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

Chamber members:

A number of positive announcements this past week came out of the Governor’s office for the state. See below for the full story. Also, just to let you know we’re working on setting a date to present a Legislative Coffee session with the topic of BIPA – Biometric Information Privacy Act. Stay tuned for more details on that. Otherwise, I hope you’re all enjoying your summer!

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

Governor Pritzker Announces Largest-Ever Construction Program in State History
Governor JB Pritzker joined state and local officials at the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) headquarters to announce the largest multi-year program to fix and repair infrastructure in state history: $40.99 billion over six years, showcasing the reach and impact of the governor’s historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital program. The new multi-year program is the first time in more than a decade that IDOT is releasing a comprehensive approach to invest in all modes of transportation: roads and bridges, aviation, transit, freight and passenger rail, waterways, as well as bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

“Over the next six years, we’re investing over $40 billion to improve all modes of transportation across our great state. That means better roads and bridges, modernized transit and aviation, and expanded and faster passenger rail service,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Rebuild Illinois has increased safety, efficiency, and opportunities for residents all over the state — and over the next few years, we will keep building on that progress, with all 102 counties of Illinois included in the multi-year program.”

The Fiscal Year 2024-29 Proposed Highway and Multimodal Improvement Program aims to invest $27.03 billion in roads and bridges, with $4.6 billion identified for the current fiscal year. A total of $13.96 billion is programmed for other modes, which includes $9.85 billion for transit, $2.67 billion for freight and passenger rail, $1.25 billion for aviation and $190 million for ports and waterways. Projects are spread out across state and local transportation systems, touching each of the 102 counties in Illinois.

On the highways side, the program aims to improve 3,006 miles of roads and just over 9.8 million square feet of bridge deck on the state system, with anticipated funding maintaining 738 miles of roads and 1.1 million square feet of bridge deck for infrastructure overseen by local governments. Overall, the new program will increase the investment in Illinois roads and bridges by $2.43 billion over six years, due in part to engineering and planning efforts in the early years of Rebuild Illinois starting to result in more construction activity.

Expanding on Gov. Pritzker’s goals with Rebuild Illinois to enhance mobility, create economic opportunity, promote quality of life, and improve safety throughout Illinois, IDOT last year received authority to use alternative project delivery on certain projects in the program. A total of 16 potential projects anticipated to cost $474.5 million have been identified for nontraditional delivery methods.

“This latest multiyear program shows how the Governor’s Rebuild Illinois continues to revitalize and modernize the state’s infrastructure in new and exciting ways, with major projects underway or about to start in every region of the state,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Up and down Illinois, IDOT is delivering improvements that will make our transportation system more resilient, equitable and accessible now and for generations to come.”

Passed in 2019, Rebuild Illinois is investing a total of $33.2 billion into the state’s aging transportation system over six years, creating jobs and promoting economic growth. Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history, but also the first one that touches all modes of Illinois transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

Entering Year Five of Rebuild Illinois, IDOT has made approximately $12.1 billion of improvements statewide on 5,339 miles of highway, 533 bridges, and 762 additional safety improvements through Fiscal Year 2023.

Gov. Pritzker Announces Record-Breaking Hotel Revenues in FY23 and Unprecedented Growth in Illinois Tourism
Governor JB Pritzker joined the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), elected officials, and industry leaders to announce that Illinois reached its highest-ever hotel revenue figures in FY23 ($308 million) – surpassing the pre-pandemic record in FY19. Additionally, Illinois welcomed 111 million visitors who spent $44 billion in 2022 – representing 14 million additional travelers spending $12 billion more than calendar year 2021.

“I am proud to announce that in the fiscal year ending June 30, Illinois saw the highest ever hotel revenue numbers. More tourism means millions of new visitors exploring all the amazing things that our state and city have to offer – supporting small businesses and local economies along the way,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Whether you’re a life-long resident of the Land of Lincoln looking to explore your own state, or an out-of-town visitor curious to discover the cool entertainment, award winning culinary delights, or all the great local shopping: we’re here to welcome you.”

State hotel revenue collections are provided by the Illinois Department of Revenue. The figure represents all of Illinois’ hotels, motels, and lodging establishment’s taxable revenue. Additionally, the annual economic impact of visitors is compiled by Tourism Economics and measures the number of visitors as well as their impact on Illinois’ economy during the calendar year.

State Hotel Revenues Collected (Measured by Fiscal Year)

FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22 FY23
$296,284,950.38 $249,905,941.23 $93,223,761.71 $226,465,760.39 $307,748,039.42

Visitor Economic Data (Measured by Calendar Year)

Year Visitors Visitor Spending
2018 117 million visitors $44.2 billion
2019 122.8 million visitors (+5% from 2018) $45.5 billion (+3% from 2018)
2020 67.4 million visitors (-45% from 2019) $23.3 billion (-49% from 2019)
2021 97.1 million visitors (+44% from 2020) $32.2 billion (+39% from 2020)
2022 111.3 million visitors (+14% from 2021; 91% of 2019 record level) $44.3 billion (+37% from 2021; 97% of 2019 record level)

Visitor spending surged to $44 billion in 2022 – $12 billion over calendar year 2021 and 97% of record 2019 levels, according to data provided by Tourism Economics. As a result of tourist spending and visits in 2022, the overall economic impact – which includes indirect and induced impacts – amounted to a staggering $78 billion, which is a 30% increase from 2021 figures ($60 billion).

“Under Governor Pritzker’s leadership, Illinois has made unprecedented investments in the travel and tourism industry and more visitors are coming to Illinois and supporting our businesses as a result,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “Illinois is the Middle of Everything – a world renowned destination where you can enjoy natural treasures, small town charm and big city amenities or whatever adventure you are looking for. We’re excited to build upon this record-breaking progress as we continue to promote Illinois and support the industry.”

In 2022 according to the Tourism Economics Report, state and local tax revenue from visitor spending generated an impressive $4.2 billion. This boost in revenue has invigorated various sectors of the state’s economy while directly supporting 270,600 jobs in the state’s tourism and hospitality industry, an increase of 38,300 jobs from 2021.

“The hotel industry was among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, so these numbers are encouraging as the industry continues to work to recover,” said Michael Jacobson, President and CEO, Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association. “We look forward to returning to our place as a strong economic engine for the state as demand for tourism returns and occupancy numbers rise closer to pre-pandemic levels. I want to thank Governor Pritzker for his efforts to support Illinois’ tourism economy as we continue welcoming visitors back to our communities.”

Illinois has made significant investments in the travel and tourism industry, including $8 million for two funding rounds to support projects along Route 66, $3 million for tourism marketing grants, and $33 million for two rounds of tourism and festivals grants – amounting to nearly 200 awards benefiting communities across the state. Illinois has also distributed hundreds of millions of dollars directly to hotels, restaurants, and other tourism businesses through its Back to Business (B2B) and Business Interruption Grant programs.

Another key component of Illinois tourism’s success is the state’s award-winning “Middle of Everything” tourism campaign. Since it launched in 2022, the campaign has contributed to an additional 2 million trips equaling an additional $1 billion spent in Illinois hotels, restaurants, small businesses, and attractions, according to data from Longwoods International. Additionally, every $1 spent on the campaign equated to $91 in visitor spending while generating $10 in state and local tax revenue for every dollar spent – an enormous return on investment.

To learn more about Illinois and to plan an Illinois getaway, visit

Overseas Trip for Illinois Delegation
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is heading out on a trade mission to London right on the heels of President Joe Biden’s visit across the pond. Governor Pritzker will attend the Goodwood Festival of Speed July 13 through 16 to discuss electric vehicle manufacturing with automobile, energy and supply chain industry leaders. Building the EV industry in Illinois has been a top priority for Pritzker’s administration.

The Illinois delegation of business and education leaders will also meet with their British counterparts to talk about manufacturing, clean energy and higher education collaboration, according to the governor’s office.

“When I first ran for governor, I promised to be our state’s best chief marketing officer — letting the world know that Illinois is the best place to live, work and do business,” Pritzker said in a statement.

Those goals were put on hold during his first term when handling the Covid pandemic consumed his administration. “Now that Covid is no longer preventing travel, the governor wants to sell Illinois on the international stage. We’re looking forward to doing more trips to Asia and throughout North America like Canada and Mexico,” spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said.

Why London? “With $5 billion in bilateral trade in 2022, this trip will … give us the opportunity to meet with some of the most talented leaders across industries in the U.K. while forging connections on business opportunities that will benefit Illinoisans and people from Britain alike,” Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Kristin Richards said in a statement. Adds Intersect Illinois CEO Dan Seals: “We’re making the case for our skilled workforce, our central location, our quality of life and our international outlook.”

Who’s going: Along with Pritzker, first lady MK Pritzker, Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Anne Caprara, Deputy Gov. Andy Manar and a few dozen more. Here’s the full list.

When it comes to infrastructure funding, Buttigieg says states have to spend money to make money
Any startup entrepreneur can tell you that the first check is often the hardest, but also the most important, because it helps attract more money. That truism isn’t lost on U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who oversees billions in federal infrastructure spending approved by Congress for roads, bridges, trains, planes and electric vehicle charging stations.

“We have had no shortage of wonderful ideas and applications that have come in from Illinois and Chicago for grants we have underway . . . thanks to President Biden’s infrastructure program,” Buttigieg said Monday night during a conversation with former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker as part of TechChicago Week. “I would add that under the governor’s leadership, the state is putting up a lot.”

“Lest anybody get caught in the framework that says, ‘Why are we investing as a state if the federal government is going to come anyway?’ — the more the state puts forward, the better partner we can be. The more matching there is, the more gets done,” Buttigieg said. “A state that understands the importance of infrastructure is a critical part of all of this.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who addressed the room full of tech entrepreneurs and investors hosted by P33 and World Business Chicago before Buttigieg took the stage, made no secret that he’s eyeing other pots of federal money. “With the creation of Innovate Illinois, we’re focusing on maximizing investment from the federal bipartisan infrastructure bill, the CHIPS Act and the Inflation Reduction Act to catalyze economic development in critical areas of technology, advanced manufacturing, quantum and advanced biology,” Pritzker said. “It is hugely important that we get our fair share from the federal government.”

Pritzker pointed to a $200 million investment during his first term in quantum-computing research at the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago, which was followed by more than $250 million in federal research funding.

A $7 billion competition by the U.S. Department of Energy that will designate six to 10 regional hubs for hydrogen research is among other big projects that university and state officials are focused on. The department expects to name recipients in the fall.

Small Business Victories in 2022-2023 U.S. Supreme Court Term
The U.S. Supreme Court concluded its 2022-2023 term on June 30. Overall, the term was a convincing success for small business. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) filed amicus briefs in seven cases this term. Of these, six cases were decided in favor of small businesses. From civil penalty prosecutions to the jurisdiction of federal agencies, many of these decisions will have an immediate and positive impact on the small business community.

“In many ways, the U.S. Supreme Court acts as a final safeguard for the rights of small business owners,” said Beth Milito, Executive Director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “Burdensome mandates, inconsistent regulations, and costly penalties can make it impossible for small businesses to thrive. Thankfully, the Supreme Court agreed to this term and acted largely in defense of the small business community. In several decisions, the Court reinforced the importance of small businesses nationwide to their communities and the national economy.”

Bittner v. United States
In this case, the Supreme Court protected small businesses from incurring numerous penalties under the Bank Secrecy Act. The case questioned whether the failure to file a required report is considered a singular violation in itself or if an individual should incur multiple violations for each unreported account. Ultimately, the Court concluded that violations under the Bank Secrecy Act should not result in multiple, extraneous penalties. This will benefit the many small business owners who mean to comply but lack the resources to navigate the complex regulatory requirements.

Wilkins v. United States
This case questioned whether the Quiet Title Act’s statute of limitations is a jurisdictional requirement, which would prohibit small business owners from filing a suit against the government after the 12-year time period expired. Instead, the Court agreed with NFIB that the statute of limitations was not jurisdictional and was instead a claim-processing rule. This decision reinforced the importance of property rights and the balance between the government and property owners, ensuring that small business owners could have their day in court.

Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency
Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency was perhaps the most awaited decision from this Supreme Court term for small businesses as it coincided with the enactment of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and the Department of the Army’s final rule on the waters of the U.S. The case concerned whether wetlands are considered “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. Before this decision, small business owners had no clear way to determine if their land was under the jurisdiction of the EPA. This impeded their ability to run their businesses or improve upon their land. Thankfully, the Court unanimously rejected the standard courts and the government have used to expand the EPA’s jurisdiction over private property in favor of a narrower test. The decision creates a clearer picture of WOTUS and the authority of the EPA and the Department of the Army, saving many landowners from bureaucratic confusion and unfair penalties.

Tyler v. Hennepin County
The case questioned whether the Takings Clause prevents the government, after seizing and selling a person’s property to collect back taxes, from keeping the surplus amount collected from the sale. This government practice is commonly referred to as “home equity theft.” The Court unanimously ruled in favor of Tyler on her Fifth Amendment takings claim, ensuring that small business owners are protected from this unfair government practice.

Glacier Northwest, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters
In our amicus brief in the case, NFIB argued that multiple court precedents had already determined that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) does not immunize unions from state tort suits involving the intentional destruction of private property. The Supreme Court agreed, solidifying the established balance of power between labor unions and employers. This decision ensures that small businesses have the right to seek compensation via legal action following the vandalism of their property.

Coinbase Inc. v. Bielski
In Coinbase Inc. v. Bielski, the Supreme Court considered whether the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires trial courts to halt trial court proceedings once a party appeals the court’s decision on a motion to arbitrate. In answering that it does, the Court saved business owners from enduring the costly litigation that they seek to avoid by requesting arbitration in the first place.

Stay well,

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