Monthly Governmental  Updates from IHLA
One of IHLA's primary goals is to effectively communicate with, and update, IHLA membership on legislative, regulatory, and political issues. These issues - at both the state and local level - have the potential to significantly impact the hotel industry in Illinois and our members' hotel operations.
 
With this goal in mind, IHLA's Executive Committee voted in July 2017 to publish for IHLA membership, a more detailed monthly report and update on the work of the Illinois General Assembly (when they are in Regular Session), Chicago City Council, and the Cook County Board, as well as cover other issues developing in other areas of the State.
 
This update will complement the coverage in IHLA's monthly eNewsletter and the monthly conference calls that are held with IHLA Leadership, the Governmental Affairs Team, and Regional Captains throughout the state to assure that IHLA members are fully informed and offer an opportunity for members to provide insight and feedback on how these issues will impact hotel operations.
 
Monthly updates will be emailed to IHLA members and published in the Members Only section of IllinoisHotels.org. Please read below for August updates for the Chicago City Council, Cook County Board, and Illinois General Assembly. 

Additional Resources: 
 
Illinois General Assembly Schedules HOUSE | SENATE

Cook County Board of Commissioners MEETING CALENDAR

City of Chicago Office of the City Clerk MEETING CALENDAR

Illinois General Assembly LEGISLATION INFORMATION SYSTEM (LIS)
 
For questions about the latest legislative, regulatory, & political issues, please contact:
Brenda Jo Jacob

Director of Governmental Affairs
BJacob@IllinoisHotels.org  | 217-522-1231

August 2017 -  CHICAGO CITY COUNCIL
 
Automated External Defibrillator Ordinance : This ordinance is expected to be heard in the Finance Committee on 9/5/17 and would mandate the number of defibrillators required for each hotel. IHLA has been working with Chairman Ed Burke and Alderman Patrick Thompson and expects to review amended language by the week of 8/28/17. IHLA submitted language to Chairman Burke that was reviewed by the Heart Association to replace the requirement that hotels put one AED on each floor and one in each banquet room with a capacity of 50 or more with language that would require a designated number of AEDs for smaller hotels (500 rooms or less), medium size hotels (501 to 1,000 rooms), and larger hotels (1,001 rooms or more). The specific number of AEDs for each hotel has not been determined at this time. The next City Council meeting is 9/6/17.
 
Sexual Harassment Ordinance : This ordinance is on hold during the August recess; IHLA is working out the details on the proposed panic buttons for hotel workers assigned to guest rooms. The ordinance was referred to the Workforce Development and Audit Committee, chaired by Alderman Patrick O'Connor. The committee has not been posted for a hearing yet, so no movement will occur until September or later. The measure would require hotel employees assigned to work in guest rooms or restrooms to be equipped with panic buttons.
 
Airbnb/Short Term Rentals : The City Council voted to ban short-term rentals (Airbnb) in parts of the 13th Ward near Midway Airport, where Speaker Madigan is the Committeeman. The Alderman has proposed further bans in other parts of the 13th ward. On 8/11/17, IHLA met with Commissioner Rosa Escanero of Consumer Protection to get an update on enforcement of the new ordinance. The Commissioner pledged to crack down on short term rentals and move ahead on enforcement.
 
Employment Practices for Low-Wage Workers : Alderman Scott Waguespack introduced an ordinance to try to remedy problems with scheduling and employment practices for low-wage workers. The proposal would mandate hourly workers get at least two weeks notice of any scheduling changes at work or be entitled to extra pay. IHLA is opposed to the ordinance at this time and is working with the IRA & IRMA on the issue. Discussions are taking place with the Alderman and he understands our concerns. The ordinance is on hold at this time. A website called Windy City Works is being finalized to create awareness of the issue.
 
City of Chicago Budget Shortfall : The Mayor's office projects a $114.2 million budget shortfall for 2018, but the mayor (who has already raised a slew of taxes and fees) has not said whether he will ask taxpayers to cover the difference. The mayor has already committed $70 million to hire new police officers, and there is also tens of millions more dollars in potential additional costs for police reform efforts. If he is going to raise taxes again, it would likely be for 2018, as the election is in 2019.
 
August 2017 -  COOK COUNTY BOARD
 
Soda Tax : The new penny an ounce soda tax went to effect on 8/2/17, a month late due to the IRMA lawsuit that blocked the tax from going into effect.
 
Commissioner Richard Boykin is considering challenging Preckwinkle in the next election. Boykin, along with Commissioners Tobolski, Fritchey, Morrison, and Schneider introduced an ordinance to repeal the soda tax ordinance, and it may be considered at the Cook County Board meeting on 9/13/17. A recent poll showed that some 85% oppose the soda tax.
 
The next Cook County Board meeting is 9/13/17 when the repeal of the soda tax is expected to be heard.

August 2017 - ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
 
Tourism Funding : During the 2017 Spring legislative session of the Illinois General Assembly, IHLA advocated for a number of key tourism initiatives that were incorporated into the final budget and budget implementation package. These measures passed the General Assembly, were vetoed and then subsequently became law by passage of a veto override motion. These included:
  • Increasing in all FY2018 tourism funding by 4.3%, based on the projected hotel tax growth in FY2018 (most Departments took a 10% cut).
  • Securing the release of the accumulated fund balance from the Chicago Tourism Industry Promotion Fund (CTIP) for Choose Chicago. This one time additional appropriation represented in a 23% increase in state funding over FY2017.
  • Separating the Tourism Promotion Fund (TPF) from the General Fund. This should stop the past practice of governors utilizing those funds for other, non-tourism related purposes.
Averted Borrowing from the State's Tourism Funds : The budget implementation act that accompanied passage of the budget allows the Illinois Comptroller and the Illinois Treasurer to borrow up to $1.2B from "special funds" (there are over 700 "special funds", they include the tourism funds). IHLA, along with other industry partners, advocated against borrowing from the tourism fund with both the Comptroller and the Treasurer and their respective staffs. As a result of these advocacy efforts by IHLA, we do not anticipate any borrowing from the tourism funds in the near future.
 
Minimum Wage : On 8/25/17, the governor vetoed SB 81, which narrowly passed the House of Representatives (61-53-2) and Senate (30-23-2). The legislation would have phased in increases in the minimum wage, eventually raising it to $15 per hour in 2020. The legislation did not contain an IHLA-supported Chicago preemption, but also did not change current law on tip credits (which IHLA supported).
 
Live Theater Production Tax Credit : The governor recently signed IHLA-supported SB852. The law extends the Live Theater Production Tax Credit Act to 1/1/27. It also increases the amount of tax credits awarded to $4,000,000 from $2,000,000.  
 
Short Term Rental Taxation & Regulation : IHLA has begun researching and collecting legislation on short term rentals (STR), including how they are taxed and regulated in other jurisdictions. It is IHLA's intention to advocate for legislation that would "level the playing field" so that STR's pay the same taxes and comply with similar health and safety regulations as hotels.

Legislation Introduced to Roll Back Cook County Sweetened Drink Tax: Two bills, HB 4082 and HB 4083, have been introduced. They would both retroactively end Cook County's ability to tax sweetened beverages.

 Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association
P: 312-346-3135 | F: 312-346-6036 

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