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Merit Update Capitol News: October Edition

by Shattuck & Associates Consulting, Inc. 

General Assembly Returns Later this Month for Veto Session

 

Faced with a number of issues that inappropriately expanded government intervention into employer benefit plans and added legal traps for Illinois contractors, Governor Rauner vetoed a number of anti-jobs legislation. Individually each measure increased the cost of doing business in our state. Together these bills posed a terrible blow to Illinois being able to compete for high paying jobs with good benefits. We appreciate the Governor’s willingness to stand with ABC and other business groups after facing intense pressure to sign these bills from organized labor and interest groups intent on dismantling Illinois’ jobs climate.

 

The veto session will demonstrate the Governor’s relationships with republican lawmakers, especially House Republicans. With the friction created between the Governor over the budget and tax increase vote, the Governor must rely on House Republicans to sustain his vetoes. Efforts to override any of these vetoes requires 71 votes in the House and 36 votes in the Senate. The makeup of the House is 67 Democrats and 51 Republicans. The Senate has 37 Democrats to 22 Republicans.

 

The Governor has added to his  political problems, especially with conservative members of his own party by signing into law an immigration measure and expansion of abortion rights.

 

HB 2462 (Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin)/Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Skokie) Equal Pay - Wage History: Prohibits an employer from: (i) screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history, (ii) requiring that an applicant's prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, and (iii) requesting or requiring as a condition of being interviewed or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment that an applicant disclose prior wages or salary. Prohibits an employer from seeking the salary, including benefits or other compensation or salary history, of a job applicant from any current or former employer. In addition, the very concerning changes being made by HB 2462 are the undermining of employer defenses along with the expansion of civil penalties, including punitive damages and injunctive relief.  The question we ask is this legislation really about limiting what employers can ask of a job applicant or is the bill all about increasing litigation opportunities and judicial awards against employers? ABC’s request for a veto was granted by the Governor.

 

Sustaining this veto may be the most difficult of bills vetoed as 25 House Republicans joined 66 Democrats to pass the measure back in April. To sustain the veto only 3 Republicans can vote with Democrats to override. In his veto message, the Governor recommended that the General Assembly consider the Massachusetts approach. ABC joined with other business groups to promote the Massachusetts alternative by supporting an amendment introduced by Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) to HB 2094 . A similar amendment was filed in the Senate by Sen. Mike Connelly (R-Lisle). ABC members are urged to contact their state representatives to vote against any override attempt.

 

HB 2525, sponsored by Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea)/Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), is being promoted by the House & Senate Democrats as workers' compensation reform. It is far from it. Codification of current bad case law for "causation" and "traveling employee" merely locks employers into the court-expanded liability. In addition, it prevents employers from being able to achieve a change in the case law from future courts. Some benefit relief is included but is far outweighed by increased regulation and litigation that are contained in the measure. ABC urged for a veto by the Governor. No Republicans voted for HB 2525 when it passed the House on May 31. Sixty-Four Democrats supported the bill.

 

HB 2622,  sponsored by Rep. Laura Fine (D-Glenview/Biss). This measure uses employer and insurer tax dollars to capitalize the creation of a state established, mutual insurance company to compete with the over 300 insurers that already provide workers' compensation coverage. The $10 million of startup money are tax dollars that currently go to run the operations of the Workers' Compensation Commission. The legislation provides that the funds are a "loan" to be paid back with interest. Given the track record regarding finances of Illinois state government, it is difficult to believe the loan would be paid in a timely fashion. Furthermore, removing resources meant to support the operations of the Commission jeopardizes the entire adjudication of workers' compensation for injured workers as well as employers.  Again, no Republicans voted for HB 2622. But, all 67 Democrats voted “yes”.

 

SB 81, sponsored by Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Chicago)/Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), phases in increases to the minimum wage to $15 per hour on January 1, 2022. The legislation creates a convoluted credit against the withholding tax liability of employers with 50 or fewer employees, calculated based on the increase in the minimum wage. ABC asked for a veto by the Governor. In the Senate, SB 81 received only 30 votes, 6 short of an override. Joining all Senate Republicans in voting against SB 81 were Sen. Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) and Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield). Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) voted “present”. Senate Democrats “not voting” were Bertino-Tarrant (Shorewood), Haine (Alton), Harris (Flossmoor), and Silverstein (Chicago).

 

SB 1720, sponsored by Sen. Biss /Rep. Lisa Hernandez (D-Chicago) increases criminal penalties for violation of the Wage Payment & Collection Act. It also bars contractors for 5 years from bidding on any state procurement by a business violating certain Illinois employment laws, any comparable laws in other states or the federal FLSA.  SB 1720 also received only 30 Senate votes, far short of the 2/3 needed to override. Sen. Steve Landek (D-Bridgeview) voted “no”. Democrats Bertino-Tarrant, Haine, Harris, Hastings (Orland Hills), Morrison and Stadelman (Rockford) all were recorded as “not voting”.

 

SB 1905, sponsored by Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago)/ Rep. Marty Moylan (D-Des Plaines) restricts local government units from addressing ways to regulate collective bargaining agreements. The irony of this legislation is that increasing minimum wage and leave benefits at the local level is okay. But, if a community believes that it can enhance its economic well-being by addressing collective bargaining rights, that is bad public policy. 

 

Unusual Number of Lawmakers Not Seeking Reelection in 2018…Support Contractors for Free Enterprise

 

The animosity and rancor in Springfield is claiming an unusual number of legislators to not seek reelection in 2018. A few also are deciding to run for higher office or have already resigned. Typically, a higher turnover of legislators occurs in the election following redistricting, next such election being 2022. Legislators and candidates for the legislature are now collecting signatures to run for office. We expect to see a near record number of primary races not only for the open seat created by retirements but also from challengers. Many of legislators will be elected for the next General Assembly sworn in 2019 during the primary election in March of 2018. Be sure to support ABC’s Contractors for Free Enterprise on your dues statement. A committee of ABC members will use the CFE funds to support legislators and legislative candidates that support the merit shop philosophy. Below is a list of lawmakers not seeking reelection (more may be forthcoming):

 

Senators Not Seeking Re-election in 2018

Representatives Not Seeking Re-election

 

Pam Althoff (R-Crystal Lake)

Steve Andersson (R-Geneva)

Daniel Biss (D-Evanston)

Running for Governor

Dan Beiser (D-Alton)

Tim Bivens (R-Dixon)

Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale)

James Clayborne, Jr. (D-E. St. Louis)

John Cavaletto (R-Salem)

Bill Haine (D-Alton)

Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago)

Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon)

Scott Drury (D-Highland Park)

Running for Attorney General

Christina Radogno (R-Lemont)

resigned

Laura Fine (D-Glenview)

Running for Senator

Donne Trotter (D-Chicago)

Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago)

 

David Harris (R-Arlington Heights)

 

Chad Hays (R-Catlin)

 

Emily McAsey (D-Lockport)

Resigned

 

 

 

Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth)

 

Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook)

 

Brandon Phelps (D-Norris City)

resigned

 

Reggie Phillips (R-Charleston)

 

Bob Pritchard (R-DeKalb)

 

Al Riley (D-Olympia Fields)

 

Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills)

 

Cynthia Soto (D-Chicago)

Running for local office

Brian Stewart (R-Freeport)

Running for Senator

No public announcement yet

Julianna Stratton (D-Chicago)

Running for Lt. Governor

Litesa Wallace (R-Rockford)

Running for Lt. Governor

Barb Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake)

Sara Wojcicki-Jimenez (R-Springfield)



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