Government Affairs Roundup

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

Chamber members:

Gas prices continue to be the topic of conversation as averages now hover at $5 a gallon. It is impacting just about everything imaginable. See below for more on the always important topic of jobs as another 4 million quit in April. I hope all are doing well and looking forward to the official start of summer!

If you haven’t already purchased your ticket(s) there is plenty of time to buy, but don’t delay. New Orleans North is just right around the corner on Friday, June 10th. Presale tickets are $10 and come with a chance to win a trip to Harrah’s in New Orleans. Cost jumps to $15 at the door and zero chance to win that trip. It’s a great time if you haven’t attended yet and for those that have, we look forward to seeing you again!!!

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

Gas prices hit new record high on Memorial Day

The cost of gasoline hit a new record high on Monday as many Americans kicked off the summer season traveling over Memorial Day weekend. The average price of a gallon of gasoline climbed to $4.62 a gallon Monday, up about a penny from Sunday and $1.58 higher than last Memorial Day, when the average cost was $3.04. Update: Average per gallon price has now hit $5.00

Many observers say the cost has yet to peak and expect only higher prices as summer wears on. “The summer driving season is here! With it, the most expensive #gasprices we’ve ever seen on a Memorial Day: $4.60/gal, and we’ll likely make a run to $4.75/gal in the next couple weeks barring any major change,” GasBuddy’s Patrick de Haan tweeted. “Est[imated] odds of reaching a national of $5/gal this summer: 65%.”

Earlier in May, the average cost of gas hit a new record high every day for two consecutive weeks. The average cost of a gallon of diesel fuel was $5.52 Monday. Diesel powers the semis that truckers drive to transport food and other consumer goods across the country, contributing to 40-year-high inflation.

In seven states, all but one out west, the average price of a gallon of gasoline is at least $5 a gallon. Illinois is the non-west outlier, with the average price on Monday at $5 a gallon (rounding up from $4.996). In California, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline reached $6.15, highest in the U.S.

Prejudgment Interest Law Ruled Unconstitutional

The Circuit Court of Cook County Judge Marcia Maras ruled the prejudgment interest law passed and signed into law last Spring is unconstitutional. The reason for this decision is that the law violates the defendant’s right to a jury trial in civil actions and the prohibition against special legislation.

The statute was passed as SB 72 and in part does the following:

  • Provides for pre-judgment interest in personal injury and wrongful death cases
  • Interest shall begin to accrue at 6% rate when the case is filed
  • Prejudgment interest capped at 5 years

Illinois Chamber Votes “No” on Future of Work Taskforce Report

The Future of Work Taskforce started out with much anticipation from lawmakers, business leaders and labor. The future of work, and the policy needed to guide and strengthen it, is central to both the Chamber’s mission and the success of the business community. Illinois policymakers have for decades been more reactive than proactive. Illinois Chamber Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Clark Kaericher had been appointed to the Task Force last fall. This seemed like an opportunity to move in the right direction.

The meetings themselves were engaging and productive. Unlike many other taskforces, attendance was almost universal, and legislators were engaged. Members had the opportunity to hear from speakers such as PayPal’s CEO and leaders from Deloitte, Google and United Airlines.

Nonetheless, the report broached topics that were barely touched upon or not mentioned at all during meetings. Further, the recommendations were strongly worded policy recommendations not voted on or discussed by task force members. For example, members had agreed upon a refusal to discuss the gig economy, but the report initially called for gutting Illinois’ independent worker model in favor of a Canadian “dependent worker” model. Recommendations were made for regulation in the trucking industry, unworkable “predictive scheduling” and other increased labor costs.

The Chamber acknowledges that the report’s authors met several times one-on-one with Kaericher and accepted many of his suggested edits. The final report was a definite improvement over the initial draft, but it still contained numerous troublesome recommendations.

The business groups involved (the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, IRMA, IMA and Chicagoland) met several times to discuss a response. The groups drafted a joint response that was 9 pages in length detailing our objections to the report. We discussed paid leave, scheduling, independent contractors, agricultural and transportation. You can read the letter HERE.

Sadly, we felt that the deficiencies in the recommendations were too much to overcome. As a result, Kaericher joined our association friends to vote NO on the report.

You can read the final report HERE.

Illinois public safety pension fund consolidation passes a legal test

An Illinois judge upheld the constitutionality of legislation consolidating suburban Chicago and downstate police pension and firefighter pension fund assets.

The group of local police pension funds that challenged the merger is expected to appeal, which may eventually bring the case to the Illinois Supreme Court for a final decision, but the summary judgment order could speed up the police consolidation process that will miss a July 1 deadline.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker won legislative approval in November 2019 to require the more than 600 local government police and firefighter funds with the exception of Chicago to transfer their assets to a single consolidated police fund and a single fire fund by July 1.


Census Action

Democrats in Illinois’ congressional delegation wrote directly to the Census Bureau to ask how the survey data will be used, warning: “Any federal entities disregarding Illinois’ revised population estimate in determining these funding allocations could have grave consequences for those affected by such underfunding.”

While there is nothing wrong with a state governor or member of Congress trying to maximize federal resources for their state – they do that all the time as part of their job – one thing should be made crystal clear: The official 2020 census numbers released last August have not been changed.

They have not been “adjusted,” “updated” or “revised.”

US employers report 11.4 M job openings, holding at near-record highs

Job openings remained at near-record highs, according to a report released Wednesday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The U.S. job openings decreased slightly to 11.4 million on the last business day in April, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover report. About 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in April.

Inflation Discussion

President Biden discussed steps to address high inflation at a White House meeting with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as his administration signals growing urgency to ease rapidly rising prices that threaten the U.S. economy.

The Tuesday meeting highlighted how much the White House is relying on outside forces to help combat the highest inflation in four decades.


Verizon’s Small Business Digital Ready $10k small business grant

Verizon Small Business Digital Ready is committed to helping small businesses grow. It’s why we are partnering with this program to arm businesses just like yours with the tools and resources needed to thrive in today’s digital economy. By joining this free platform, you’ll not only get access to courses, live coaching sessions, and invaluable learning materials, but can also qualify to apply for an exclusive pool of $10,000 small business grants.

To unlock the application for the current round of grant funding, register on Verizon Small Business Digital Ready, complete two courses or live coaching events, and apply by June 30, 2022.

Infrastructure Bill Preparation Program

The Illinois PTAC and Illinois SBA District Office have joined forces to develop a groundbreaking program to prepare companies for Infrastructure Bill contracts. The Infrastructure Bill was signed into law by the Biden Administration and will provide unprecedented financing for our nation’s infrastructure. Illinois will receive a substantial portion of this bill’s contracting dollars.

  1. SDVOSB Certification – (6/8/22 | 10:00 – 11:00 AM) – Registration
  2. Building Capability Statements for the Government Market – (6/15/22 | 10:00 – 11:00 AM)  – Registration
  3. Government Proposal Writing – (6/22/22 | 10:00 – 11:00 AM)  – Registration
  4. Government Marketing Plan – (6/29/22 | 10:00 – 11:00 AM) – Registration

Stay well,

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