May 23rd, 2021

This Week in Illinois
Session Update
On Monday afternoon, the Senate returned to Springfield for session. The House once again returned on Tuesday. Floor action was significantly increased this past week with many bills being moved to 3rd reading or passed out one of the chambers. The Senate was in session all week with business concluding on Friday afternoon. Business in the House concluded after 4 days on Friday morning. Both chambers continued to conduct committee hearings through the virtual platform at

May 14th was the original deadline for when when all substantive House bills had to be moved out of Senate committees and all substantive Senate bills had to be moved out of House committees. However, that deadline was extended by a week to Friday, May 21st. While this deadline prompted many bills to move out of committee, hearings will continue to be scheduled until the session deadline regardless.

The Senate is scheduled to return for session this Monday, May 24th. The House is also scheduled to return on Monday, May 24th. The House was initially scheduled for session this Saturday and Sunday. However, weekend session has now been canceled.

Hostile Amendment Threatens Data Center Incentives
On Thursday, the data center cleanup bill, SB 2182 was drastically changed in the House in the form of a hostile amendment introduced by Representative Walker. SB 2182 was intended as a cleanup to the data center tax incentives passed in 2019. Earlier this month, SB 2182 had passed the Senate unanimously with four tweaks to the law supported by the industry and the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).  

The amendment, which was adopted in the House Revenue Committee, keeps the four fixes but also adds the requirement of a labor peace agreement (LPA). Most concerning is that examples of this union's LPAs with other industries require all hiring for covered positions to come from a list supplied by the union. If desired, please reach out to the Chamber's government affairs team for a copy of one of these agreements. 

The Illinois Chamber is now in the rare position of opposing a bill that began as our initiative as the bill in its current form no longer is a benefit to the tech industry. The Chamber encourages all concerned members to contact the Governor’s office and the Senate sponsor. This would be most beneficial to the effort.  

State Leaders Announce State Debt Repayment Plan
Governor Pritzker, Senate President Don Harmon, House Speaker Welch and Comptroller Mendoza announced that Illinois has reached an agreement on $2 billion of debt repayment related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The elected officials attribute the debt repayment plan to Illinois' improved economic performance.

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic the state had borrowed $3.2 billion from the federal government. While the debt was scheduled to be repaid in installments by December, 2023, the current plan will eliminate this debt within the next budget year. According to the Comptroller, if this debt payment plan is effective, it will save the state approximately $100 million.

Illinois Chamber Advocates for 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges
The Illinois Chamber has sent a letter to the Illinois Congressional Delegation advocating for the continued support for Section 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges at the federal level.

In the “American Families Plan” President Biden has proposed limiting Internal Revenue Code Section 1031 like-kind real estate exchange tax deferrals to a maximum of $500,000. Like-kind exchange allows real estate owners to exchange their property for other income-producing property and defer the taxes on unrealized gain. When the property is liquidated, the federal government collects the full amount of taxes owed. When the new property grows in value the property owner will pay higher taxes upon liquidation, thus increasing government revenues.

Section 1031 like-kind exchanges prevent real properties from deteriorating due to underuse and underinvestment. This economic tool also generates much-needed tax revenue for states and localities. A significant number of Section 1031 like-kind exchanges involve improvements to low-and modest-income workforce housing.

The Illinois Chamber believes that section 1031 exchanges promote transactions in the real estate market and bolster the economy. Maintaining Section 1031 of the federal tax code is crucial for the economic development of Illinois, future job creation and the upkeep of commercial real estate. Like-kind exchanges support 568,000 jobs, generating over $55 billion of annual value added, including $27.5 billion of labor income. These are jobs for all sectors.

Contact your local representative here and ask them to oppose restrictions on 1031 like-kind exchanges.

President & CEO Maisch Talks Tax Part III
In the third and final episode of the series on tax, Illinois Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch discusses the last two tax proposals under active consideration at the State House that will impact businesses as part of the budget debate.

In the video, Maisch discusses the potential repeal of the manufacturing machinery equipment exemption as well as changes to the foreign dividends subtraction. The Chamber considers both of these issues critical to the interests of Members.

This video is the third produced by the Chamber in a new series on key issues in the Illinois legislature. Watch the full video on business taxation and other Chamber content here.

Illinois Soybean Association: Life of a Soybean Series
Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18) and the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) announced the “Life of a Soybean” video series, which will provide a behind the scenes educational look at the process of planting, growing and harvesting soybeans. The 18th Congressional District of Illinois is the 10th largest district in terms of corn and soybean production. 
The first video in the series can be viewed here.
“I am excited to work with ISA to give a behind-the-scenes look at the development of soybean in Illinois” said Rep. LaHood. “18th District farmers work hard each year to produce some of the world’s best products, and this will provide an educational look at why soybeans are important not only for use in food but to produce cleaner biodiesel products as well. In Congress, I’ll continue to be a strong advocate for Illinois soybean producers on the Ways and Means Committee.” 
The series will follow the life of a soybean at Ron Kindred’s farm in Atlanta, Illinois. 

Governor Pritzker Rescinds Mask Mandate for Fully Vaccinated Individuals
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued changes to the state's mask mandate for individuals who are fully vaccinated. The Governor announced that in most settings fully-vaccinated Illinoisans will no longer have to wear masks or social distance. However, those who have not yet received a vaccination are still subject to masking/social distance guidelines. This news comes after the CDC revised its guidelines last week.

Pritzker's full executive order contains a section on the requirements for all businesses. The order says that all businesses must still ensure that unvaccinated workers social distance and wear face covering and that all employee/customer gathering spaces allow for social distancing. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents will still wear masks in public transit, healthcare settings and schools.

Despite the loosened guidance, the order does say that businesses may still implement stricter or additional health measures if desired.

Legislation to Watch:

HB 253IDOT Asset Management was placed on the Senate calendar for 3rd reading. This bill requires the Department of Transportation to develop and publish a statewide multi-modal transportation improvement program for all transportation facilities under its jurisdiction and outlines the methods for developing the program. Requires the Department to develop a needs-based transit asset management plan for State-supported public transportation assets and make the plan publicly available on the Department's website. Requires the Department to develop a performance-based project selection process to prioritize taxpayer investment in State-owned transportation assets that add capacity, with input from specified stakeholders. Requires a summary of the project evaluation process, measures, program, and scores for all candidate projects to be published on the Department website in a timely manner. Amends the Regional Transportation Authority Act. Requires the Regional Transportation Authority to develop a transparent prioritization process for Northeastern Illinois transit projects receiving State capital funding. Requires a summary of the project evaluation process, measures, program, and scores or prioritization criteria for all candidate projects to be published on the Authority's website in a timely manner. Provides that, starting April 1, 2022, no project shall be included in the 5-year capital program, or amendments to that program, without being evaluated under the selection process.

HB 414Water & Sewer Assistance passed out of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee by a vote of 19-0-0. This bill In provisions creating the Water and Sewer Financial Assistance Act, provides that in setting the annual eligibility level to receive financial assistance under the Act, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity may not set a limit higher than the eligibility limit for assistance under the Energy Assistance Act (rather than 150% of the poverty guidelines updated periodically in the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Provides that the process to allow a water or sewer provider to discontinue imposing assessments shall include review by the Illinois Commerce Commission of any water or sewer provider subject to the Public Utilities Act. Removes provisions concerning program eligibility for residents of rental properties. In provisions amending the Public Utilities Act, provides that the Commission shall render its decision within 90 days (rather than 60 days) after receiving a petition from a water or sewer utility to offer a financial assistance program. Removes language requiring the Commission to annually review and reconcile any amounts collected through tariffs to recover the costs of the financial assistance program. 

HB 2553, Household Privacy passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 7-0-0. This bill, as amended, creates Protecting Household Privacy Act. 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 2595Insurance/Mental Health was placed on the Senate calendar for 3rd reading. This bill provides that every insurer that amends, delivers, issues, or renews a group or individual policy of accident and health insurance or a qualified health plan offered through the health insurance marketplace in the State and Medicaid managed care organizations providing coverage for hospital or medical treatment shall provide coverage for medically necessary treatment of mental, emotional, nervous, or substance use disorders or conditions on or after January 1, 2023 (rather than January 1, 2022). Provides that an insurer or Medicaid managed care organization shall not be required to pay for services if the individual was not the insurer's enrollee or eligible for Medicaid at the time the service was rendered. Provides that an insurer shall not be required to cover benefits that have been authorized and provided for a covered person by a public entitlement program. Provides that for medical necessity determinations (rather than in conducting utilization review of covered health care services and benefits) relating to level of care placement, continued stay, and transfer or discharge of insureds diagnosed with mental, emotional, and nervous disorders or conditions, insurers and Medicaid managed care organizations shall apply specified patient placement criteria. Makes various changes to provisions concerning requirements for insurers regarding education of the insurer's staff and other stakeholders, publishing of utilization review criteria, and documentation of interrater reliability testing and remediation actions. In provisions concerning mental, emotional, nervous, or substance use disorder or condition parity, provides that not later than January 1 (rather than August 1) of each year, the Department of Insurance shall issue a joint report to the General Assembly and provide an educational presentation to the General Assembly. Removes language that provides that insurers shall base the duration of treatment on the insured's individual needs; that an insurer shall only engage applicable qualified providers in the treatment of mental, emotional, nervous, or substance use disorders or conditions or the appropriate subspecialty and who possess an active professional license or certificate to review, approve, or deny services; and that every insurer shall sponsor a formal education program by nonprofit clinical specialty associations.

HB 3437Hazardous Workforce Materials Training Act passed out of the Senate Executive Committee 10-6-0 after a second vote was taken. This bill requires workers at high hazard facilities to obtain minimum approved safety training, provided by the Occupational and Safety Health Administration, and to file a certificate of completion with the Department of Labor. Contains enforcement provisions. Provides that the Act does not apply to any owner or operator that has an executed national or local labor agreement in effect pertaining to the performance of construction work at a given facility or site under the terms of the agreement. Requires applicable apprenticeship and training programs, approved by and registered with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeship, providing minimum approved safety training for workers in high hazard facilities and contractors employing workers at high hazard facilities to file an annual report with the Department and the Illinois Works Review Panel. Provides that an owner or operator who violates the requirements of the Act shall be subject to a minimum civil penalty of $10,000 for each violation. 

HB 3697Workers Comp BIPA, was postponed in the Senate Judiciary Committee. 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 Program was placed on the Senate calendar for 3rd reading. This bill creates the Car-Sharing Program Act. As amended, 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 (instead of in amounts no less than the minimum amounts set forth in the Illinois Vehicle Code). 

HB 3940Vehicle Franchise Warranty passed out of the Senate Executive Committee by a vote of 16-0-0 and is now on the Senate calendar for 3rd reading. 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.

HB 3955Automatic Renewal passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee by a vote of 8-0-0 and is now on the calendar for 3rd reading. This bill provides that a consumer who accepts an automatic renewal or continuous service offer online shall be allowed to terminate the automatic renewal or continuous service exclusively online. Requires a business that makes an automatic renewal offer or continuous service offer online to provide a toll-free telephone number, electronic mail address, a postal address if the seller directly bills the consumer, or another cost-effective, timely, and easy-to-use mechanism for cancellation.

SB 208Secure Choice Savings passed out of the House Executive Committee by a vote of 9-6-0. This bill 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.

SB 1730Corporation Directors passed out of the House by a vote of 69-43-1 and has now passed both houses. This bill provides that public corporations must report the self-identified sexual orientation and self-identified gender identity of it directors.

SB 1770, Wetlands/Cairo Port passed out of the Senate by a vote of 56-0-0. This bill amends the Interagency Wetland Policy Act of 1989. Provides that notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, this Act does not apply to certain construction activities or property, provided that such facilities or property are located within 5 miles of the confluence of the Ohio River and the Mississippi River.

SB 2182, Data Centers passed out of the House Revenue Committee by a vote of 13-5-0. This bill was a Chamber initiative that passed out of the Senate unanimously. However, a hostile amendment was introduced in the House which now makes this bill insupportable. This bill now 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. Provides that within 180 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 120nd General Assembly, all new and existing data centers seeking a certificate of exemption under this Section shall require the contractor to enter into a labor peace agreement with any union representing workers who operate and maintain a critical system or equipment used or maintained by the data center. The Chamber opposes the changes in House Committee Amendment No. 1.

SB 2183Transportation Network Providers Act passed out of the House by a vote of 116-0-0. This bill has now passed both houses. This bill repeals the Transportation Network Providers Act on January 1, 2023. The Chamber supports this legislation.

SB 2531SALT Cap Workaround passed out of the House by a vote of 116-0-0 and will now go back to the Senate for concurrence. This bill 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.

SJRCA11, Labor Constitutional Amendment passed out of the Senate today by a vote of 49-7-0. This proposed amendment Provides that employees shall have the fundamental right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing for the purpose of negotiating wages, hours, and working conditions, and to protect their economic welfare and safety at work. Provides that no law shall be passed that interferes with, negates, or diminishes the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively over their wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment and work place safety, including any law or ordinance that prohibits the execution or application of agreements between employers and labor organizations that represent employees requiring membership in an organization as a condition of employment. Provides that these provisions are controlling over home rule powers. The Chamber opposes this proposed amendment.
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