This Week in Springfield
Business owners can breathe a sigh of relief after the Governor vetoed a proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. SB 81 (Lightford/Guzzardi) would incrementally increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022 for those over 18 and to $12 per hour by 2022 for those under 18.
The legislation also creates a convoluted credit against the withholding tax liability of employers with 50 or fewer employees, calculated based on the increase in the minimum wage. The Illinois Chamber asked for a veto by the Governor. In the Senate, SB 81 received only 30 votes, 6 short of an override. Joining all Senate Republicans in voting against SB 81 were Sen. Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) and Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield). SB 81. Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) voted “present”. Senate Democrats “not voting” were Bertino-Tarrant (Shorewood), Haine (Alton), Harris (Flossmoor), and Silverstein (Chicago).
Gov. Rauner also sided with the Chamber by vetoing HB 2525 (Hoffman/Raoul). This bill is being promoted by the House and Senate Democrats as workers’ compensation reform. It is far from it. Codification of current bad case law for “causation” and “traveling employee” merely locks employers into the court-expanded liability. In addition, it prevents employers from being able to achieve a change in the case law from future courts. Some benefit relief is included but is far outweighed by increased regulation and litigation that are contained in the measure. The Illinois Chamber urged for a veto by the Governor. No Republicans voted for HB 2525 when it passed the House on May 31. Sixty-four Democrats supported the bill.
The Governor also stood up for the state’s technology and innovation sectors by approving HB 791 (Demmer/McConnaughay). This bill would prohibit a unit of local government from implementing an ordinance prohibiting autonomous vehicles from operating within the unit’s jurisdiction. The timing of this bill is significant, since the aldermen from the City of Chicago were working towards prohibiting autonomous vehicles from city streets. The Chamber requested the governor to sign the legislation.
Lastly, the Governor issued a veto to SB 1720 (Biss/Hernandez) at the behest of the Illinois Chamber. HB 1720 increases criminal penalties for violation of the Wage Payment & Collection Act. It also bars contractors for 5 years from bidding on any state procurement by a business violating certain Illinois employment laws, any comparable laws in other states or the federal FLSA.
The Illinois Chamber sought a veto by the Governor. SB 1720 also received only 30 Senate votes, far short of the 2/3 needed to override. Sen. Steve Landek (D-Bridgeview) voted “no”. Democrats Bertino-Tarrant, Haine, Harris, Hastings (Orland Hills), Morrison and Stadelman (Rockford) all were recorded as “not voting”.
However, the Chamber did fall short on a bill this week. The Governor did approve a bill that was opposed by the Chamber and several other business groups. SB 647 (Collins/Turner) would continue the collection of court fees (up to $500) associated with filing a foreclose lawsuit in Illinois. It also extends a judicial sale fee (up to $300) on foreclosed homes. These temporary fees can add as much as $800 in additional costs onto struggling Illinois residents and businesses.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD; SUBMIT NAFTA COMMENTS
As you may already know, negtioations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are currently ongoing.
Given the 23-year-old trade deal could be enhanced, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce is seeking comments and information on the areas of NAFTA that have been most beneficial to Illinois businesses and exporters.
We are also interested in comments about potential proposals that may have an adverse or unintended consequence to your business or industry.
We want the voice of Illinois business to be heard during these negotiations.
To better fulfill our promise, we want to provide the Illinois congressional delegation and the administration with a document summarizing the Illinois business community’s top issues pertaining to NAFTA.