June 17, 2016
This Week in Springfield
PAID LEAVE AMENDMENT FILED BY SEN. BISS
An amendment was recently filed by Sen. Daniel Biss (D- Evanston) that would create the Family Leave Insurance Act. Under the proposed amendment, an employee would be allowed to take up to twelve weeks of family leave within any 24-month period for the purpose of providing care for the birth of a child, adoption of a child or placement of a foster child, or serious health condition of a family member.
This comes in light of a spring legislative session that saw several employee lave mandates introduced.
The legislature is currently not in session until after the election so it is unclear at this moment what the sponsor’s motives are. However, the Chamber will continue to monitor the amendment.
FCA TO INVEST $350M IN THE BELVIDERE ASSEMBLY
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced on Thursday that it would spend $350 million to prepare the Belvidere assembly plant to produce the new Jeep Cherokee. The Cherokee is currently assembled in Toledo, Ohio.
The Belvidere facility currently assembles the Dodge Dart, Jeep Compass, and Jeep Patriot. All three models are scheduled to cease production by the end of the year.
FCA said the move will create 350 new local jobs in the Rockford-area.
SHELTERED MARKET EXEC. ORDER SIGNED BY GOV.
On Wednesday, Gov. Rauner signed Executive Order 2016-08 aimed at addressing a 2015 CMS study that found disparities between the availability of minority-owned and female-owned businesses and their utilization on state contracts.
Many of the reforms outlined in the E.O will implement many of the recommendations made in the 2015 study. Reforms such as making it easier for businesses owned by minorities, women and those with disabilities to understand and access state markets.
The E.O also provides for a sheltered market initiative that would examine disparities across different categories of spending and work to advance parity in state contracting for these groups.
The E.O took effect immediately on July 13.
LAWMAKERS CALL ON MAUTINO TO RESIGN
A group of Republican lawmakers are calling for the state’s chief watchdog to resign from his position as Auditor General.
A joint resolution was filed Wednesday by Rep. Dwight Kay (R- Glen Carbon) that would allow the General Assembly, by a three-fifths vote in each house, remove Mautino as Auditor General.
The resolution is in response to questionable spending when Mautino was a state legislator for the 76th House district.
Mautino’s campaign fund shows that he spent over $200,000 on gas and car repairs and $94,000 on repayments to a bank on a $26,000 loan.
He has until July 25 to provide the Illinois State Board of Elections more information regarding his unusual spending.
PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP TAKES OFF IN JOLIET
On Monday, Gov. Rauner unveiled a new public-private partnership (P3) project at the CenterPoint Intermodal Center in Joliet.
The proposed project would provide private investment for a much needed bridge over the Des Plaines River at Houbolt Road to ease traffic to and from the CenterPoint Intermodal Center.
Between Amazon.com’s fulfillment center, the intermodal and the construction of a new Ikea, the area has experienced a robust expansion of economic growth. However, the growth has brought an increase in congestion on Route 53 and surrounding roads.
“Illinois needs more projects just like these creative solutions to fund infrastructure and keep Illinois competitive far into the 21st century,” Rauner said.
The proposed toll bridge will be funded and operated by CenterPoint Properties. Construction is expected to begin as early as 2017 and the bridge is scheduled to open late 2018.
COOK COUNTY LONG RANGE TRANSPORTATION PLAN
Earlier this week Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle released the first long range transportation plan for Cook County in over 75 years. Infrastructure Council Executive Director Benjamin Brockschmidt served on the Program Committee providing input on transportation issues ranging from transit to freight movement. Highlights of the plan include:
- Promoting the region as a freight hub
- Increasing regional accessibility to transit
- Push for additional funding
As part of regional efforts to improve transportation investment, Cook County will continue to decrease the amount of money diverted to non-transportation areas by $45 million. Ending the diversions of transportation funds remains a top priority of the Illinois Chamber and is why we continue to work on the proposed constitutional amendment to prevent transportation revenue from being diverted.
You can access the final report through the Connecting Cook County website.
GOV LAUNCHES SCHOOL FUNDING REFORM COMM.
A new state commission was formed this week tasked with fixing the state’s antiquated school funding formula.
The bi-partisan Illinois School Funding Reform Commission is made up a 25-member panel that is charged with delivering “a comprehensive solution to reform Illinois’ school funding” by February 1.
Illinois currently ranks 50 out of 50 when it comes to the percentage of school costs that are paid by the state, thus relying heavily on local property taxes.
The 25-member panel is made up of Republican and Democrat lawmakers, the Lt. Governor, secretaries of the governor’s cabinet, and various regional school superintendents.
Did you know that 60 percent of all cyber attacks are against small businesses? That was just one of many surprising statistics coming from Tuesday’s Cybersecurity Conference in Schaumburg. The Illinois Chamber and the Schaumburg Business Association sponsored the event, which was one in a series of cybersecurity events by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber member SmithAmundsen, LLC’s Colin Gainer, a partner at the firm, served on a panel called “Managing Cybersecurity in the C-Suite.” This conference explained how cyber attacks are evolving, what the risks are to business, and how to best prevent such attacks.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY GETS TWO NEW YOUNG FACES
The Illinois General Assembly will receive two new legislators this week. In the House, 25-year old Grundy County Board Chairman David Welter will replace former Republican Representative John Anthony.
The other newcomer will be Democrat Omar Aquino, who will be replacing Senator William Delgado in the Senate.
Both of the newcomers are in their twenties.
CHAMBER PAC GOLF OUTING
It’s that time of the year again! The Chamber PAC’s annual golf outing is set for Wed., Sept. 7 at The Rail Golf Course in Springfield.
Join business leaders, legislators, and candidates throughout the state for a fun filled day of golf and networking outside of the office!
To register or sponsor the event, please click here.
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