Government Affairs Roundup
“Your Timely Roundup of Local, State, and Federal Updates”

Chamber members:

Please click on the link below for an important survey regarding the current state of business in a mid-year 2021 check in. This feedback is extremely important so that we can use this in conversations going forward on what type of programs and assistance would be best as all continue to recover from the pandemic.

*Government Affairs Roundup brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital*

Governor Announces Re-Election Campaign
Governor Pritzker has made it official: He’s running for re-election in 2022. Pritzker made the announcement on social media, sharing a three-minute video highlighting his role leading the state during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“From the beginning, JB Pritzker knew we faced a serious threat. In Washington, science took a backseat to politics, but in Illinois, we knew the stakes were too high,” the narrator says, interspersed with video of former President Donald Trump, Pritzker, and TV clips about the state’s efforts to secure PPE, provide childcare for workers, and send financial support to small businesses. “Strong leadership helped get us to the other side of this crisis, and helped bring us together as one Illinois,” the narrator says. The video then cuts to testimonials from a nurse, a physician assistant member of the National Guard, Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows and others.

“Look, I may not have gotten every decision right, but at every step along the way, I followed the science and focused on protecting the lives and livelihoods of the people of Illinois,” Pritzker said toward the end of the video. “Part of why I’m running for reelection is because I watched the heroes across our state step up and do the right thing. We had so much to accomplish, and we were able to do that together.”

The tag line: Strong leadership in tough times.

In a press release, Pritzker’s running mate, Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, previewed other campaign themes the two are likely to hit while on the trail. “It has been my honor to work alongside Gov. J.B. Pritzker these last few years to move Illinois in the right direction and lift up working families. From increasing the minimum wage, making historic investments in infrastructure and creating jobs, to expanding access to health care and bringing fiscal stability back to state government, we’ve made real progress for the people of Illinois.”

The release also played up the state’s recent upgrades from two ratings agencies as well as improvements in the state’s infrastructure and “places to do business” rankings.

Four Republicans are in the race to take on Pritzker in November 2022: state Sen. Darren Bailey, businessman Gary Rabine, former state Sen. Paul Schimpf and Christopher Roper, a downstate resident. Pritzker also faces one challenger for the Democratic primary, West Side activist Beverly Miles. The primary is not until next June.

Deadlines Have Been Set
Senator Chuck Schumer seems to be channeling Sen. Mitch McConnell these days. The Senate majority leader is taking a gamble worthy of his predecessor by scheduling two major deadlines this week to force action on President Biden’s agenda. The hardball move is meant to test whether Republicans who say they want bipartisanship mean it — but also to strong-arm his own ideologically diverse caucus into line on the massive, Democrats-only reconciliation bill.

Senator Schumer will file cloture today on the bipartisan infrastructure framework, whether or not final text has been drafted. That will set up a procedural vote on the bill 30 hours later, putting Republicans on record for the first time Wednesday even as they continue negotiating on the final language.

Senators in the group spent the entire weekend trying to plug a nearly $100 billion hole in the $1 trillion plan after Republicans took issue with plans to beef up IRS enforcement. (More on this in a second.) Sources familiar with the ongoing talks said Sunday night that there are other outstanding issues: The group was still haggling over something in almost every category of the bill, from highways and transit to water and power infrastructure. Sen. Schumer thinks both sides have had plenty of time to reach an agreement. He’s been clear about his July time frame on this for weeks. And August recess is fast approaching, a time when senators — including Schumer — want to get home to campaign for reelection.

Expect Schumer to argue this week that there is no reason not to proceed to the bill while continuing to negotiate. He made that argument for the massive China competition bill as well as the Asian American hate crimes bill a few months ago. But Republicans in the group have made it pretty clear that they’ll filibuster their own agreement if the language isn’t set by then.

Senator Schumer also expects to have all 50 Senate Democrats (read: JOE MANCHIN of West Virginia and KYRSTEN SINEMA of Arizona) committed to the chamber’s unified budget plan this week. Passage of the $3.5 trillion budget, you’ll remember, is needed to unlock the fast-tracking tool to circumvent the filibuster. Without Manchin/Sinema on board, we could see some progressive Senate Democrats vote against moving to the bipartisan bill.

Senator Manchin has said he needs to see more details on the budget before he makes a decision. More details are expected before the vote. Schumer’s double dare reminds some of McConnell’s move to force his conference’s hand on Obamacare repeal in the summer of 2017. In that case, the move ended up backfiring: JOHN MCCAIN opposed the bill, and a half-decade-long GOP campaign promise went up in flames.

Senator Schumer is also taking risks here. A well-placed source said that he didn’t give a heads-up to Sinema, the lead Democratic negotiator for the Dems on BIF, before announcing his move. (Schumer’s office says staff was notified beforehand and it’s not like his timeline was a secret.)

Senator Portman said Sunday that he’s been on the phone with the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation all weekend trying to figure out the pay-for problem. He’s proposed delaying implementation of a Trump-era, prescription drug costs proposal that has yet to go into effect, called the Medicare Rebate Rule.

It appears that repealing the rule would save about $180 billion. There’s also been some chatter about just delaying it for smaller savings. But a GOP source familiar with the talks said that Democrats are also eyeing the same potential pot of money for their own reconciliation bill, which they promised Manchin would be fully paid for.

GOP Says Schumer Vote Will Fail
Senate Republicans are signaling they’re not going to agree to move forward on a scaled-down bipartisan infrastructure package if Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) goes ahead with his plan to force a vote Wednesday.

Schumer has said the Senate will vote Wednesday to begin debate, but GOP aides on Monday say Republicans will withhold their support, preventing the Senate from getting the 60 votes necessary to trigger debate on the $1.2 trillion, eight-year bipartisan proposal.

Democrats are worried that Republicans are seeking to run out the clock on talks on the bill, making it more difficult for Democrats to pass a separate $3.5 trillion package that is connected to the talks. But Republicans say the bipartisan bill has yet to be written and Schumer is rushing the process.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday said that Republicans will not vote to proceed to the infrastructure bill until the bipartisan negotiators reach a final agreement and release the legislative text. “We need to see the bill before voting to go to it. I think that’s pretty easily understood,” he told reporters after walking off the Senate floor. Pressed again on whether his caucus would vote to defeat a motion to begin debate, McConnell repeated: “I think we need to see the bill before we decide whether or not to vote for it.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a key member of the bipartisan group, said Monday that work to finalize the bill won’t likely be finished by Wednesday. Collins told a reporter that Schumer should call off Wednesday’s procedural vote because the bipartisan group won’t be able to wrap up its work in the next two days. Democrats are pointing out that Republicans have been willing to begin debates before even if legislation is still being crafted.

Thirty-seven Republicans voted to proceed to the Endless Frontier Act, legislation the Senate passed last month to improve U.S. competitiveness with China, on May 17 even though major components had yet to be added through a substitute amendment. But Republican aides say the bipartisan infrastructure package is a much more significant bill.

One GOP aide said Schumer’s decision to force the procedural vote Wednesday “has pissed people off” and is “forcing the issue before it’s ready.” “This is something that’s far more substantial than that,” the aide said of the bipartisan infrastructure bill compared to the motion to proceed to the Endless Frontier Act in the spring. The aide said Republican senators are not expected to vote to begin the debate the bill “if they’re still working on it.”

Aides said there would be a more complete picture of what to expect after Senate Republican leaders hold their weekly meeting Monday afternoon and other lawmakers have time to speak face-to-face on the Senate floor.

The latest holdup is a dispute over a proposal to provide $40 billion to the Internal Revenue Service to beef up enforcement of tax compliance, which was estimated to net $100 billion in revenue to help offset the cost of infrastructure spending. Conservative Republicans rebelled against the idea in recent weeks, putting pressure on moderate GOP senators in the bipartisan group to back off from it.

It now looks like that proposed way to pay for it will be pulled from the bill, but that leaves negotiators in the tough position of finding $100 billion from another revenue source. Another option would be to shrink the overall cost of the bill, which is estimated at $1.2 trillion over eight years or $973 billion over five years.

Republican negotiators signaled over the weekend they’re not ready to vote on beginning the Senate debate Wednesday, even though there are only three weeks left in the work period before the August recess, which is scheduled to begin Aug. 6.

Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), the lead Republican negotiator, says the bipartisan group is working on the “final details” and has pushed back against what he’s called Schumer’s “arbitrary deadline.”

“We’ll push as hard as we can. We’re working all weekend again and that’s important. It’s important we get it done because it’s an urgent matter. But we ought not to have an arbitrary deadline forcing this process,” Portman said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Schumer is pressing the bipartisan group to agree to move forward this week on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal because he wants the Senate to also take up and pass the budget resolution before Congress leaves town for an extended recess.

Another key negotiator, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), said Sunday that he would not vote to proceed to a House-passed shell bill that would be used to pass a bipartisan infrastructure deal through the Senate if the bipartisan negotiators haven’t finalized their agreement. “How can I vote for cloture when the bill isn’t written?” Cassidy asked on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace. Cassidy also said he and his colleagues need a “little bit more time to get it right.”

The Louisiana senator complained that the Senate leadership and the White House haven’t been willing to make enough concessions to help the process along. “We need Senate leadership, Schumer and the White House to work with us. Right now I can frankly tell you that they’ve not,” Cassidy said on Fox. “We are competing with their $3.5 trillion plan. They want everything reasonable on their side, not helping us. Again, we can pass this, we just don’t need programmed failure.”

How Did We Get Here … Spending Plan Update
President Biden’s Senate visit marked his first before the entire Senate Democratic Caucus, with the goal to preach unity as he and Democratic leaders plow forward on a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package and a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure framework, with the hope of action next week.

“We’re going to get this done,” Biden told reporters as he walked through corridors that had been part of his Senate home base for 36 years.

Multiple Senate Democrats told reporters following the presidential pep rally that Biden’s message was positive and upbeat behind the two packages as they look to retain the support of a crucial group of centrist members. For now, that seems to be the case as those members have continued to keep their powder dry.  Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the most vocal critic within the conference of a potential $3 trillion-plus package, told reporters that he is “open” to supporting the $3.5 trillion framework, but indicated that he still wants to see how it’s paid for.

“They’ve worked hard on it. We want to see it, and… I’ve been very clear that I want to see the pay-fors,” Manchin said. When asked if the price tag is too high for his taste, he responded, “Depends on how you pay for it.”

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), another centrist member, said he will vote on the motion to proceed to the bill shortly after labeling the $3.5 trillion price point a “shit-pile of dough.” “The price tag is a lot of money but it doesn’t scare me, it’s just how it’s being spent. There are plenty of needs out there, we just have to figure out how it’s being spent,” Tester said.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is the other centrist to watch. She plans to review it based on what’s best for Arizona rather than the potential $3.5 trillion figure, according to her staff.

The proposed deal would cover the cost of the package through tax reforms to the corporate and international tax codes, as well as through more intensive enforcement. The administration has maintained that individuals earning less than $400,000 annually would not face any tax increases. The coming legislation would implement a tax on imports from nations that do not abide by aggressive climate change policies.

Five Questions for Democrats on Their $3.5 Trillion Budget
Key Senate Democrats reportedly reached an agreement on a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that would facilitate a wide-ranging spending package, but many details about what the spending measure will look like remain to be seen.

Democrats are seeking to pass a budget resolution that would pave the way for a separate bill that would include spending in areas such as education, climate and health care. Democrats intend to offset the cost of the spending through tax increases on the wealthy and corporations and savings from lower prescription drug prices, and also suggested that some of the package could be financed through increased long-term economic growth.

There are still many steps that Democrats need to take before a spending package becomes law.  Lawmakers have yet to release the text of a budget resolution, which needs to be adopted in order for Democrats to pass a spending bill through the budget-reconciliation process without any Republican votes. Once a budget resolution is adopted, lawmakers will need to craft a spending bill in such a way that it can get support of nearly every Democratic lawmaker and adhere to Senate rules.

Here are five unanswered questions about the Democrats’ plans for a spending package, in light of this week’s budget deal.

  1. How do major spending programs take shape?

President Biden and congressional Democrats have outlined their priorities for a spending bill, but will have to provide more specifics when they actually draft legislation.

The budget deal seeks to allow a spending bill to cover a variety of topics, including universal pre-K, paid family and medical leave, clean energy tax incentives, and adding a Medicare benefit for dental, vision and hearing.

Many of the items Democrats want to include in their spending package have also been part of proposals that Biden has offered earlier this year, but details still need to be fleshed out and the ultimate bill could have some differences from past proposals.

One key spending item whose program design is unclear is an expansion of Medicaid in the 12 states that haven’t already implemented an expansion under ObamaCare. Democrats have floated multiple ways to achieve this goal, such as creating a new federal program for eligible residents in the 12 states or creating heavily subsidized coverage in the ObamaCare marketplaces for residents.

  1. Which taxes would increase, and by how much?

Democrats want to pay for much of their package through tax increases on corporations and high-income households and have said they won’t raise taxes on families making under $400,000 annually. Exactly how they raise taxes on their target groups has yet to be determined.

Biden offered his ideas on how to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations earlier this year, but some of those proposals have met resistance from some Democratic lawmakers.

For example, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a key moderate, has said he would prefer to increase the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 25 percent, rather than to Biden’s proposed rate of 28 percent.

Additionally, Democratic lawmakers who focus on agriculture issues have raised concerns about Biden’s proposal to tax capital gains at death. The budget deal seeks to acknowledge those concerns by calling for a budget resolution to bar tax increases on small businesses and family farms.

The less Democrats are able to raise revenue through tax increases, the more they will have to rely on other ways to offset the cost of their spending proposals if they want to pay for them.

  1. What would be the length of extensions of expanded tax credits?

One of Democrats’ top priorities for their spending bill is to extend expansions of tax credits benefiting low- and middle-income households.

The $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law that Biden signed in March included one-year expansions of the earned income tax credit, the child tax credit and the child and dependent care tax credit. Democrats have in particular been highlighting the child tax credit expansion, under which monthly payments started on Thursday.

Democrats ideally would like to make the expansions of all three credits permanent, but doing so would be expensive. A senior Democratic aide said that the duration of extensions of the expanded credits will depend on the cost and input from relevant congressional committees.

The extensions of tax-credit expansions may not be the only aspect of a Democratic spending package that ends up being temporary in legislation. The aide said that the duration of the social spending and health provisions will also depend on their cost and feedback from committees.

  1. Does the Senate parliamentarian strip out any of Democrats’ priorities?

Legislation considered under the budget-reconciliation process is subject to special rules. One of those rules is that each provision in a reconciliation bill has to have an impact on the federal budget, and those impacts can’t be “merely incidental” to the non-budgetary aspects of the provisions.

The Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, will be tasked with determining whether provisions in any future Democratic reconciliation bill meet the rules. Provisions that don’t follow the rules would likely be removed from legislation.

Some items that Democrats want to include in their spending package could end up being ruled as in violation of the reconciliation rules, depending on their structure. These include immigration-related provisions, a clean energy standard and pro-worker incentives and penalties.

Earlier this year, MacDounough determined that a minimum-wage increase did not comply with the budget rules, resulting in the wage hike being left out of the final version of Biden’s coronavirus relief law.

  1. Do Democrats get full consensus on $3.5 trillion in new spending?

The budget resolution agreement announced Tuesday was between Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee. Every Senate Democrat and nearly every House Democrat will need to vote for a budget resolution and a subsequent spending bill for them to pass.

Key centrist Democrats, including Manchin and Sen. John Tester (D-Mont.), have indicated that they’re not planning to prevent a budget resolution from moving forward. But centrists could still try to shape the contents of a spending bill. Some moderate Democrats may be wary of large additional amounts of federal spending amid concerns about inflation.

Democratic leaders will have to balance any spending concerns by moderates with the robust spending priorities of progressives, since support from Democratic lawmakers across the ideological spectrum will be needed.

Global Tax Deal Heads Down Perilous Path in Congress
A complex international corporate tax deal that took years to hammer out soon faces one of its toughest tests: the U.S. Congress. The Group of 20 major economies backed the plan this weekend in Venice, Italy, following the earlier endorsement from a broader 130-country group. The plan, aimed at limiting corporate tax avoidance, would revamp longstanding international rules and is crucial to President Biden’s plans to raise corporate taxes.

“The world is ready to end the global race to the bottom on corporate taxation, and there’s broad consensus about how to do it,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said. As detailed negotiations continue, other countries will look to see if U.S. lawmakers implement a minimum corporate tax of at least 15% and embrace new rules for dividing the power to tax the largest companies. Congress will stare back, monitoring how quickly other countries create minimum taxes and remove unilateral taxes on digital companies that have drawn bipartisan U.S. opposition.

“The rest of the world is very aware that the administration cannot bind Congress,” said Chip Harter, the Trump administration’s lead international tax negotiator, who is now at PwC LLP. “They are watching very closely.”

International negotiators split their work into two separate ideas, known as pillars. Pillar One, pushed by European countries including the U.K., would assign more taxing power to countries with large consumer markets and pull power away from low-tax jurisdictions such as Ireland.

Pillar Two, driven by the U.S., would impose at least a 15% tax on companies’ world-wide earnings. Setting that floor makes it easier for the Biden administration to try raising taxes on U.S. companies by up to $2 trillion over a decade, because U.S. rates could rise higher without creating significant opportunities for companies to dodge taxes by shifting profits and addresses.

Both pillars present tricky legislative challenges. They likely will move separately through Congress, but the international consensus rests on pairing them and completing both tasks. Mr. Biden and Ms. Yellen emphasize the minimum tax, but other countries care more about getting the power to expand their corporate taxes. They have imposed digital services taxes on technology companies such as Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc. —which they say aren’t paying enough corporate taxes—and will only give those up if they can tax those firms another way.

“The role of Congress will be very important, because if the rest of the world doesn’t think it’s going to get what it bargained for on [profit-allocation rules], then it will lose its appetite” for the rest of the deal, said Deloitte LLP’s Robert Stack, the Obama administration’s international tax negotiator.

The Biden administration will try to turn its drive for a tougher minimum tax into legislation this fall without Republican votes by using the budget reconciliation process that requires a simple Senate majority instead of the 60 votes needed for most bills. The White House would then attempt to change the international rules, perhaps through a treaty requiring Republican support.

The administration’s international tax changes alone would raise about $1 trillion over a decade to help pay for policies such as an expanded child tax credit and renewable-energy tax breaks. That may be enough motivation for many Democrats. “It’s easier to sell the notion of raising taxes on offshore earnings than it is to raise rates domestically,” said Manal Corwin of KPMG LLP, a former Obama administration Treasury official.

Business groups are urging the U.S. to wait. Their point: The U.S. imposed minimum taxes on U.S. companies in 2017, and other countries didn’t follow. The 130-country agreement includes an important shift in how the world sees the existing U.S. minimum tax. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. pressed other countries to accept that 2017 tax as complying with any agreement. The Biden administration’s focus on tougher minimum taxes changed the U.S. negotiating position.

The existing U.S. tax is calculated globally, not for a company’s profits in each country, a feature that Treasury officials say lets companies benefit from profits in low-tax countries. However, the new U.S.-backed deal says minimum taxes would be calculated on a country-by-country basis, making it harder for companies to reduce taxes by blending profits in high- and low-tax jurisdictions. Businesses oppose the country-by-country calculation as costly to comply with.

The agreement says “consideration will be given” to how the U.S. tax coexists with international rules instead of automatically making the U.S. minimum tax compliant. The agreement sets a minimum 15% tax rate and includes a mechanism to punish companies from countries without minimum taxes.

Those features are absent in current U.S. law, but they are in the Biden plan. That shift in U.S. posture—from seeking international acceptance of U.S. law to seeking changes in U.S. law—pressures Congress. If U.S. law isn’t deemed compliant, American companies could face higher taxes abroad. But the agreement gives the U.S. some flexibility as the legislative process unfolds.

Most members of Congress have paid little attention to details of international talks, and Democrats may raise taxes without going as far as Treasury officials want. At some point, Congress will turn to Pillar One, to give countries more power to tax companies that sell to their residents but don’t have much taxable presence there. That has been driven by European frustration at U.S.-based technology giants, which dominate their markets but funnel tax payments elsewhere.

Observers and congressional aides say Pillar One will require a treaty and thus a two-thirds vote in the evenly divided Senate, requiring Republican support. Crucial details remain unresolved internationally as further talks continue through October. Ms. Yellen said Sunday that it could be ready for congressional consideration by spring 2022 and that officials would determine then what would be needed to implement it.

Senate GOP aides say they are waiting for information from the administration about how the deal affects U.S. companies and revenue. A senior Treasury official said the administration negotiated the deal with bipartisan support in mind, noting Republican backing for removing foreign countries’ digital taxes. The administration says Pillar One will have little impact on revenue, because the U.S. would cede some taxing authority but gain power over companies selling to Americans.

If Pillar One raises too much money, it looks like a tax increase Republicans would oppose. If it loses too much revenue, it looks like a giveaway of the U.S. tax base. If much of the burden falls on U.S. companies, as early estimates suggest, that also may spur opposition from lawmakers.

Ultimately, a Pillar One agreement might require a nudge from U.S. multinational companies. Corporations may oppose the administration on the minimum tax but back Mr. Biden later, said Ben Koltun, director of research at Beacon Policy Advisors. They could push Republicans to back the subsequent Pillar One deal, contending that it brings certainty and predictability to the international tax order, he said. “The bet by the administration is the temperature will cool” before treaty consideration, Mr. Koltun said. “There are still plenty of pro-business Republicans.”

Federal 3-judge Panel to Decide Whether State Redistricting Plan is Constitutional
Lawyers for plaintiffs and the state told a panel of federal judges last week the issues involved in two lawsuits challenging the state’s legislative redistricting plan are “straightforward” and ought to be resolved in short order. But the three-judge panel hearing the case appeared uncertain about how much time they actually have, given the deadlines that are spelled out in the Illinois Constitution and the fact that lawmakers this year pushed back the 2022 primary by three months, to June instead of March.

The two lawsuits – one by Republican legislative leaders and another by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, or MALDEF – both argue that the new state House and Senate district maps violate the U.S. Constitution because they were drawn using survey data rather than official U.S Census numbers, which have been delayed this year due to the pandemic and other factors. Both suits name the Illinois State Board of Elections and its individual members as well as Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Senate President Don Harmon as defendants.

Those two cases have since been consolidated and assigned to a three-judge panel, as is required under federal law whenever a suit challenges the constitutionality of a redistricting plan. Those include Judge Robert Dow Jr., of the Northern District of Illinois; Judge Jon E. DeGuilio, of the Northern District of Indiana, and Judge Michael B. Brennan of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

During a remote status conference Wednesday, Charles Harris, an attorney representing the Republican leaders, called it a “straightforward and simple case” that violates the “one person, one vote” principle under the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. He said courts have previously held that legislative districts must be “substantially equal” in population and that the data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which is what Democratic leaders used to draw the new maps, should not be used for redistricting.

If the case goes to trial, which is yet to be determined, Harris said his team plans to call expert witnesses, including a former Census Bureau official who would testify about why ACS data is inappropriate, as well as a data expert who would demonstrate how the use of ACS data results in maps that are far outside the margins of what courts consider allowable deviations in population.

MALDEF attorney Francisco Fernandez-del Castillo said his team plans to present substantially similar arguments. But he said they will also argue that the standard for determining whether the maps meet constitutional requirements is to analyze them using data that the Census Bureau provides states for redistricting purposes.

That data from the 2020 census will not be available until mid-August. The only data currently available, he said, is from the 2010 census, and if that were used to analyze the new maps, they would not meet constitutional muster. But attorney Michael Kasper, who represents Welch and Harmon, said he doesn’t believe the case should go to trial because the plaintiffs lack standing to sue and because the case is not yet “ripe” for consideration.

He said that under previous U.S. Supreme Court decisions, plaintiffs can sue only if they can demonstrate that they live in a district where their vote has been diluted. He also argued that the question of whether district populations vary too widely can be answered only after the official census numbers are released in August.

Under the Illinois Constitution, lawmakers are given until June 30 in the year after a decennial census to approve new legislative maps. After that, the job is handed to an eight-member legislative commission, evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.

If that panel cannot produce maps by Aug. 10, a ninth member, who could come from either party, is randomly drawn and added to the commission to give one party a single-vote advantage. That commission then has until Oct. 5 to approve new maps.

The suit by Republican leaders asks the court to invoke that section of the constitution by ordering Welch and Harmon to appoint a bipartisan commission. In the alternative, they ask the court to appoint a special master to draft valid maps. Kasper, however, argued that such an order would be an extreme remedy and that the question of whether to appoint a bipartisan commission is a matter of state law and the state constitution. After the hearing, the panel issued an order directing all parties to begin lining up their expert witnesses and setting a schedule of deadlines for filing briefs. The case is tentatively set for trial Sept. 27-29.

Program Notices & Reminders – Expanded Information

Special Presentation: Small Business Compliance with Department of Labor
Did you know that most employees in the U.S. are covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)? As an employer, are you aware of and meeting your obligations?

The chamber recently joined with Andres Mendez, a Benefits Advisor with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division and the Employee Benefits Security Administration for an overview of the COBRA premium assistance under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, federal wage and hour laws, and how they are enforced.

Click here to view the special presentation:

Connect with the Workforce Center
The Workforce Center hosts various workshops, hiring events, and activities throughout the month. Be sure to connect with the Workforce Center and share their flyers and event announcements through your social media platforms.

Visit the Workforce Center of Will County’s web page for more information about the programs, services, and activities available for Will County businesses and residents.

Small Business Tax Credit Programs
Did you know that the American Rescue Plan extends a number of critical tax benefits, particularly the Employee Retention Credit and Paid Leave Credit, to small businesses?
Learn more

Small Disadvantaged Business Contracting Goal News
On June 1, 2021, the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the Biden-Harris Administration announced new steps to help narrow the racial wealth gap and reinvest in communities that have been left behind by failed policies. Specifically, the Administration is expanding access to two key wealth-creators – small business ownership and homeownership – in communities of color and disadvantaged communities.

  • Use the federal government’s purchasing power to grow federal contracting with small disadvantaged businesses by 50 percent, translating to an additional $100 billion over five years, and helping more Americans realize their entrepreneurial dreams.
  • Take action to address racial discrimination in the housing market, including by launching a first-of-its-kind interagency effort to address inequity in home appraisals, and conducting rulemaking to aggressively combat housing discrimination.

Learn more

Stay well,

Mike Paone
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry
815.727.5371 main
815.727.5373 direct