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

Chamber members:

Please read below for more information and a recap of what occurred at the end of last week as session down in Springfield came to a close. Biggest take away is that although the Unemployment Trust Fund deficit was paid down, there still remains a very large sum unpaid. That will be negotiated between now and the end of the year as the deadline was extended for six months to take care of before higher tax rates and reduced individual benefits kick in.

I hope that you saw our survey email last Thursday afternoon. Thank you to those who participate as this is for one of our groups in the Community Leadership School. If you missed the survey, here is the link. It will remain open until tomorrow evening.

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

Chambers All In for Economic Recovery Report
As you all know by now, the Illinois General Assembly concluded its spring session in the early morning hours of Saturday. The Joliet Chamber is part of the “Chambers All In for Economic Recovery” and was keyed into our platform throughout the entirety of session. Upon session completion, we now offer this recap of our successes on each platform item below. For additional information on the action, we encourage you to click on the links provided.

  • Utilize American Rescue Plan Act funding to help replenish the unemployment trust fund and alleviate the impending financial drain from the state’s businesses.
    • A new law passed put $2.7 billion dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund deficit. Our conversations with legislators centered on this being the most important action needed for the business community this session. While we advocated for the entirety of remaining ARPA funds to be used for this purpose, we recognize that this $2.7 billion infusion is a critical step to reducing the burden on the business community.
    • This action is now coupled with legislation passed to extend the deadline that would trigger higher taxes and reduced benefits for the unemployed. Should the amendment be signed into law by Governor Pritzker, the deadline would be moved from July 3, 2022, to January 1, 2023, allowing additional time for negotiation and advocacy work on behalf of the business community.


  • Extend the EDGE credit sunset clause out for another ten years and utilize the tax credit as an incentive to attract new businesses to the state and allow for the growth and development of existing companies.
    • Illinois’ economic development tool is the EDGE credit. This call was a part of the Chambers All In platform as retaining the program allows Illinois to remain competitive against other states. We are grateful that Gov. Pritzker acknowledged the need for the renewal of this credit in his budget address in February, and we are pleased the General Assembly agreed and extended the program for another five years.


  • Restructure the Minimum Wage Credit’s incremental phase-out to allow small businesses to capture the original intent of the credit.
    • The coalition is proud that HB 5320 was introduced this session. The legislation would have allowed our state’s small businesses to take advantage of larger credit amounts through the credit’s phase out in 2025. Through our advocacy work, we were able to secure 16 sponsors on the legislation and bring it to a subject matter hearing in committee. While we remained optimistic that the legislation would be incorporated into a larger package, it unfortunately did not materialize. This past session has set us up with a foundation to continue work on this issue.


  • Provide legal protections to employers who follow the CDC established safety guidelines from claims that COVID-19 was contracted at the place of business.
    • While this item failed to gain traction, we remain steadfast in our call to ensure businesses are protected.

Chambers All In for Economic Recovery is proud to advocate on behalf of you, our members from our chamber as well as those across the state. We recognize that advocacy is a process, and we look forward to continued work for the betterment of the state’s business community in weeks to come.

Recap of Additional Items from the Illinois General Assembly Session
HB 900, Budget passed out of both chambers. This bill amends Public Act 102-17 by changing, adding, and repealing various FY2022 appropriations. Makes FY2023 appropriations and reappropriations for specified purposes. Some provisions are effective immediately; some provisions are effective July 1, 2022.

HB 4700BIMP passed out of both chambers. This bill creates the FY2023 Budget Implementation Act. Makes the changes necessary to implement the State budget for fiscal year 2023. Effective immediately, except that (i) some specified provisions take effect on July 1, 2022, and (ii) other specified provisions take effect upon becoming law or on the date Senate Bill 3023 of the 102nd General Assembly takes effect, whichever is later.

SB 157Revenue Package passed out of the House by a vote of 110-0-4 and out of the Senate 55-1-0. This contains that various tax measures mentioned before.

HB 716Judicial Elections passed out of the Senate by a vote of 40-18-0 and the House on concurrence by a vote of 71-43-0. This bill amends the Election Code. Creates the Public Financing of Judicial Elections Task Force. Sets forth the membership of the Task Force. Provides that the Task Force shall study the feasibility of implementing a system of campaign finance that would allow public funds to be used to subsidize campaigns for candidates for judicial office in exchange for voluntary adherence by those campaigns to specified expenditure limitations. Provides that a political committee that is self-funding and is established to support or oppose a candidate for the Supreme Court, the Appellate Court, or the Circuit Court may not accept contributions from any single person, other than the judicial candidate or the candidate’s immediate family, in a cumulative amount that exceeds $500,000 in any election cycle. Provides that an independent expenditure committee established to support or oppose a candidate for the Supreme Court, the Appellate Court, or the Circuit Court may not accept contributions from any single source that exceed $500,000 in any election cycle. Provides that certain contributions to political committees from committees, associations, or other entities that are not required to disclose their contributors are considered anonymous donations, unless the political committee reports to the State Board of Elections all persons who have contributed in excess of $500 during the same election cycle to the committee, association, or other organization or group making the contribution.

HB 1091, INFORM Act passed out of the Senate by a vote of 42-10-0 and out of the House on concurrence by a vote of 96-5-2.. This bill Creates the Illinois Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers (INFORM Consumers) Act. Requires online marketplaces to collect and disclose to consumers contact and other information about high-volume third-party sellers. Provides exceptions. Provides that if the Attorney General has reason to believe that any person has violated the Act, the Attorney General may bring an action to restrain by preliminary or permanent injunction the use of such a method, act, or practice. Creates the Organized Retail Crime Enforcement Fund in the State treasury. Provides that subject to appropriation, moneys in the Organized Retail Crime Enforcement Fund shall be used by the Office of the Attorney General to award grants to State’s Attorneys’ offices and law enforcement agencies to investigate, indict, and prosecute violations of organized retail crime. Amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Creates the offense of organized retail crime. Defines the offense and establishes penalties. Provides that a retail mercantile establishment that is a victim of a violation of retail theft, organized retail crime, financial institution fraud or related offenses, or looting shall have certain rights. Provides that an issuer shall not provide a debit or credit cardholder or a person who utilizes an account number or code the value in any manner of any item purchased with intent to defraud the issuer or a person providing an item of value. Amends the Statewide Grand Jury Act. Provides that a Statewide Grand Jury may investigate, indict, and prosecute violations of organized retail crime. Amends the State Finance Act to make conforming changes. Effective immediately, except that the Illinois Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers (INFORM Consumers) Act takes effect January 1, 2023.

HB 5412Contractors passed out of the Senate by a vote of 38-18-0. This bill as amended, provides that, 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 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.

SB 645Sick Leave passed out of the Senate on concurrence by a vote of 40-15-0. This bill amends the Employee Sick Leave Act. Provides that the rights afforded under the Act serve as the minimum standard in a negotiated collective bargaining agreement.

SB 3416One Day Rest passed out of the House by a vote of 108-0-1 and the Senate on concurrence by a vote of 54-0-0. This bill amends the One Day Rest In Seven Act. Provides that specified provisions of the Act do not apply to employees for whom work hours, days of work, and rest periods are established through the collective bargaining process.

General Assembly Passes Occupational Licensing Reform
Occupational licenses can create unnecessary barriers for Illinois residents looking to start new jobs. Occupational licenses can also create roadblocks for entrepreneurs that would like to start new businesses. House Bill 5576 unanimously passed the Senate and will go to the Governor.

This legislation builds on the current licensing review process by collecting important information about the requirements associated with obtaining a license, so they can be more comprehensively reviewed by the General Assembly. This legislation will provide crucial information which can help legislators evaluate occupational licenses and eliminate or modify them when appropriate.

Modifying or eliminating overly burdensome or restrictive occupational licenses can support small businesses struggling to hire employees, remove unnecessary or outdated barriers for entrepreneurs, and foster the growth of our economy.

Illinois General Assembly Dedicates $50M for Restaurant Grants, Waives Retailer Liquor License Fees in Budget
We are pleased to report that the Illinois General Assembly has approved $50 million in dedicated grants for restaurants and taverns and a waiver of state retailer liquor licenses fees for one year. Fee waivers are for retailer liquor licenses that expire on or after July 1, 2022, and on or before June 30, 2023.

Provisions of the grant program include:

  • Eligible entities must be a restaurant or tavern in the state of Illinois.
  • House Majority Leader Greg Harris (13th) noted on the House floor that the legislative intent is to also include entities eligible under the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) program, including: caterers, food trucks, brewpubs, and more.
  • The restaurant or tavern must have 50 or fewer employees.
  • The applicant must have not received financial assistance pursuant to the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund Program; the state Back to Business Grant Program or the Business Interruption Grant program; or any other local or state program providing more than $10,000 in grants or forgiven loans since April 1, 2020.
  • Applicants may have received federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding
  • The state will award a one-time grant in an amount of up to $50,000 to each eligible entity.
  • Grant award amounts will be determined based on the eligible entity’s reported losses during a timeframe determined by the state.
  • Grant funds can only be used for the following purposes:
    • Payroll costs, paid sick leave, employer contributions to employee health care costs, payments of principal or interest on any mortgage obligation, rent payments, including rent under a lease agreement, utilities, maintenance, and operational expenses.

Click here to read the legislation. The framework of the Restaurant Employment and Stabilization Grant Program can be found on pages 42-45.

Hotel Industry Relief
The Illinois legislature passed their FY23 budget which included $75 million for the Hotel Jobs Recovery Plan. Much needed relief is on the way to hotels across the state and their employees.

Crime was a big topic for lawmakers this spring. What did they accomplish in their last week?
Democrats at the Illinois Capitol have spent the past several weeks trying to put together a package of bills relating to policing and crime in the state. The set of bills includes a variety of measures which direct more funds to police departments, adjusts the criminal code and tweaks existing law around public safety.

The bills, all of which were formally introduced by Democrats, had near-unanimous support from the state’s majority party and had varying degrees of buy-in from Republicans.

State spending $5 million to prosecute ‘organized retail crime’ 
One of the final bills approved by the legislature in its last week of session directed millions of dollars into prosecuting a new type of criminal violation: organized retail crime. Sometimes conflated with “smash and grab” theft, a bill approved by the legislature early Saturday morning defines organized retail crime as an either a group of individuals committing assault or battery while stealing from a store.

It also defines being a “manager of the organized retail crime” as someone directing another person to steal more than merchandise from a store with the intent to resell it, steal merchandise while it’s in transit, perform fraudulent returns or to “obtain control over” merchandise known to be stolen.

The bill, HB 1091, passed in the Senate with some bipartisan support on a 42-10 vote. The House approved the measure by a wide margin on a 96-5 vote, with two lawmakers voting “present.”

In addition to defining this crime, the bill also requires online retailers such as eBay or Amazon to collect and verify information about the identity of anyone who sells more than $5,000 worth of product on their platform or makes more than 200 sales in the span of one year.

The bill was controversial when going through the legislative process, with earlier drafts of the measure attracting opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Women’s Justice Institute, Illinois Alliance for Reentry and Justice, Illinois Prison Project and more.

The bill was championed by Attorney General Kwame Raoul as well as the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.  Officials from the attorney general’s office said they became interested in the crime, not for its direct impacts, but for its potential consequences.

Lawmakers approve 3rd follow-up to last year’s criminal justice reform bill
Early Saturday morning, lawmakers got into a shouting match on the House floor over a bill clarifying and tweaking some provisions from the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act, a sweeping criminal justice reform backed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus.

A follow-up bill to that, SB 2364, would change some provisions of the SAFE-T Act, most notably allowing law enforcement officers to arrest people for traffic offenses and certain other minor infractions if they pose a threat to the community or have a mental or medical health issue and pose a risk to themselves. It also changes the rules for electronic monitoring and home detention, shifting the law from allowing two days of free movement per week to “two periods of time,” as determined by the detainee’s supervising authority.

Illinois becomes 12th state to pass ban on unserialized guns
Guns without serial numbers, which some have called “ghost guns,” were a controversial issue at the Capitol at the end of the session, as lawmakers voted to ban the sale and possession of these guns. These guns can be made using traditional gunsmithing equipment, by removing the serial number from a gun or be assembled using a kit and a 3D printer.

Ten states had laws on the books banning these types of guns before this week, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. In addition to Illinois’ potential new ban, Maryland also enacted its own ban of guns without serial numbers on Saturday.

The bill banning this type of gun, HB 4383, passed on a 31-19 vote in the Senate and a 66-36 vote in the House. “Ghost guns are untraceable guns due to their lack of serial numbers,” said Rep. Kam Buckner, the bill’s chief House sponsor.

In late March, Buckner and other lawmakers announced the initiative to ban guns without serial numbers with G-PAC, a political organization focused on gun violence prevention.

Tackling the Rise of Shoplifting on a National Level
Communities and businesses of all sizes face a significant increase in shoplifting and organized retail crime that requires policymakers’ swift response.

Why it matters: A recent survey of small business owners found that a majority (54%) experienced an increase in shoplifting in 2021.

According to a survey of larger retailers by the National Retail Federation, organized retail crime cost stores an average of over $700,000 per $1 billion in sales in 2020, up more than 50% in the last five years.
Our take: The retail industry – already struggling from the impacts of the pandemic, labor shortages and supply chain problems – is now faced with large-scale theft and looting, much of it stemming from organized crime.

It is becoming a national crisis, hurting businesses in every state and the communities they serve. We call on policymakers to tackle this problem head-on before it gets further out of control. No store should have to close because of theft.
What we’re doing: The Chamber urges government leaders at the state and federal level to address theft and organized retail crime:

  • Congress should pass legislation to stop the sale of stolen goods on online marketplaces.


  • States should update the definition of organized retail crime and increase criminal penalties.


  • The law and prosecutors must hold those who engage in organized and significant retail theft accountable.

Economy Update
It is increasingly likely that the U.S. economy will tumble into recession within the next two years, according to economists and analysts, a risk that raises big questions for U.S. and global politics as well as policy.

Rising inflation and low unemployment, the pandemic, supply chain problems, a war between Russia and Ukraine with energy implications, plus the churn of elections in the United States and elsewhere, such as France, cast a collective shadow over forecasts.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal this month on average put the probability of the economy being in recession sometime in the next 12 months at 28 percent, up from 18 percent in January and just 13 percent a year ago.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said last month that the central bank did not anticipate a recession this year, but since his last public comments on the subject, the Fed appears more aggressively poised to fight inflation with interest rate hikes and take a machete to its balance sheet. Analysts on Tuesday anticipate an annual 8.4 percent to 8.5 percent rise in the latest report of the consumer price index, yet another sign that costs for many Americans are not easing.

Inflation hits 40-year high of 8.5%
U.S. inflation data hit a multidecade high last month amid surging gas prices and skyrocketing rents, climbing to 8.5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.

A survey by the financial data group FactSet had predicted that the inflation reading for March would come in at 8.4 percent year-over-year — the highest rate since December 1981 and an increase from February’s 7.9 percent.

Although gas prices have begun to trend downward recently, the change was not reflected in the inflation reading for March — a month that saw record high prices at the pump. Gas prices jumped 48 percent year-over-year, the BLS said, and climbed 18.3 percent from February.

Meanwhile, rental rates have experienced eight-consecutive months of increases and sit above the pre-pandemic trend. Rents climbed 5.1 percent in March year-over-year, compared with 4.2 percent in February. The average rent for a two-bedroom home in the U.S. is now about $2,000, according to research from — up 22 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Other categories that hit at or near record highs in March included groceries, up 10 percent year-over-year; new cars, up 12.6 percent; and home furnishings, up 10.8 percent.

Fed expected to raise interest rates
All signs point to the Federal Reserve moving forward on its plans for a series of interest rate hikes to help slow the economy and fight inflation. Last month, it raised its key federal funds rate from near zero to a range of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent. It is currently projecting at least six more rate hikes this year.

The higher funds rates are already affecting mortgage lending volumes. Some large U.S. banks are tightening their credit requirements for consumers seeking home loans.

Yet some economists now say the Fed is facing inflation forces it cannot easily control. The shock to energy prices from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in addition to ongoing supply chain constraints from the pandemic, mean higher prices for goods could persist. That, in turn, is pushing consumers’ expectations of future inflation higher.

“The longer inflation remains high, the more it gets embedded into wages and other contractual arrangements,” Alan Blinder, a former Federal Reserve vice chairman and an economist at Princeton University, said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week. “When workers see inflation coming, they want to be compensated for it. And once higher inflationary expectations get entrenched, they affect price- and wage-setting throughout the economy, making a soft landing harder to achieve.”



  • USDA’S Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) – This grant assistance to create and augment high-wage jobs, accelerate the formation of new businesses, support industry clusters and maximize the use of local productive assets in eligible low-income rural areas. Deadline is April 19, 2022. Get more information

Building Blocks of Success: IDOT announces dates for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program workshops
The Illinois Department of Transportation is hosting free virtual workshops as part of its continuing Building Blocks of Success series for firms interested in participating in the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, strengthening their skills and bidding on state construction projects.

The workshop dates and topics are:

April 21, 10 a.m. to noon: Avoiding Pitfalls
May 4, 10 a.m. to noon: How to… IDOT Electrical Work

Workshop information is available through Eventbrite at Advance registration is required.

Questions can be directed to IDOT’s DBE Resource Center at (312) 939.1100.

As part of Gov. Pritzker’s historic and bipartisan Rebuild Illinois program, IDOT is helping to deliver the largest capital program in state history. IDOT strives to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the implementation of this program, including contracting and workforce participation.

Administered by IDOT, the DBE program provides minorities, women and other eligible small businesses opportunities to participate in highway, transit and airport contracts that are federally and state funded. For more information on becoming a certified DBE and learning more about IDOT resources that are available, visit

Stay well,

Mike Paone
Executive Vice President
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry
815.727.5371 main
815.727.5373 direct