GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
------------Report
March 28, 2021

This Week in Illinois
Session Update
The Senate was back in Springfield this week for session. The Senate returned for three days. Both chambers once again conducted committee hearings through the virtual platform at ilga.gov.

The Senate is scheduled to return for session Tuesday, April 13th. The House does not have any further session dates scheduled at this time. There is speculation that the House will return at some point in mid-April after the legislative spring break, possibly on the 13th as well.

Friday, March 26th, was the deadline for substantive bills to move out of committee or be returned to Assignments/Rules. As of this morning, over 200 Senate bills and over 600 House bills had moved out of committee. This figure only includes substantive bills, not the hundreds of shell bills that have also been sent to the floor.

Prejudgement Interest: HB 3360 Vetoed, SB 72 Passes Both Houses, Illinois Chamber Sends SB 72 Veto Request
On Thursday afternoon, SB 72, a bill that establishes prejudgment interest in Illinois passed the Senate by a vote of 37-17-3. This bill has now passed out of both chambers and awaits the governor's signature or veto. This bill was amended with HFA2, and does the following:
  • Provides for pre-judgment interest in personal injury and wrongful death cases
  • Interest shall begin to accrue at 6% rate when the case is filed (HB 3360 interest began at notice of the injury. Prior versions were at 9 and 7 percent)
  • Interest does not apply to punitive damages, sanctions, statutory attorney’s fees and statutory costs (prior versions applied to everything)
  • If the judgment is greater than the amount of the highest written settlement offer made by the defendant, interest shall only apply to the difference between the amount of judgment and the settlement offer\
  • Prejudgment interest capped at 5 years (no cap in previous versions of the bill)

Also on Thursday, Governor Pritzker vetoed HB3360, which amongst other things, established prejudgment interest at 9 percent. HB3360, which was passed during the lame duck session in January, placed a new financial strain on businesses that currently does exist not exist in the statutes. The Chamber opposed HB3360 and requested its veto.

The Illinois Chamber sent a veto request within 24 hours of passage to the Governor for SB 72. While House Bill 3360 was exceptionally egregious, the improvements of Senate Bill 72 from the original still represent a black eye on our state’s judicial system. Read the Chamber's full veto request letter here.

President & CEO Todd Maisch Testifies in support of HB 2379
On Monday of this past week, Chamber President & CEO Todd Maisch testified in support of HB 2379 in the House Public Utilities Committee. This bill is a clean 5-year extension of the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. The act sunsets on June 1st of this year without an extension. This bill should allow for continued 5G investment in Illinois. Illinois Chamber President Todd Maisch said that this bill will allow rural communities have better access to quality healthcare through telehealth services and allow those working from home to do so more effectively. The bill advanced out of committee on a vote of 20-0-0. 

Legislation to Watch:

  • HB 165Carbon Capture sponsored by Thomas Bennett and Carol Ammons , passed out of the House Energy & Environment Committee unanimously. This bill Creates the Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Legislation Task Force Act. Creates the Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Legislation Task Force. Provides that the Task Force shall meet no less than once a month beginning in July 2021. Provides that the Task Force shall submit a report to the Governor and the General Assembly on or before December 31, 2021. The Chamber supports this bill.

  • HB 264Lawsuit Reform was assigned to the House Civil Procedure & Tort Liability Subcommittee. This bill limits venue for actions against corporations, partnerships, and insurance companies. Provides that in actions in which no party is a resident of this State and over which another forum has jurisdiction, the court shall, upon motion, dismiss the action subject to specified conditions. Provides that joint and several liability attaches when a defendant is found to be 50%, rather than 25%, at fault. Limits amounts recovered for medical care, treatment, or services and caretaking expenses to the amounts actually paid for those expenses regardless of the amounts initially billed. The Chamber supports this legislation as it will reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits in Illinois courts.

  • HB 700Department of Human Rights passed out of the House Judiciary-Civil Committee by a vote of 10-6-0. This bill provides that the Department of Human Rights may petition and shall be permitted as a matter of right to intervene as a party in the proceeding if the Commission determines that: (i) the case involves matters of public interest or importance beyond the issues in the case; (ii) the Department has an interest different from one or more of the parties; (iii) the expertise of the Department makes it better suited to articulate a particular point of view; or (iv) the representation of the Department's interest by existing parties is or may be inadequate and the Department will or may be bound by an order or judgment in the action. Provides that the Department, as an intervenor, shall have all of the rights of an original party. Allows the Attorney General to intervene on behalf of the Department in a civil action filed by a complainant in State or federal court. The Chamber opposes this legislation as the Human Rights Department is to be an impartial investigative agency which this bill changes dramatically.

  • HB 1855, DCEO Innovation Voucher Program passed out of the State Government Administration Committee by a vote of 8-0-0. This bill provides that the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is authorized to establish the Illinois Innovation Voucher Program for the purpose of fostering research and development in key industry clusters leading to the creation of new products and services that can be marketed by Illinois businesses. Provides that the Department may award innovation vouchers to eligible businesses to offset a portion of expenses incurred through a collaborative research engagement with an Illinois institution of higher education. The Chamber supports this legislation's promotion of business innovation. Maryland has had great success with a similar program.

  • HB 2524Train Length was assigned to the Roadways, Rail & Aviation Subcommittee. This bill provides that no railroad operating within this State on any main line or any other line shall operate, or permit to be operated, any train that exceeds 8,500 feet in length. Contains a statement of legislative purpose, and defines "main line", "railroad", "train", and "train length". The Chamber opposes this bill.

  • HB 3293 Workers Comp Commissioners Salary passed out of the Labor & Commerce Committee by a vote of 25-0-0. This bill  replaces language regarding the qualifications of Commissioners of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission with language requiring 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. Provides for the dissolution of the Self-Insurers Administration Fund and for the transfer of the moneys in that fund to the Self-Insurers Security Fund. The Chamber slipped in support of this legislation.

  • HB 3926Asbestos Actions was assigned to the Civil Procedure & Tort Liability Subcommittee. This bill provides that within 30 days after an asbestos action is filed, the plaintiff shall provide all parties with certain disclosures. Provides that a plaintiff has a continuing duty to supplement the information. Provides that, not less than 60 days before trial, if a defendant believes the plaintiff has not filed all asbestos trust claims, the defendant may move the court for an order to require the plaintiff to file additional trust claims. Provides that trust claim materials and trust governance documents are presumed to be relevant and authentic, and are admissible in evidence in an asbestos action. Provides that a claim of privilege does not apply to trust claim materials or trust governance documents. Provides that a defendant in an asbestos action may seek discovery from an asbestos trust. Provides that in an asbestos action in which damages are awarded, a defendant is entitled to a setoff in the amount the plaintiff has received from an asbestos trust and the amount the plaintiff will receive as specified in the asbestos trust governance documents. Provides that within 30 days after an asbestos action is filed, the plaintiff shall provide all parties with a sworn information form specifying the evidence that provides the basis for each claim against each defendant. The Chamber supports this bill.

  • SB 645Employee Sick Leave passed out of the Senate Labor Committee by a vote of 13-5-0. This bill Amends the Employee Sick Leave Act. Removes language exempting from coverage under the Act an employee of an employer subject to the provisions of Title II of the federal Railway Labor Act.

  • SB 1693Biotechnology Partnership passed out of the Senate Agriculture Committee by a vote of 14-0-0. This bill Establishes the Industrial Biotechnology Public-Private Partnership as a State-sponsored board consisting of specified members to promote and market Illinois as a destination for research, development, and commercialization for industrial biotechnology. Requires the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to evaluate the tax credit program regarding employment and investment criteria to ensure that the program is applicable to both small startup firms as well as existing companies in the industrial biotechnology field.

  • SB 2008Pharmacies 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 shall comply with specified requirements. 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 reimbursement of professional dispensing fees and acquisition costs for pharmacy providers.

  • SB 2041Cannabis Impairment was assigned to the Senate Executive-Cannabis Committee. This bill Establishes standards with respect to cannabis for impairment sufficient to bar compensation for injuries to employees who are intoxicated. Provides that the presence of 5 nanograms of tetrahydrocannabinol in the blood or 10 nanograms of tetrahydrocannabinol in other bodily substances shall create a rebuttable presumption that intoxication is the proximate cause of the injury. This bill is a Chamber Initiative.


Save The Date: Chamber Day
The Illinois Chamber will be hosting the annual Chamber Day event on April 14th-15th through a virtual format. View the link below for the necessary registration info. We hope to see you there!
 


Upcoming Chamber Webinar

Title: Dealing with Lenders: From Negotiation to Documentation

Date/Time: March 30, 2021 | 10:30 am – 11:30 am

Description: This webinar will discuss commercial loans from a lender’s perspective and the different concessions that a lender can make in order to get a loan deal. In particular, we will discuss what lenders look for in potential borrowers, some of the different “levers” that lenders can use to make a deal workable for all parties, and loan documentation clauses that lenders will and will not agree to change. Join Michael Cortina, co-chair of SmithAmundsen’s Financial Services Group, for this information and timely presentation!

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.