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August 25, 2017

This Week In Springfield

Neither the House or Senate were in this week.  However, the four legislative leaders have been meeting throughout the week to hash out a compromise on education funding reform.
Earlier this week, House Speaker Michael Madigan cancelled session and a vote to override of the governor’s veto on SB 1 (education funding proposal) due to the progress that was being made between the four top leaders.
More positive news broke late yesterday when the Republican leaders, Democrat leaders and the governor all issued similar statements signaling that there was a conceptual agreement made to provide cloture to the education funding debate.
There is very little details on the specifics of the legislation.  However, the next few days  staff and attorneys will draft the agreed-to concepts into bill format.  The four leaders are scheduled to return to Springfield on Sunday to review language and the House is scheduled to be in on Monday at 4:30pm.
As history has shown, nothing is ever over in Springfield.  However, the recent news within the last 24 hours point to significant bipartisanship that may push this issue to a close.
GOV. RAUNER TAKES ACTION ON SEVERAL BILLS
Gov. Rauner has been busy the last week taking action on several pieces of legislation.  Expect more action on bills in the coming weeks as legislative action deadlines by the governor are approaching.  
Thursday, Gov. Rauner signed a Chamber-backed bill that is a major success for the car rental industry in Illinois.  SB 1730 (Munoz/Turner) is a pro-business, pro-consumer bill that would align rental car damage waivers (CDW) with 47 other states. Current law artificially caps what car rental companies can charge for the collision damage waiver product that they offer to renters. Under SB 1730, this would change to allow the market to determine the price. SB 1730 maintains all mandated consumer protections that are currently required for CDW, it just removes the price cap.  The Chamber applauds the efforts by those  sides of the aisle and the governor for approving this important piece of legislation.

HB2622 (Fine/Biss) was vetoed in its entirety. This measure uses employer and insurer tax dollars to capitalize the creation of a state established, mutual insurance company to compete with the over 300 insurers that already provide workers’ compensation coverage. The $10 million of startup money are tax dollars that currently go to run the operations of the Workers’ Compensation Commission. The legislation provides that the funds are a “loan” to be paid back with interest. Given the track record regarding finances of Illinois state government, it is difficult to believe the loan would be paid in a timely fashion. Furthermore, removing resources meant to support the operations of the Commission jeopardizes the entire adjudication of workers’ compensation for injured workers as well as employers.  The Chamber supports the governor’s veto.
HB 3419 (Andrade/Martinez) was also vetoed by the governor late last Friday.  This bill would prohibit expatriate entities who have committed corporate inversions from bidding in state contracts and investing in the state’s pension systems. This legislation is designed to punish companies that engaged in corporate inversions. The Chamber ended up being the only business group opposing the measure as it would punish entities who were previously engaging in perfectly legal tax planning.  The Chamber supports the governor’s veto.

SODA TAX PROHIBITION/REPEAL BILLS FILED 

Given the House’s cancellation of session this week, the House Revenue and Finance Committee’s subject matter hearing on the proposed soda tax repeal was also cancelled.  
Hearings for the two proposals, the Democrat version HB 4083 (Mussman) and the House Republican version, HB 4082 (McAuliffe), have been rescheduled for Tuesday, August 29 at 9:00am.  The two bills would ban any home rule county or non-home rule county from taxing the use, sale or purchase of sweetened beverages by weight or volume.
You can tell lawmakers you support repealing the Cook County soda tax by  submitting a witness slip. All witness slips will be read into the record, allowing committee members to hear that you support the bill before they vote. Filling out a witness slip takes less than a few minutes, but could have a huge effect on the committee’s decision.
The Chamber is in support of both of these bills and would ask members who feel inclined to please file a witness slip in support of both HB 4082 and HB 4083.  
CHAMBER SEEKS INPUT ON CALL CENTER BILL
This summer, Rep. Halpin (D- Rock Island) filed HB 4081 which would create the Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act.  The bill provides that an employer that intends to relocate a call center or portions of a call center from Illinois to another state or a foreign country must provide notice to the State Treasurer at least 120 days before the relocation. In addition, the bill also authorizes a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 for violations.
If you operate a call center in Illinois and want to receive updates on this legislation, please reach out to Tyler Diers.
SUMMER IS ENDING BUT GOLF SEASON ISN’T
If you haven’t registered for the Chamber’s golf outing there is still time to do so – but spots are filling up!  As always, the event will take place at the Rail Golf Course in Springfield.  If you are planing to attend and have not registered, please do so by 12 o’clock NOON on August 5.
IL BIZ INTERESTED IN SHARING THEIR STORIES
The U.S Chamber is in the process of releasing their state legal climate rankings on September 12 and as part of the roll out, they are doing an event at the U.S Chamber’s Small Business Summit that day.  The U.S Chamber is looking to find a small business owner/representative who can speak at the event about their own experience with abusive litigation in Illinois.  If you are interested in attending the event and speaking to the audience, please email Tyler Diers.

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