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

Chamber members:

Below is a special roundup edition with veto session news. Additionally, Congressman Foster’s office is hosting a discussion this Saturday about the expansion of broadband in Illinois. Here is a link to the Facebook Event:

They have Matt Schmit from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Laura Spining from the US Department of Commerce who will share what is happening now and would be possible if the current budget proposals pass, as expected. State Senators Ellman and Connor will also be sharing their perspectives.

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

Congressional Maps, the Fourth (and final) Try

It was a wobbly ride, but Illinois legislators landed a congressional map that adds a new Latino district while giving Democrats a 14 to three advantage over Republicans. The new lines also push freshman Rep. Marie Newman to the same district as fellow Democratic Rep. Chuy Garcia.

The fourth draft of the congressional map for the 17 districts was approved at 12:20 a.m. this morning after a full day of backroom deals, hallway whispering and stairwell phone calls as Democratic leaders struggled to win the 71 votes needed to pass the new boundaries. The House voted 71 to 43 on the map. It earlier passed the Senate 41 to 18.

It was a dramatic end to the General Assembly’s 2021 veto session, that also included both legislative chambers passing the Health Care Right of Conscience Act (which will make it harder for people to avoid Covid mandates), the governor-backed incentives for electric vehicle companies, and gambling legislation. More on all that below.

An earlier draft of the map had Newman facing off against Rep. Sean Casten, a move that angered both the suburban lawmakers. Casten’s team went so far as to mobilize supporters to contact legislators in his district and urge them to vote against pairing him with Newman. The pushy email gave pause to a few women Democratic legislators who threatened not to vote for the map at all.

Garcia, meanwhile, had mobilized Latino Caucus members to push for stronger Latino representation in the newly created 2nd District, so they, too, pushed back against voting yes on the map. At one point late in the afternoon, half a dozen lawmakers saw no resolution in sight and expected to return in January to vote on the map instead — when only 60 yes votes would be needed for passage.

Then there was a breakthrough. A map emerged, and the Senate passed it. Newman, who isn’t likely to run against Garcia, issued a stinging rebuke in a statement, saying, “Illinois residents deserve fair representation and a fair map that includes public input — not one that turns a blind eye to it.” Casten, sounding more humble than his email to supporters, issued a statement: “I remain focused on fighting for my constituents as we work to make historic investments in climate action, families, and workers for the sixth district of Illinois.” All that backroom intrigue aside, Newman is the representative with the least seniority, which generally means the position most likely to lose out in redistricting.

It’s an ugly process, as Republicans will be first to say. The new map also pits Reps. Darin LaHood and Adam Kinzinger against each other in a deep-red seat in the north, and GOP Reps. Mike Bost and Mary Miller are lobbed into a similarly packed Republican seat in the south. Republican Rep. Rodney Davis has a central district to himself — unless any of his colleagues decide to run there instead.

“I’ve been through this every 10 years. It’s Civil War-ish. It gets ugly,” Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley told POLITICO. “Traditionally, longtime friends have been forced to turn against each other for survival. So it’s ugly political cannibalism.”

Congressman Kinzinger won’t seek re-election
Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger is not running for re-election to the U.S. House, he announced today in a video. He cited tribal politics as one reason he won’t be running again, but added: “I want to make it clear, this isn’t the end of my political future, but the beginning.”

The latest version of the state’s congressional map pits Kinzinger against fellow Republican Darin LaHood. “I’ve witnessed how division is so heavily rooted in this country. There’s little to no desire to bridge our differences, and unity is no longer a word we use. It has also become increasingly obvious that in order to break the narrative, I cannot focus on both a re-election to Congress and a broader fight nationwide,” he said.

Earlier this month Kinzinger, one of former President Donald Trump’s chief GOP antagonists, said he wasn’t ruling out a bid for a Senate seat or a campaign for governor.

Illinois legislators send Gov. J.B. Pritzker measure to eliminate potential loophole on COVID-19 vaccination mandates
The Illinois Senate voted in the waning hours of the fall legislative session Thursday to send Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker a polarizing proposal aimed at preventing people from using a decades-old state law to skirt coronavirus vaccination mandates by citing moral or religious objections.

The change to the state’s Health Care Right of Conscience Act was passed on a 31-24 vote in the Senate a day after the House approved it on a 64-52 vote. With the signature of Pritzker, who has expressed his support, the measure would take effect June 1.

The proposal comes as numerous lawsuits across Illinois challenge government and employer vaccination and testing requirements by citing a law originally intended to shield doctors and other health care workers from having to provide abortions or other reproductive services that conflict with their beliefs.

Pritzker issued a statement late Thursday thanking Democrats in the legislature “who joined together to affirm that the Health Care Right of Conscience Act was never meant to put vulnerable people in harm’s way.”

“This legislation clarifies existing law’s intent without infringing on federal protections,” Pritzker said. “Ultimately, this means we can keep kids in school, businesses open, neighbors safe, and continue on the path to bring this pandemic to an end.”

The issue has become a lightning rod amid battles over the government’s role in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, though it hasn’t broken cleanly along partisan lines. Seven of the 73 Democrats in the House joined the Republican minority in opposing the measure, and two other members of the majority party voted “present.” In the Senate, six Democrats sided with the GOP against the proposal, and four others didn’t cast a vote.

During the Senate debate, Republicans argued a vote against the proposal was a vote to protect religious liberties enshrined in the First Amendment. “The government does not get to decide what somebody’s sincerely held religious beliefs are,” said Republican Sen. Terri Bryant of Murphysboro. But Senate President Don Harmon said there are legitimate limits to personal freedoms.

Illinois targets EV industry with tax credits, incentives
Lawmakers were closing in on approving a package of tax credits and incentives meant to encourage the development of the electric vehicle industry in Illinois Thursday evening.

The legislation, dubbed the “Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois (REV) Act,” passed the Senate 55-0 and later passed the House 110-2-1. It heads to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk.

If signed, the package would offer “enhanced” tax credits modeled after the state’s Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) program.

Essentially, businesses involved in the electric vehicle industry, from automakers to parts and battery manufacturers, would be eligible for income tax credits based on the amount of new jobs they create and construction credits for building facilities.

Pritzker, whose office is pushing the initiative, said Wednesday that it was “important for us to be competitive” in the EV realm as other states put together similar incentive packages.

The governor said the state would not aim to offer the most incentives, but enough to leverage the state’s strategic advantages in workforce development and location.

“We try to bring all those things together with some EDGE credits in order to put a package forward that’s attractive,” Pritzker said. “Let me tell you, we are getting incoming calls because people have heard that not only did we pass a great climate package, but also that we’re looking at passing an electric vehicle stimulus package that will bring literally tens of billions of dollars to the state of Illinois and thousands and thousands of new jobs in a new industry we want to be a leader in.”

Deputy Gov. Andy Manar, testifying before the Senate Executive Committee Thursday, said the EV package would yield “future-proof jobs for Illinois” that the state’s strategic advantages alone could not.  “That is a good recipe for success as the automotive industry transitions, but we have learned in recent months, that is not enough,” Manar said. “We need more.”

Illinois has already become a center for EV production in the United States with automaker Rivian making Normal the site of its North American manufacturing.

State lawmakers put together new sports betting bill
The bill heading to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk would eliminate a ban on wagers on in-state college teams, a prohibition that has irked scores of fans since Illinois’ nascent legal sports betting industry launched a year and a half ago — and that has left millions in potential revenue off the table, sponsoring legislators say.

Under the bill, which passed the state Senate 44-12 and the House 100-11, wagers on local college teams would have to be placed in person at a casino, limited to bets on the outcomes of games, not individual performances. The in-state ban would be reinstated in two years unless lawmakers pass another bill allowing it.

The ban was a key concession in negotiations for the 2019 gambling expansion that introduced legal sports betting to the state, as a means of appeasing officials at some universities who have vehemently opposed college wagering of any sort.

Those detractors have been led by University of Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman, who told lawmakers before they advanced an earlier version of the bill during the spring legislative session that it would put athletes under intense pressure — potentially from their own classmates in the same dorm.

“By allowing people in our state to bet on our own student-athletes, we’re only opening the door and inviting people to have those intense, threatening, abusive interactions” that already take place on social media, Whitman said.

Sponsoring state Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, has said the new provisions meet some of Whitman’s concerns halfway, while allowing the state to capitalize on betting dollars that are crossing the borders to Indiana and Iowa — or worse, to the black market. Illinois bettors have already wagered more than $947 million on non-Illinois college contests since the legitimate industry launched in March 2020.

The bill heading to Pritzker’s desk includes several other key gaming provisions:

  • Wintrust Arena would be allowed to open a sportsbook. While the 2019 gambling expansion allowed sports venues with capacities of 17,000 or more to open books, the South Loop home of the WNBA champion Chicago Sky only holds about 10,000.
  • Illinois residents would be able to sign up for sports betting accounts from their phones or computers beginning March 5, instead of doing so in person at a casino as required under the 2019 law. That so-called “penalty box” requirement, which was created to give casinos a head start on the industry over large online sports betting companies, originally had not been scheduled to expire until late 2022.
  • Local governments would not be able to impose additional taxes on video gaming terminals. A dozen or so towns already have passed such “push taxes,” typically levying one cent for every play on a slot machine on top of their 5% take on revenue. Those municipalities would be allowed to keep collecting, but other towns wouldn’t be able to create such taxes after Nov 1. Some local leaders have called the push tax ban a favor to the slot machine industry, but sponsors say it prevents a patchwork of local ordinances that would drive down business.

Additional Veto Session Action

HB 594 Utility Sunset Extension of prohibition on taxing electric generating facilities by home rule communities passed the Senate by a vote of 58-0-0 and passed the House by a vote of 112-2-0. This bill provides that a home rule preemption concerning taxes or fees related to electricity is repealed on January 1, 2023 (currently, January 1, 2022). Unfortunately, this bill also expands the membership of the Future of Work Taskforce and pushes back the reporting date from April to December of 2022.

HB 3293 Contractors Wage Payment Liability passed the House Executive Committee by a vote of 9-6-0. This bill passed the Senate by a vote of 40-17-0 last night. For all contracts entered into on or after July 1, 2022, a primary contractor making or taking a contract in the State for the erection, construction, alteration, or repair of a building, structure, or other private work in the State, shall assume, and is liable for, any debt owed to a wage claimant incurred pursuant to the Act by a subcontractor at any tier acting under, by, or for the primary contractor for the wage claimant’s performance of labor included in the subject of the contract between the primary contractor and the owner. Provides exemption from liability for a property owner who acts as a primary contractor related to the erection, construction, alteration, or repair of his or her primary residence where the aggregate costs of the project amounts to less than $100,000 (Democrats resisted Republican calls to increase this threshold). The primary contractor’s liability under the new provisions shall extend only to any unpaid wages, including interest owed and reasonable attorney’s fees, but shall not extend to wage supplements, penalties, or liquidated damages. The obligations and remedies provided in the new provisions shall be in addition to any obligations and remedies otherwise provided by law, except that nothing in the new provisions shall be construed to impose liability on a primary contractor for anything other than unpaid wages, interest owed and reasonable attorney’s fees.

HB 3666 Energy Package Trailer Bill passed the House on concurrence by a vote of 83-33-0. This bill provides that the Illinois Power Agency must require that any grant or rebate applicant comply with the requirements of the Prevailing Wage Act (rather than may not award rebates or grants to an organization or company that does not pay the prevailing wage) for any installation of a charging station for which it seeks a rebate or grant. Amends the Illinois Enterprise Zone Act. Provides that records made by each contractor and subcontractor who is engaged in and executing a High Impact Business Construction jobs project must include information concerning worker’s race and ethnicity and gender. Amends the Public Utilities Act. Removes a provision that exempts specified wind energy and solar energy suppliers from submitting an annual report on all procurement goals and actual spending for female-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned, and small business enterprises in the previous calendar year. Amends the Energy Assistance Act. Resolves a conflict in Public Acts 102-16 and 102-176 regarding the starting date for the assessment of a monthly Energy Assistance Charge.

SB 217 Utility Sunset Extension of prohibition on taxing electric generating facilities by home rule communities passed the House by a vote of 109-2-1. This bill provides that a home rule preemption concerning taxes or fees related to electricity is repealed on January 1, 2023 (currently, January 1, 2022). Amends the Property Tax Code. Provides that property that is owned or leased (currently, owned) by a non-profit trust fund and used exclusively for the purposes of educating and training individuals for occupational, trade, and technical careers and is certified by the United States Department of Labor as registered with the Office of Apprenticeship is exempt from taxation under the Code. Provides that, after filing a petition to obtain a tax deed, the owner of a certificate of purchase must file with the clerk of the circuit court (currently, the county clerk) the names and addresses of persons who are entitled to service of notice. Amends the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act of the Illinois Municipal Code. Provides that “redevelopment project costs” include costs payable to businesses located within the redevelopment area that have experienced business interruption or other adverse conditions directly or indirectly attributable to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Amends the Corporate Fiduciary Act to create the Special Purpose Trust Company Authority and Organization Article. Provides that a corporation that has been or shall be incorporated under the general corporation laws of the State for the special purpose of providing fiduciary custodial services or providing other like or related services as specified by rule may be appointed to act as a fiduciary with respect to such services and shall be designated a special purpose trust company. Provides that the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation shall adopt rules for the administration of the Article, and that specified Articles of the Corporate Fiduciary Act shall apply to a special purpose trust company as if the special purpose trust company were a trust company. Amends the Illinois Banking Act. In provisions concerning conversion and merger with trust companies, provides that a special purpose trust company may merge with a State bank or convert to a State bank as if the special purpose trust company were a trust company. Provides that the Department shall have the authority to adopt rules, opinions, or interpretive letters regarding the provision of custodial services for digital assets by banks, savings banks, credit unions, and corporate fiduciaries authorized under the Certificate of Authority and Organization Article or Special Purpose Trust Company Authority and Organization Article of the Corporate Fiduciary Act.

Learn more about the future of high-speed rail
CMAP Executive Director Erin Aleman will moderate a panel discussion Thursday, November 4, about high-speed rail and why the business community should care about investments in sustainable rail technologies.

Rita Ali, mayor of Peoria; John Buck, chairman and CEO of the John Buck Company; and Rick Harnish, executive director of the High-Speed Rail Alliance, will join Aleman for the discussion. The Executives’ Club of Chicago is hosting the event.

To enjoy complimentary access to the event, register now and enter the code, HIGHSPEEDCOMP.

Stay well,

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