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Government Affairs Reports

  

 

November 3, 2017

 

This Week in Illinois

 

The legislature looks to return next week to Springfield to finish off the second and final week of fall veto session.  Several bills and issues remain on the docket.  

 

OUTSTANDING LEGISLATION FOR NEXT WEEK 

  • SB 1451 (Link/K. Burke) is a bill designed to help attract small cell technology to enable the next generation of wireless connectivity, (such as 5G deployment), is up in House Public Utilities  Committee next week.   Small cells are flexible network solutions that can be readily deployed to specific locations, including those where customers are prone to experience connectivity issues or in areas that can’t effectively be served by a traditional cell tower.  Thus, legislation is needed for small cells to be deployed in those locations. The Chamber is in support of the legislation. 
  • After passing the Senate last week and after failing by one vote in the House, it is expected that organized labor will take another crack at overriding the governor’s veto to SB 1905 (Silverstein/Moylan).  This bill would make it a criminal offense for units of local government to adopt so-called right to work zones.  The Chamber opposes this bill.  
  • HB 3419 (Andrade/Martinez) would unjustly punish companies who engage in perfectly legal federal tax planning retroactively.  Under the bill, the state would prohibit so-called “expatriated entities” who have engaged in corporate inversions from bidding on state contracts and prohibits the state’s pension systems from investing in the stock of such companies.  As a matter of fundamental tax policy, the Chamber was the only business group that opposes using the state’s procurement code to punish companies for engaging in perfectly legal federal tax planning.  
  • HB 2462 (Moeller/Biss) prohibits an employer from seeking the salary, including benefits or other compensation or salary history, of a job applicant. The very concerning changes being made by HB 2462 are the undermining of employer defenses along with the expansion of civil penalties, including punitive damages and injunctive relief. This bill all about increasing litigation opportunities and judicial awards against employers. The Chamber opposes any motion to override the governor’s veto. 
  • HB 302 (Martwick/Collins) is an initiative of the Treasurer’s Office that would require life insurance companies to cross-match lapsed or expired policies against the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File to find potential beneficiaries of unclaimed life insurance benefits. The bill requires all insurers to search policies in force as of Jan. 1, 2012, and to Jan. 1, 2000 if a company has electronically-searchable records.  The Chamber opposes this bill as it changes the terms of life insurance policies that have lapsed or expired – effectively reviving contracts that are no longer in force. We believe that violates the contract protections found in the Illinois and U.S. constitutions. 
  • HB 1797 (Davis/Trotter) removes a 40-year-old debt of the Illinois International Port District that was written off by the State and the Capital Development Board 36 ears ago.  The legislation does not create a $15 million windfall for the Port or create a $15 million hole for the State.  It does allow the Port to erase this number off their books so they can make new investments in their facility and drive economic growth.  The Chamber supports this bill and it is expected to pass favorably in the Senate.  
  • HB 2717 (Welch) is posted in the House Revenue Committee next week.  This legislation would authorize municipalities or counties to require the Illinois Department of Revenue to disclose confidential sales tax information of retailers located in these localities to third party contingent fee auditors employed by the municipalities or counties. The Chamber strongly opposes this legislation as drafted.

BILLS DEAD 

  • SB 81 (Lightford/Guzzardi) would increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour for those over the age of 18 and $13 for those under the age of 18 by 2022.  The Senate sponsor indicated that she does not have the votes to override the governor’s veto.  Proving all along the bill never had intentions of ever becoming law but was all about putting the governor on record for political purposes as opposing an increase.  Instead, the General Assembly should devote time and resources to actually improving our state’s economy instead of running ‘gotcha bills.’  
  • The Chamber is also pleased to announce that HB 3449 (Williams/T. Cullerton) will not move this fall.  Otherwise known as the ‘geolocation bill,’ this bill would have had immense impact on our state’s thriving technology sector.  A bill that all along was being pushed by trial lawyers would have prohibited private entities from receiving location information from a device until users are put through a consent process that would be long and cumbersome to both app developers, businesses and the consumers. 
  • The Chamber is also pleased to announce that the fake workers’ compensation proposals are dead.  An about face effort by the House and Senate Democrats to say they solved our state’s workers’ compensation are not moving this fall.  HB 2622 and HB 2525 are now officially dead.  

3 SUBJECT MATTER HEARINGS FOR NEXT WEEK

Next week there will be a joint subject matter hearing (meaning no votes will be taken) on both SB 2250 and HB 4141.  These bills were both introduced last week to to modify how capacity auctions are performed in MISO Zone 4 energy market (downstate Illinois).  The Mid-Continent Independent System Operator (MISO) has identified a likely long-term shortfall in the downstate service area and is urging the Governor and the legislature to adopt an Illinois-specific process reflecting the downstate power market.  

 

In essence, the legislation would authorize the Illinois Power Agency, with review and approval of the Illinois Commerce Commission, to conduct an Illinois-specific market-based capacity procurement process for downstate Illinois.  The Chamber currently is still reviewing the bill and currently does not have a position.  We encourage members that operate in the MISO market that have questions to reach out to Katie Stonewater.  

 

There will also be a joint subject matter hearing on why Illinois lost the Foxconn plat to Wisconsin.  The details of the hearing remain vague but there has been a request by the Chairman to receive information from DCEO as to what incentives they offered the Taiwanese company.  The Chamber plans to provide testimony to the joint-committee as to what Illinois can do to attract this sort of investment in the future. 

 

And lastly, there will be a subject matter hearing in the Senate Subcommittee on Confined Animal Feeding Operations.  The impetus of this hearing is also vague.  However, the Chamber intends on providing written testimony to the subcommittee supporting the state’s agriculture industry.  

 

FEDERAL TAX REFORM UPDATE

This week the House Weights and Means Committee introduced the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1).  For full language of the proposal click here and for a section-by-section summary of the proposal click here.  The Chamber’s Tax Institute is still pouring through the bill and we will be communicating with our congressional delegation in the coming days.  Next stop, possibly very soon, is committee activity, and then House floor consideration and potential passage in that chamber perhaps as early as late November.  If you have any feedback over the proposal, please reach out to Keith Staats.  

 

THUMBTACK: SMALL BIZ FRIENDLINESS SURVEY 

Conducted since 2012, the Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness Survey is one of the largest continuous study of small business owners’ perceptions of government policy in the United States.

 

This year’s study reached 13,284 small business owners in all fifty states, including electricians, music teachers, wedding planners, wellness professionals, and others operating in a variety of industries. These business owners graded the state and local government policies that affect their small businesses.

 

To mark the survey’s sixth year, Thumbtack released a report highlighting the top policy concerns for skilled professionals and the “best practices” for business friendliness.

 

This really cool study offers unique a unique 50 state map  that rank states from overall friendliness to ease of hiring to job training programs and ranking of various regulatory structures.  

 

The study also breaks down the map by individual states with case studies and individual grades on the various state policies.  Check out Illinois’ grades here.  

 

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