GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
------------Report
April 23rd, 2021

This Week in Illinois
Session Update
The House and Senate returned to Springfield for a long and busy week of session. both chambers returned to Springfield for floor action and other in-person business. The House and Senate were in session for 4 days, with business concluding late on Friday. both chambers continued to conduct committee hearings through the virtual platform at ilga.gov.

Friday, April 23rd, was 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. This deadline led to the passage of hundreds of bills. Some Republican lawmakers decried the perceivably unfair ratio of Democrats bills passed compared to legislation from their caucus.

The Senate is expected to return for session this Tuesday, April 27th. The House is also expected to return on the 27th.

State Releases Audit of Exelon Nuclear Fleet
Last week the State released the Synapse audit of Exelon's plant operations. On Thursday, the Senate Energy & Public Utilities Committee held a hearing on the findings of the report. Many members raised opposition to the amount of redacted material in the report which was said to protect confidential information.

The audit proposed that taxpayers subsidize Exelon operations up to $350 million over the next five years. However, the Governor's office said that future subsidies would not model the Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016.

Following the Senate Energy and Public Utilities subject matter hearing on the Exelon audit prepared by Synapse Energy Economics at the direction of the Pritzker Administration, Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch provided the following statement: 

"Today’s hearing provided a very important opportunity to shed light on some of the questions legislators must consider as Exelon comes back to the General Assembly with hat in hand asking for a second massive bailout in only five years.  As Illinois’ citizens and businesses only begin to recover from the harsh economic realities brought on by the Covid19 pandemic, the last thing ratepayers need is to fund a bailout totalling hundreds of millions of dollars for a profitable company through higher electricity prices. The Illinois Chamber encourages a release of the redacted audit, and urges legislators to continue asking the important questions, which the Exelon audit and today’s hearing only began to address."

Maisch's full statement can be read here.

House Passes General Assembly Leadership Term Limits
On Thursday, the Illinois House of Representatives passed HB 642 which would create term limits for each of the four legislative leaders. This bill provides that no person may serve more than 10 consecutive years in any of the following leadership roles: Speaker of the House of Representatives, President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, and Minority Leader of the Senate. The bill passed the House by a vote of 115-0-1. Former House Speaker Michael Madigan served as in the prominent role for 36 years. Proponents say this is a major moment of reform for the state.

IL Chamber Testifies on Governor's FY-22 Proposed Revenue.
IL Chamber's President and CEO, Todd Maisch and Chamber's Executive Director of Tax Institute, Keith Staats testified in the Senate Revenue Committee subject matter hearing on the Governor's FY-22 Proposed Revenue.

Regarding the repeal of tax incentives, Maisch said that Governor Pritzker cannot tout his support for favorable business incentives, sign them into law, and then later disparage them as "corporate loopholes."

Maisch also testified against changes to the configuration of net operating losses . He said that coming out of the COVID-19 recession, the State has to think of the hospitality and transportation industry. Net operating losses deductions is an issue of when companies will have access to cashflow.

Tax Institute Executive Director Keith Staats testified on changing the definition of income based on a mark-to-market determination. Staats said that proposed changes create an incredibly complicated system that does not work today for its current financial reporting purposes. mark-to-market also causes wild swings by year.

Staats also addressed the so-called carried-Interest loophole. The Illinois legislation, which has previously been proposed, attempts to "fix" the so-called federal inequity by proposing a surcharge on the state level. The Chamber believes this is a federal issue. Furthermore, we have a flat tax rate in Illinois so any type of surcharge could be unconstitutional.

Legislation to Watch/Passed out of Originating Chamber:

  • HB 53AI Interviews passed the House by a vote of 117-0-0. This bill Provides that employers that rely solely upon artificial intelligence to determine whether an applicant will qualify for an in-person interview must gather and report certain demographic information to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Requires the Department to analyze the data and report to the Governor and General Assembly whether the data discloses a racial bias in the use of artificial intelligence.

  • HB 118Wage Underpayment passed out of the House by a vote of 68-44. This bill provides that an employee is entitled to recover damages of 5% (rather than 2%) of the amount of any underpayments in wages for each month following the date of payment during which such underpayments remain unpaid. Across 12 months, this bill could yield a 60 percent penalty for employers with even a minimal mistake on a payroll. The Chamber opposes this bill.

  • HB 165Carbon Capture Task Force passed the House by a vote of 112-0-0. This bill Provides that subject to appropriation, the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in consultation with an intergovernmental advisory committee, must file a report on potential for carbon capture, utilization, and storage as a climate mitigation technology throughout Illinois with the Governor and General Assembly no later than December 31, 2022. Provides that the report must provide an assessment of Illinois subsurface storage resources, state of readiness, and provide recommendations for policy and regulatory needs at the State level based on its findings. Provides that in developing the report, the Prairie Research Institute shall form an advisory committee and provides for membership of the committee. Provides that the Prairie Research Institute shall also engage with interested stakeholders throughout the State to gain insights into socio-economic perspectives from environmental justice organizations, environmental non-governmental organizations, industry, landowners, farm bureaus, manufacturing, labor unions, and others. The Chamber supports this bill.

  • HB 414,Water & Wastewater Assistance passed the House by a vote of 117-0-0. This bill  Provides that the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is authorized to institute the water and sewer assistance program. Provides that any person who is a resident of the State of Illinois and whose household income is not greater than an amount determined annually by the Department may apply for assistance. Provides that in determining the amounts of assistance to be provided to or on behalf of a qualified applicant, the Department shall ensure that the highest amounts of assistance go to households with the greatest need for financial assistance in relation to household income by considering specified factors. Provides that each water or sewer provider shall assess each of its customer accounts a monthly Water and Sewer Assistance Charge to be deposited into the Water and Sewer Low-Income Assistance Fund. Amends the State Finance Act. Creates the Water and Sewer Low-Income Assistance Fund. Amends the Public Utilities Act. Provides that specified water or sewer utilities shall be allowed to offer a financial assistance program designed for bill payment assistance for low-income customers in accordance with the Water and Sewer Financial Assistance Act. Provides that the costs of a financial assistance program offered by a water or sewer utility shall be reimbursed from the Water and Sewer Low-Income Assistance Fund. The Chamber supports this bill.

  • 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 642Legislative Leader Term Limits passed the House by a vote of 115-0-1. This bill provides that no person may serve more than 10 consecutive years in any of the following leadership roles: Speaker of the House of Representatives, President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, and Minority Leader of the Senate. Provides that the limitations imposed by the amendatory Act apply to service beginning on and after the second Wednesday in January of 2023.

  • HB 711Prior Authorization passed the House by a vote of 117-0-0. This bill , as amended, deletes a Section concerning obligations with respect to prior authorization concerning emergency health care services, and makes changes in provisions governing applicability; definitions; disclosure and review of prior authorization requirements; obligations with respect to prior authorizations; personnel qualified to make adverse determinations of a prior authorization request; adverse determinations; review of appeals; denials; length of prior authorization approval; continuity of care; effect of failure to comply with the Act; and administration and enforcement. Makes further changes in the Illinois Insurance Code in a Section concerning obligations under the Managed Care Reform and Patient Rights Act. Deletes changes made to the Managed Care Reform and Patient Rights Act in a Section concerning emergency services prior to stabilization. As amended, the Chamber now supports this bill.

  • HB 1839Good Corporate Citizen passed the House by a vote of 115-0-1. As amended, this bill modifies the terms by which the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity may require a business organization to agree to that ensure the business is a good corporate citizen as a condition for receiving development assistance. Provides that compliance with good corporate citizen eligibility is required throughout the term of a development assistance agreement. Provides that the Department may suspend the development assistance for noncompliance and may seek revocation of any credits or exemptions that were earned or used during a time when the business or its corporate parent or affiliate was not in compliance with any applicable requirements. Allows a business whose development assistance is suspended to be issued certificates of verification or exemption in suspended status under specified circumstances.

  • HB 2379, Small Cell Wireless passed the House by a vote of 91-17-3. This bill, as amended, provides for repeal of the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act on December 31, 2023 (rather than December 31, 2026). The Chamber strongly supports this bill.

  • HB 2406 COVID-19 Vaccine passed the House by a vote of 110-0-0. This bill Provides that an individual or group policy of accident and health insurance or managed care plan in effect on and after March 9, 2020 must provide coverage for the cost of administering a COVID-19 vaccination without cost sharing. Makes conforming changes in the Health Maintenance Organization Act and the Voluntary Health Services Plans Act.

  • HB 2622Employee Termination passed the House by a vote of 65-44. This bill Provides that an employer that terminates an employee for absences to attend school conferences is liable in a civil action for damages resulting to the employee. Imposes upon the employer the burden of proof to demonstrate that termination is not related to an employee's absence for attendance at a school conference, behavioral meeting, or academic meeting. The Chamber opposes this bill.

  • HB 2649Coverage Mandate passed the House by a vote of 78-37-0. This bill in provisions concerning coverage for the reasonable and necessary medical treatment of temporomandibular joint disorder and craniomandibular disorder, provides that on or after the effective date of the amendatory Act, every insurer that delivers or issues for delivery in the State a group accident and health policy providing coverage for hospital, medical, or surgical treatment on an expense-incurred basis shall offer coverage (rather than offer optional coverage for an additional premium) for the reasonable and necessary medical treatment of temporomandibular joint disorder and craniomandibular disorder. Removes provisions that provide that the group policyholder shall accept or reject optional coverage in writing on the application or an amendment to the master group policy and that an insurer may offer coverage for temporomandibular joint disorder and craniomandibular disorder as part of a policy's basic coverage instead of optional coverage. 

  • HB 2775Housing-Source of income passed the House by a vote of 62-48-2. This bill provides that if a landlord requires that a prospective tenant or current tenant have a certain threshold level of income, then the landlord shall subtract any source of income in the form of a rent voucher or subsidy from the total of the monthly rent prior to calculating if the income criteria have been met. Provides that a landlord shall not apply an income or asset requirement to a tenant with a non-wage source of income that the landlord does not apply to all tenants. Provides that if an income or asset requirement serves to generally exclude participants in a housing or benefits program, that requirement shall be considered presumptively discriminatory.

  • HB 2380, Telecom Repeal Date Extensions passed the House by a vote of 110-0-2. This bill extends the repeal dates of the Telecommunications Article and the Cable and Video Competition Article to December 31, 2024 (rather than December 31, 2026). Provides that any cable service or video service authorization issued by the Illinois Commerce Commission will expire on December 31, 2027 (rather than December 31, 2029). The Chamber supports this bill.

  • HB 2553Household Privacy passed the House by a vote of 114-0-1. This bill creates Protecting Household Privacy Act. Reinserts the provisions of the introduced bill with these exceptions. Changes the exceptions in which law enforcement agency may obtain household electronic data. Provides that a law enforcement agency may obtain the data (1) if a law enforcement agency first obtains a warrant under the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963; (2) a specified emergency situation exists; or (3) with the lawful consent of the owner of the household electronic device or person in actual or constructive possession of the household electronic device, excluding law enforcement personnel. Provides that nothing in the Act shall be construed to apply to the interception, recording, wiretap, or other acquisition of electronic communications as they are transmitted in real time. Provides that in the event of any conflict between the Act and any applicable federal or State law, the requirement that establishes the higher standard for law enforcement to obtain information shall govern.

  • HB 3437, Hazardous Materials Workforce Training passed the House by a vote of 71-43-0. This bill establishes precedent that certain plants, such as ethanol plants, will have to pay prevailing wage on any work or maintenance work done in the facility. This bill also has a number of training requirements. This blocks entry by anyone that is not a union member. The Chamber opposes this bill.

  • HB 3697BIPA Workers Comp passed the House by a vote of 74-41-02. This bill provides the Workers' Compensation Act does not preempt or prevent an employee from recovering under the Biometric Information Privacy Act. The Chamber opposes this bill.

  • HB 3712Car Sharing passed the House by a vote of 112-1-0. This bill creates the Car-Sharing Program Act. Provides that a car-sharing program shall assume liability of a shared-vehicle owner for bodily injury or property damage to third parties or uninsured and underinsured motorist or personal injury protection losses during the car-sharing period in an amount stated in the car-sharing agreement, which amount may not be less than 4 times the minimum amounts required under the Illinois Vehicle Code (instead of those amounts set forth in the Illinois Vehicle Code). Provides that a car-sharing program shall ensure that, during each car-sharing period, the shared-vehicle owner and the shared-vehicle driver are insured under a motor vehicle liability insurance policy that provides insurance coverage in amounts that, for the shared-vehicle driver, are equal to 2 times the minimum amounts set forth in the Illinois Vehicle Code. The Chamber did not take a position on the revised bill.

  • HB 3940Vehicle Sales, Services, Reimbursement passed the House by a vote of 85-24-6. This bill provides that the sale of motor vehicles by unlicensed dealers shall be prohibited (rather than should be prevented). Changes the manner in which dealers are reimbursed by manufacturers. Provides that manufacturers must pay a dealer no less than the amount a retail customer pays the dealer for the same services. Authorizes the use of agreed upon time guides. Applies to warranty work and factory recalls. Establishes manner of determining effective labor rates.

  • SB 208, Secure Choice Savings Program provides that the 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. Provides enrollment deadlines. Provides that small employers may, but are not required to, establish payroll deduction arrangements for retirement savings arrangements. As amended, the Chamber is neutral on this bill.

  • SB 645Sick Leave passed the Senate by a vote of 38-17-0. 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. The Chamber opposes this bill.

  • SB 1730Board Directors passed the Senate by a vote of 37-18-0. This bill provides that public corporations must report the self-identified sexual orientation and self-identified gender identity of it directors.

  • SB 1846Child Beverages passed the Senate by a vote of 39-16-0. This bill provides that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, a restaurant shall, by default, include a specified type of water, milk, milk alternative, or juice with a children's meal sold by the restaurant. Provides that a restaurant may include another beverage with a children's meal upon request. Provides that, during any inspection of a restaurant by a health officer or health inspector of a local health department, the health officer or health inspector shall inspect the restaurant to determine whether it complies with these provisions. Provides that restaurants that violate the provisions are subject to a warning and specified civil penalties. Allows the Department of Public Health to adopt any rules it deems necessary for the implementation, administration, and enforcement.

  • SB 2279Assessments Statute of Limitations passed the Senate by a vote of 40-15. The Chamber went on record to oppose the extension of the statute of limitations for assessments when a taxpayer files a refund claim with the Department of Revenue. IL Chamber Tax Institute Executive Director Keith Staats testified in opposition.

  • SB 2459Electronic Signature passed the Senate by a vote of 56-0-0. This bill provides that the Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, and the Capital Development Board shall each accept the use of electronic signatures in transactions between those State agencies and other persons or entities, unless all parties to the transaction waive the right to use electronic signatures.

  • SB 2531 , SALT Cap Workaround passed the Senate by a vote of 55-0-0. 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.
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.