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

Chamber members:

This week’s issue looks at election results from the “summer” primary election and also the July 1st pause of the gas and grocery taxes here in Illinois. There is also a list of new laws that go on the books beginning 7/1, so check them out to see if they impact you.

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

Illinois Primary Results
It will be state Senator Darren Bailey taking on Governor J.B. Pritzker in November. The conservative state senator from Xenia had carried well over 50 percent of the vote Tuesday while his two closest challengers were in the teens in the Republican Party primary election. He and Pritzker traded jabs at their respective victory speeches, Bailey’s in Effingham and Pritzker’s in Chicago.

Bailey won 57.5 percent of the Republican vote, with 98 percent of precincts reporting — miles ahead of Richard Irvin, the establishment candidate who came in third place after being backed by billionaire Ken Griffin to the tune of $50 million. Irvin had 15 percent of the vote to second-place finisher Jesse Sullivan’s 15.7 percent.

As for secretary of state, former state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, a Democrat, and state Rep. Dan Brady, a Republican, earned their parties’ nomination for the office being vacated by Jesse White. For attorney general, Kwame Raoul will face Thomas DeVore, a southern Illinois attorney best known for challenging Pritzker’s COVID-19 executive order authority in court along with Bailey. In the treasurer and comptroller races, both Democrats and Republicans ran unopposed. So that sets up Susana Mendoza vs. Shannon Teresi for Comptroller and for Treasurer, Michael Frerichs vs. Tom Demmer.

State Senate – 43rd District: Rachel Ventura will likely take on Diane Harris once all votes are official.

State Senate – 49th District: Sen. Meg Loughran Cappel will take on Stacey Keagle

State Representative – 85th District: Rep. Dagmara Avelar will run unopposed

State Representative – 86th District: Rep. Larry Walsh, Jr. will take on Scott Greene

State Representative – 97th District: Michelle Smith will take on Harry Benton

State Representative – 98th District: Rep. Natalie Manley will run unopposed

Congressional Races
In IL-11: Rep. Bill Foster will square off against Catalina Lauf of Woodstock after she defeated five others in the republican primary. The vast majority of our area is currently represented by Congressman Foster, but going forward we’ll be shifting to IL-14.

In IL-14: Rep. Lauren Underwood will face Scott Gryder, who is currently the chairman of the Kendall County Board. This district will now shift and cover most of our members going forward. We look forward to meeting both candidates as well as others as we work to present a candidate night before elections in November.

In IL-06: Rep. Marie Newman lost to fellow Democratic Rep. Sean Casten in a race that sputtered in the end after both sides pulled back on ads when Casten’s daughter died suddenly. Rep. Casten will face off against Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau in the general election, with Pekau beating a crowded field to earn the nod.

In IL-01: Jesse Jackson’s son clinches nomination for Congress to replace retiring Rep. Bobby Rush. The Republican race between Eric Carlson and Jeffery Regnier is too close to call, with the candidates separated by less than 400 votes at last update.

County Races
Will County Clerk: Lauren Staley Ferry vs. Gretchen Fritz
Will County Sheriff: Mike Kelley vs. Jim Reilly
Will County Treasurer: Tim Brophy vs. Raj Pillai
Regional Supt. of Schools: Shawn Walsh vs. Elizabeth Caparelli-Ruff

The Will County Board has been reduced to 22 districts so voters will need to choose two of the following from each district.

District 1: Joe Van Duyne, Jerry Bene, Katie Deane-Schlottman
District 2: Bob Howard, Judy Ogalla, Frankie Pretzel
District 3: Michael Flanagan, Sherry Newquist, Daniel Butler, George Macias
District 4: Andrew Englebrecht, Sheri Boniecki-Cooling, Stephen Balich, James Richmond
District 5: Sherry Williams, Scott Pointon, Annette Parker, Philip Juarez
District 6: Denise Winfrey, Janet Diaz
District 7: Natalie Coleman, Brian Bessler, Glenda Wright-McCullum, Vince Logan
District 8: Mica Freeman, Mark Revis, Nicky Giannasi
District 9: Destinee Ortiz, Margaret Tyson, Raquel Mitchell, write in candidate
District 10: Meta Mueller, Khadija Sufi, Julie Berkowicz, Vasavi Chakka
District 11: Elnalyn Costa, Jacqueline Traynere, Antonio Timothee, Larry Shaver

Tax Breaks for Gas, Groceries Start in July for Illinois Residents
Illinois residents can look forward to a tax break at the grocery store and the gas station starting in July. The state is suspending its grocery sales tax for a year as of July 1, according to the Illinois Department of Revenue. The 1 percent tax applies to most food and drinks purchased at stores, with exceptions for alcohol, cannabis products, soda, candy and items prepared for immediate consumption.

Illinois will also suspend the inflation adjustment to its gas tax from July 1 to Dec. 31, the department said, meaning the state’s tax on gas will stay flat at 39 cents per gallon.

In April, the Illinois General Assembly passed a package that aimed to provide $1.8 billion in tax relief to state families, which included a delay of a two-cent increase in the state’s motor fuel tax and a suspension of the 1 percent tax levied on grocery items. With the policies going into effect Friday, here’s a look at what they do and how they will affect you.

What do the gas tax and the grocery tax do?
The state’s gas tax, technically the “motor fuel tax,” levies a tax on gasoline and diesel fuel purchased at gas stations across the state. Consumers pay the extra amount through the purchase of gas and diesel for their cars or trucks.

For more than 30 years, the tax for gas was at 19 cents per gallon, with the diesel tax being at 21.5 cents per gallon having been slightly bumped up each time the Motor Fuel Tax Law was revised. However, with a need to pay for the ambitious Rebuild Illinois project shortly after Gov. JB Pritzker’s election, the tax was doubled in 2019, with the tax being set at 38 cents per gallon for gas and 45.5 cents for diesel.

For certain groceries, the state levies a 1% tax on them. This means that for every $100 that you spend at a grocery store on things like produce, meat and snacks, you have to pay an extra dollar for them in Illinois. This is significantly less than the general sales tax of 6.25% levied on other items.

Why did the legislature take this action?
Simply put, inflation. Gas prices in Illinois have skyrocketed and have gone even higher since the bill was passed by the legislature and signed into law by the governor. According to AAA, gas prices earlier hit an average of $5.48 per gallon which was up from $3.31 a gallon a year ago, an increase of more than $2. That increase was the second highest in the country behind Alaska.

The cost for food has also increased, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index reporting that at-home food cost increased nearly 12% from the year prior. The heaviest cost increases are seen in meat, poultry, fish and eggs (14.2%), non-specified at-home food — think snacks — (12.8%) and dairy (11.8%).

How will the changes work?
Beginning July 1 and continuing through the end of the year, the motor fuel tax will remain at 39 cents for gasoline and 46.7 cents for diesel. Had the tax increase not been suspended, it would have increased to 41.1 cents for gas, per the rules put in place by the 2019 doubling of the tax.

Also starting July 1, the tax on groceries will be eliminated for one year, with no tax being levied on most grocery items. Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and restaurant food will continue to be taxed at the regular 6.25% rate. The suspension of the grocery tax will last one year.

Federal judge rejects gas station owners’ fight against political stickers on pumps
The organization representing gas station owners in Illinois wants motorists to know the state has some of the highest gas taxes in the country.

The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association plans to share that message on stickers they are now required to display on every pump now that a federal judge has rejected their attempt to stop them. The group’s lawsuit said the sticker requirement mandated by the Illinois Legislature and Gov. J.B. Pritzker is forced political speech.

Beginning July 1, the law requires gas stations to post on each pump a sign stating state lawmakers temporarily delayed an estimated 2 cents a gallon tax increase initially scheduled for next month. That tax increase will now take effect Jan. 1, 2023.

The state-required language for the gas pump sign says, “As of July 1, 2022, the State of Illinois has suspended the inflation adjustment to the motor fuel tax through December 31, 2022. The price on this pump should reflect the suspension of the tax increase.”

The Pritzker administration said the sticker requirement is not partisan and the goal is to protect consumers. IFRA CEO Josh Sharp says the stickers state government is mandating gas station owners to post will provide more information than what Pritzker and lawmakers intended.

“Motor fuel taxes in Illinois are the second highest in the nation and there is no tax cut coming on July 1 but two tax increases in 2023 and we are only posting those signs under the threat of $500 per day fines and criminal prosecution,” Sharp said.

Grocery stores are also required to display signs touting a 12-month suspension in the 1% state sales tax on food, but they aren’t subject to fines for not complying as gas stations owners are.

Pritzker to call special session on reproductive rights
Gov. JB Pritzker will call a special session of the General Assembly in the coming weeks to focus on legislation to strengthen women’s access to abortion and other reproductive health services in Illinois. Governor Pritzker made that announcement last Friday, just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court released an opinion overturning the landmark 1973 abortion rights case Roe v. Wade.

“We knew this day was coming,” Pritzker said at a hastily called news conference in Chicago. “The extremists on the Supreme Court have made an abhorrent decision, one rooted in partisanship, leaving an indelible stain on our nation.” Pritzker had already been scheduled to hold a news conference Friday to highlight legislation he signed recently expanding access to medication that protects against HIV infection. But the Supreme Court’s decision, released shortly after 9 a.m., upended those plans and set off a flurry of reaction, both for and against the ruling.

Illinois is among the states with laws already on the books protecting access to abortion. In 2018, the state adopted a law allowing public funding of abortion through its Medicaid program. And in 2019, lawmakers passed the sweeping Reproductive Health Act which, among other things, enshrines abortion access as a “fundamental right” in Illinois law.

Finally, during last year’s veto session, lawmakers passed a bill repealing the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion law, removing the last legal restriction on abortion in Illinois.

Friday’s Supreme Court decision will have no effect on those laws. In fact, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a concurring opinion, specifically pointed to Illinois and other states as being unaffected by the decision.

“Today’s decision therefore does not prevent the numerous States that readily allow abortion from continuing to readily allow abortion,” he wrote. “That includes, if they choose, the (friend of the court) States supporting the plaintiff in this Court: New York, California, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii.”

It wasn’t immediately clear what types of legislation lawmakers would pursue in a special session. One that is likely to come up, though, is House Bill 1464, which prohibits state regulators from revoking or suspending the license of a health care provider solely because they were sanctioned in another state for performing abortions. That measure passed the House this year but requires action in the state Senate.

Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie, of Hawthorn Woods, suggested in a news release that Democrats may also try to pass legislation to offer public funding for out-of-state residents to receive abortion services in Illinois. “Right now, Illinoisans can already get an abortion in all nine months of pregnancy for any reason and use taxpayer dollars to pay for it. But that’s not enough,” he said. “Now, they want us to help pay for out-of-state residents to travel to Illinois to receive abortions and even allow non-physicians here to perform them.”

Public Acts By Effective Date on 7/1/2022
7/1/2022    102-0069      SB 00061     INS-IMPROPER CLAIMS PRACTICE
7/1/2022    102-0157      SB 00605     SCH CD-TRUANCY POLICY
7/1/2022    102-0160      SB 02664     NOTARY-ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS
7/1/2022    102-0199      HB 01746     STUDENT RECORD/CONFERENCE-DCFS
7/1/2022    102-0267      HB 00577     SCH CD-PREVENT YOUTH SUICIDE
7/1/2022    102-0286      SB 00294     WIPES LABELING ACT
7/1/2022    102-0373      SB 02014     HIGHER ED-MENTAL HEALTH-STU ID
7/1/2022    102-0416      HB 01778     STUDENT ID-SUICIDE PREV INFO
7/1/2022    102-0594      HB 02438     SCH CD-SCH REPORT CARD-TEACHER
7/1/2022    102-0622      SB 00662     HIGHER ED-SOCIAL WORKER-GRANT
7/1/2022    102-0688      HB 00692     CHILD CARE ACT-HOST HOMES
7/1/2022    102-0778      HB 04595     INS-DRUG DISCOUNT PROGRAM
7/1/2022    102-0901      HB 04703     INSURANCE-BILLING
7/1/2022    102-0935      HB 04452     COUNTIES-WIND ENERGY FACILITY
7/1/2022    102-0941      HB 04639     SOS-MANUFACTURED HOME DEALERS
7/1/2022    102-0946      HB 04666     FUNERAL DIRECTOR-VARIOUS
7/1/2022    102-0962      HB 04999     EARLY INTERVENTION SERVICES
7/1/2022    102-1062      HB 04326     SCHOOL FACILITY OCCUP REVENUE

Stay well,

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