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Merit Update Capitol News: December Edition

by Shattuck & Associates Consulting, Inc. 

Veto of Local Government Right to Work Prohibition Upheld

Earlier this fall, the Senate easily overrode SB1905, sponsored by Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago)/ Rep. Marty Moylan (D-Des Plaines) on a 42-13 vote. The measure sought to restrict local government units from addressing ways to regulate collective bargaining agreements. No Democrats voted against the override motion. The following Republican Senators supported the override: Althoff (Crystal Lake); Anderson (East Moline); Curran (Woodridge); McCann (Carlinville); McConnaughay (St. Charles); Rezin (Morris) and Schimpf (Waterloo). 

During the last week of Veto Session, the House made two attempts to override but both motions failed by one vote 70-42-1 and 70-39-1Republicans voting in support of the override on both attempts were: Bryant (Murphysboro); Cabello (Machesney Park); and D. Harris (Arlington Heights). Rep. Severin (Marion) was a "yes" on the first vote and a "no" on the second. Rep. McCombie voted "yes" on the second vote and was not voting on the first.

ABC worked closely with the Governor's staff and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin to assure the override effort was defeated. The fallout for Leader Durkin's efforts is that organized labor led by OE 150 are actively supporting Durkin's republican primary opponent. 

Vetoes of Fake Workers' Compensation Reform Sustained

A motion to override the veto of HB2525, sponsored by Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea)/Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), was not called for a vote. HB 2525 made a number of changes that would have increased workers' compensation costs for employers.

A motion to override the Governor's veto of HB2622,  sponsored by Rep. Laura Fine (D-Glenview/Biss), failed on a 65-50-1 vote. 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.  No Republicans voted for the override. Democrat Rep John Connor (Romeoville) voted "present".

Increased Penalties for Wage Payment & Collection Fails

Like HB 2525,  SB1720, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Skokie)/Rep. Lisa Hernandez (D-Chicago) a motion to override the Governor's veto was not called for a vote. This measure increased criminal penalties for violation of the Wage Payment & Collection Act. It also barred state 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.  

ABC Helps Effort to Stop Override of Equal Pay - Wage History Veto

The Governor's veto of HB2462 (Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin)/Sen. Biss  was overridden by the House on a 80-33 vote. No democrat voted "no". The following Republicans supported the override: Andersson (Geneva); Bryant (Murphysboro); D. Harris (Arlington Heights); Hays (Catlin); Jimenez (Springfield); McAuliffe (Chicago); McDermed (Mokena); B. Mitchell (Forsyth); Olson (Downers Grove); Parkhurst (Kankakee); Severin (Marion); Welter (Morris); B. Wheeler (Crystal Lake); and Winger (Bloomingdale).

The question we asked of lawmakers 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? On a 29-17-1 vote the Senate agreed it was more about the latter.  Falling far short of the thirty-six votes needed to override, the following Democrats joined the entire Senate Republican caucus in not voting for the override: Haine (Alton); Harris (Flossmoor); Hastings (Orland Hills); Holmes (Aurora); Landek (Bridgeview); Sandoval (Cicero) and Stadelman (Rockford).

The legislation sought to prohibit 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. It also would have prohibited an employer from seeking the salary, including benefits or other compensation or salary history, of a job applicant from any current or former employer. 

The most concerning changes being made by HB2462 were the undermining of employer defenses along with the expansion of civil penalties, including punitive damages, compensatory damages and injunctive relief.  


Minimum Wage Increase Veto Override Fails

A motion to override the Governor's veto of SB81, sponsored by Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Chicago)/Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) was never called for a vote. SB 81 would have phased in increases to the minimum wage to $15 per hour on January 1, 2022. The legislation created a convoluted credit against the withholding tax liability of employers with 50 or fewer employees, calculated based on the increase in the minimum wage.  

Statewide & Legislative Candidate Line-up for 2018 Elections Take Shape

December 4th was the final day for candidates to file nominating petitions to run for elected office. Over the next several weeks, candidate petitions may be challenged and the State Board of Elections will determine whether the candidate may remain on the ballot. The Illinois Primary will be March 20th, 2018.

There are three incumbent Democrat Senators and two open Republican Senate seats that have primaries. Twenty House incumbents have primary opponents. There are an additional seventeen open seats that have primaries. As the legislative campaigns and races for statewide offices develop, your ABC Contractors for Free Enterprise will be reviewing and determining how to be engaged in electing more lawmakers who support the merit shop philosophy.

Associated Builders and Contractors - Illinois Chapter
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