary and each arbitrator shall receive a per annum salary of 5% less than the per annum salary of members of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission. The Chamber supports this bill.

  • HB 3431, Medical Cannabis, was placed on the calendar for a third reading. This bill provides that employers are not prohibited from adopting specified policies concerning medical cannabis by registered qualifying patients, including drug testing policies for such patients working in safety sensitive positions. Unless specified circumstances are met, prohibits employers from taking adverse action against registered qualifying patients who work in non-safety sensitive positions solely due to a positive drug test for medicinal cannabis. Defines "safety sensitive position". Provides that nothing in the Act prohibits an employer from enforcing a preemployment drug testing policy, zero-tolerance drug testing policy, random drug testing policy, or a drug free workplace policy (rather than only a workplace drug policy) or disciplining a registered qualifying patient for violating such a policy, provided that an employer shall not take adverse action against a registered qualifying patient in a non-safety sensitive position solely due to a positive drug test for medical cannabis (rather than due to a positive drug test for cannabis) unless specified criteria are met. Provides that there is not a cause of action for any person against an employer for disciplining or terminating the employment of a registered qualifying patient when enforcing a compliant policy. The Chamber supports this bill.

  • SB 300, BIPA Reform was given a subject matter hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. This bill provides that a right of action shall be commenced within one year after the cause of action accrued, if, prior to initiating any action against a private entity, the aggrieved person provides a private entity 30 days' written notice identifying the specific provisions of the Act the aggrieved person alleges have been or are being violated. Provides that if within the 30 days the private entity cures the noticed violation as to the person providing notice and provides the person providing notice an express written statement that the violations have been cured and that no further violations shall occur, no action for damages of any kind may be initiated by the person providing notice against the private entity. Provides that if a private entity continues to violate the Act in breach of the express written statement, the aggrieved person may initiate an action against the private entity to enforce the written statement and may pursue statutory damages for each breach of the express written statement, as well as any other violation of the Act that postdates the written statement. Provides that 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); or against a private entity that willfully (rather than intentionally or recklessly) violates the Act, actual damages plus liquidated damages up to the amount of actual damages (rather than liquidated damages of $5,000 or actual damages). Very similar to HB 559, the Chamber supports this bill.

  • SB 672Food Delivery passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee by a vote of 11-0-0. This bill creates the Fair Food Delivery Act. Prohibits a third-party delivery service from using the likeness, registered trademark, or intellectual property belonging to a merchant without obtaining written consent from the merchant for the use of the likeness, trademark, or other intellectual property. Provides that an agreement subject to the Act may not include a provision that requires a merchant to indemnify a third-party delivery service, an independent contractor acting on behalf of the third-party delivery service, or a registered agent of the third-party delivery service for any damages or harm that may occur after the merchant's product leaves the merchant's place of business. 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 715(shell bill) Right to Repair was amended. As amended, this bill creates the Digital Fair Repair Act. Provides that original equipment manufacturers shall: (i) make available to any independent repair provider or owner of equipment manufactured by the original equipment manufacturer the same diagnostic and repair documentation in the same manner as that information is made available to the manufacturer's authorized repair providers; and (ii) make available for purchase by the owner, his or her authorized agent, or any independent repair provider parts, inclusive of any updates to the embedded software of the parts, upon fair and reasonable terms. Requires manufacturers to make parts, tools, and documentation available when digital equipment is under an express warranty. Provides that a violation constitutes an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. The Chamber opposes all right to repair legislation as it hinders innovation and is government manipulation of contracts in the marketplace.

  • SB 1557Broadband Assistance passed out of the Energy & Public Utilities Committee by a vote of 18-0-0. This bill replaces provisions relating to the Universal Telephone Service Assistance Program with provisions that require the Illinois Commerce Commission to establish a Universal Broadband Service Assistance Program. Provides that the Program shall provide for a reduction of monthly charges, a reduction of installation charges, devices used in connection to the Internet, or any other alternative assistance or program to increase accessibility to broadband service and broadband Internet access service that the Commission deems advisable subject to the availability of funds for the program. Makes other conforming changes. Creates a similar program for low-income residential customers of cable and video service providers. 

  • SB 1832, Community Colleges passed out of the Senate Higher Education Committee by a vote of 13-1-0. This bill allows the board of trustees of a community college district to establish and offer a baccalaureate-level early childhood education program and confer a bachelor of applied science degree in early childhood education and a Professional Educator License with endorsements in early childhood education and early childhood special education under certain conditions.

  • SB 1974Recoupment passed out of the Senate Insurance Committee by a vote of 9-0-0. As amended, this bill says that in in provisions concerning recoupment by an insurer, health maintenance organization, independent practice association, or physician hospital organization, provides that no recoupment or offset may be requested or withheld from future payments 12 months or more (rather than 6 months or more) after the original payment is made. Removes language that provides that an insurer, health maintenance organization, independent practice association, or physician hospital organization may not attempt a recoupment or offset until all appeal rights are exhausted. With the amendment, the Chamber is now neutral on this bill.

  • SB 2008, PBMs was postponed in the Senate Insurance Committee. This bill provides that if a generic equivalent for a brand name drug is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration, plans that provide coverage for prescription drugs through the use of a drug formulary that are amended, delivered, issued, or renewed in the State on or after January 1, 2022 shall comply with specified requirements. Provides that the Department of Insurance may adopt rules to implement provisions concerning notice of change of drug formulary. In provisions concerning a contract between a health insurer and a pharmacy benefit manager, provides that a pharmacy benefit manager must update and publish maximum allowable cost pricing information according to specified requirements, must provide a reasonable administrative appeal procedure to allow pharmacies to challenge maximum allowable costs, and must comply with specified requirements if an appeal is denied. Sets forth provisions concerning pharmacy benefit manager contracts; specified requirements that a pharmacy benefit manager shall comply with; specified requirements that an auditing entity shall comply with when conducting a pharmacy audit; and specified requirements concerning pharmacy network access standards. Provides that a violation of specified provisions is an unfair method of competition and unfair and deceptive act or practice in the business of insurance. Sets forth provisions concerning applicability of the Pharmacy Benefit Managers Article of the Illinois Insurance Code, and provisions concerning fiduciary responsibility of a pharmacy benefit manager. Defines terms. Makes other changes. Amends the Illinois Public Aid Code. Sets forth provisions concerning reimbursement of professional dispensing fees and acquisition costs for pharmacy providers. The Chamber opposes this bill.

  • SB 2062Property Tax Physical Descriptions passed out of the Senate Revenue Committee. This bill provides that owners of income producing properties shall file physical descriptions of their properties with the chief county assessor, on a form and format determined by the chief county assessor. The Chamber opposes this bill.

  • SB 2183Transportation Network Providers Act passed out of the Senate Executive Committee by a vote of 15-0-0. This bill amends the Transportation Network Providers Act. Repeals the Act on January 1, 2023 (instead of June 1, 2021). The Chamber strongly supports this bill.

  • SB 2403Car Sharing passed out of the Senate Executive Committee unanimously. This bill creates the Car-Sharing Program Act. The bill addresses insurance coverage requirements during car-sharing periods; notification of implications of lien; exclusions in motor vehicle liability insurance policies; recordkeeping requirements; vicarious liability; contribution against indemnification; insurable interests; consumer protection disclosures; driver's license verification; data retention; responsibility for equipment; and automobile safety recalls. The Chamber opposed this bill due to the taxation issues. This issue was directly addressed by the Sponsor who said that he does intend to introduce another amendment to address some of the concerns of opponents regarding taxation. We are watching closely for this amendment.

  • SB 2531SALT CAP passed out of the Senate Revenue Committee Unanimously. This is a work around to the federal $10,000 SALT cap. This bill is revenue neutral as it will help thousands of Illinois taxpayers while not affecting state revenues. This bill is a Chamber Initiative.

  • SB 2563 Emissions Testing passed out of the Senate Executive Committee. This bill, as amended, dramatically changes diesel emission standards for certain trucks and buses. Our friends in the trucking industry are taking a lead on this bill and the Chamber joins them in opposition.
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.