News Release
Mike Paone, Vice President
For Immediate Release

October Government Affairs Update

Joliet, IL. – October, 2, 2019 – On September 24 and 25 a group representing the Chamber traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with a number of elected officials as well as additional offices for briefings. The group was able to hold very effective and informative meetings with Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Congressman Bill Foster, Congressman Dan Lipinski, and Congresswoman Lauren Underwood. Unfortunately, Congressman Adam Kinzinger was not available, but a meeting was conducted with his Legislative Director. In addition, we were joined by a small group from the Decatur Chamber of Commerce and happily joined them in meeting with Congressman Rodney Davis. We conducted three briefings with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on our three main topics that we carried then on to meetings with the elected officials. Focus was given to Infrastructure (projects and funding), Healthcare (AHP’s, Health Insurance Tax, Cadillac Tax, Hospital Issues), and Trade (USMCA and Tariffs). Finally, a meeting was held with the U.S. Department of Transportation and more specifically the Build America Bureau to talk about the number of remaining infrastructure projects that exist in our region as well as the many ways to look for funding. In all, a very productive trip was held amongst the breaking news of impeachment talks. Our hope is that the developing situation will not impede progress on the issues that need attention most. We would like to thank our sponsors CITGO and AT&T for their support.

If you’re interested in more details or if you would like to find out more about the work that our Government Affairs committee conducts, please reach out to Mike at
The Senate did pass a stopgap spending bill, days before the deadline to prevent a government shutdown. Lawmakers had until Monday night (Sept. 30) to prevent the second funding lapse of the year. The measure, which passed the House the week before, now heads to President Trump’s desk. The so-called continuing resolution funds the government through Nov. 21, setting up another potential showdown over spending just a week before Thanksgiving.

One more Federal note, the Department of Labor final overtime regulation was released earlier last week. The rule revises the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) test for determining when an employee is exempt from earning overtime pay, a/k/a “white collar” overtime exemptions. The Department estimates that 1.2 million additional workers will be entitled to overtime pay as result of the increase to the standard salary level.
The rule sets the salary threshold at $35,568/ per year ($684/per week), which is slightly higher than the Department’s initial $35,308/per year level noted in the earlier-announced proposed rule. The final number reflects a more fair and balanced approach than the Obama Administration’s rule which sought to more than double the salary level to $47,476/per year. The DOL rule also permits employers to use non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments to satisfy up to 10% of the standard level on an annual basis. Any shortages will have to be made up in the following pay period. The Final Rule is effective January 1, 2020. This will give employers more than 3 months to come into compliance.

On the State level, Governor Pritzker signed HB 834 into law, effective September 29, 2019. This is an amendment to the Illinois Equal Pay Act that will bar employers from asking applicants’ compensation history during job screenings.

Governor JB Pritzker also has announced $4.2 million in funding for Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) throughout Illinois. The funding is available to universities, community colleges and business focused non-profit organizations to provide small businesses with support services through the operation of a Small Business Development Center. The deadline to apply for funding is October 25 at 5 p.m. “Illinois is home to more than a million small businesses that create good jobs and provide needed services and goods in their communities,” said Governor Pritzker. “My administration is committed to making sure that these small businesses can thrive and get access to the support and resources they need to keep creating good jobs and growing our state’s economy, which is why I’m proud to invest $4.2 million in funding to serve them.”

We are closely watching issues that may arise during the veto session concerning trailer bills with recreational marijuana and expanded gaming legislation. Also, we’re interested to see what came out of the summer working groups discussing property tax relief. We hope to announce soon an event to hear from some of our local legislators on these topics.