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Merit Update Capitol News: March Edition

by Shattuck & Associates Consulting, Inc. 

Both Chambers Return to Springfield.

This week the House and Senate return to Springfield together after two weeks of only one chamber being in session.  Interestingly in the House, all bills that have been assigned to a committee have also been scheduled for a hearing this week, resulting in hundreds of bills posted in each committee. Consequently, it leaves us guessing as to which bills will actually receive a hearing this week. In the Senate, most scheduled committee hearings will have subject matter hearings with agencies testifying on the impacts of Governor Rauner’s FY18 budget proposal.

New Acting Director at the Illinois Department of Labor

Governor Rauner has designated Anna Hui as the Acting Director of the Department of Labor. Hui is the current Assistant Director of the Department of Labor. Hui’s experience at the state and U.S. Department of Labor make her an excellent choice to lead the department.

Legislation Impacting ABC Members


HB 411 (Rep. Reis) Workers Compensation-Injury: Amends the Workers’ Compensation Act to define the terms “accident” and “injury” by including “the aggravation of a pre-existing condition by an accident arising out of and in the course of employment, but only for so long as the aggravation of the pre-existing condition continues to be the major contributing cause of the disability” to the term “injury”. Injury resulting directly or indirectly from idiopathic causes is not compensable. Scheduled hearing: House Labor & Commerce Committee ABC SUPPORTS


HB 665 (Rep. Morrison) Negligent Hiring-Limitations: Creates the Limitations on Actions for Negligent Hiring Act. Provides that a cause of action may not be brought against a party solely for hiring an employee or independent contractor who has been convicted of a nonviolent, non-sexual offense. Provides that in a negligent hiring action for the acts of an employee or independent contractor, the fact that the employee or independent contractor was convicted of a nonviolent, non-sexual offense before the beginning of the employee's or independent contractor's employment or contractual obligation may not be introduced into evidence. Scheduled hearing: House Labor & Commerce Committee. ABC SUPPORTS


HB 732 (Rep. Burke) Roofing Work/Repairs: Amends the Illinois Roofing Industry Licensing Act to clarify that nothing in the Act shall be construed to require an employee who performs roofing or waterproofing work to his or her employer’s residential, commercial, or industrial property, where there exists an employee-employer relationship, to be licensed as a roofing contractor. Placed on Calendar 2nd Reading.


HB 804 (Rep. Lilly) Procurement Code-Small Business: Amends the Department of Transportation Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois to allow a small business subcontractor to enter into an agreement with IDOT to receive payments from the Department on a construction project. Amends the State Prompt Payment Act to provide that if a contractor is assessed liquidated damages from the State, the contractor is still responsible to each subcontractor under subcontracts, and contractors are responsible for reasonable attorney fees if an administrative law judge finds in favor of the subcontractor. Scheduled hearing: House State Government Administration Committee Wed. March 8 at 1:30 PM.


HB 2351 (Rep. Currie) Wage Lien Act: Creates the Wage Lien Act to provide that a lien exists on an employer’s property for the amount of unpaid wages owed to an employee. Placed on Calendar 2nd Reading. ABC OPPOSES


HB 2493 (Rep. Hoffman) Prevailing Wage Responsible Bidder: Amends the Prevailing Wage Act. Provides that a public body shall specify in the call for bids that each bidder be a responsible bidder. Requires contractors and subcontractors to report the hours worked by minorities and females. Requires the Department of Transportation, the Capital Development Board, and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority report that information to the General Assembly. Scheduled hearing: House Labor & Commerce. ABC OPPOSES


HB 2495 (Rep. Hoffman) Prevailing Wage Bona Fide Labor Org: Amends the Prevailing Wage Act. Provides that the prevailing wage shall not be less than the rate that prevails for similar work performed under collective bargaining agreements in the locality provided that the agreements cover at least 30% of the workers. Provides that, if bargaining agreements do not exist in the locality, the Department of Labor shall ascertain the prevailing wage to be paid under the Act. Applies to public works performed without a written contract. Requires that the Department publish prevailing wages schedules on its website. Scheduled hearing: House Labor & Commerce. ABC OPPOSES


HB 3101 (Rep. Stewart) Prevailing Wage – Waiver $20,000: Amends the Prevailing Wage Act. Provides that the Act does not apply to wages paid to all laborers, workers, and mechanics employed by or on behalf of a public body engaged in a public works project with a total cost of $20,000 or less if the public body notifies the Department of Labor of each project for which the waiver is used within 60 days of commencing the project. Provides that the Department shall make available a form with which public bodies may make this notification. Provides that the Department shall submit an annual report detailing the number of projects engaged using the waiver in the preceding year, the total number of employees engaged in those projects, the total cost of those projects without using prevailing wage standards, the total cost of those projects using prevailing wage standards, and any other information the Department deems appropriate. Effective immediately. Scheduled hearing: House Labor & Commerce. ABC SUPPORTS


HB 3634 (Rep. Phelps) Ground Utility Damage Prevent: Amends the Illinois Underground Utility Facilities Damage Prevention Act. Provides for additional required activities for an excavator who engages in nonemergency excavation or demolition under the Act. Modifies the requirements for an excavator who engages in emergency excavation or demolition under the Act. Provides notice requirements for damaged, dislocated, and exposed underground utility facilities. Provides additional requirements for record of notice and the marking of underground utility facilities. Modifies Sections concerning liability, financial responsibility, negligence, and penalties for violating the provisions of the Act. Repeals a Section concerning preconstruction conferences. Defines, modifies, and repeals terms. Makes certain provisions apply to home rule municipalities with a population over 1,000,000. Assigned to House Executive Committee.


SB 2 (Sen. Lightford) Minimum Wage: Amends the Minimum Wage Law to increase the minimum wage from $8.25 to $9.00 beginning July 1, 2017 and increases it by $0.50 each July 1 until July 1, 2021, at which point the minimum wage will be $11.00. Amends the Illinois Income Tax Act to create a credit against the withholding tax liability of employers with fewer than 50 employees, calculated based on the increase in the minimum wage. Effective immediately but does not take effect unless Senate Bills 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 of the 100th General Assembly become law. Placed on Calendar Order of 3rd Reading. ABC OPPOSES—Most recent amendment shells the bill


SB 12 (Sen. Radogno) Workers’ Compensation: Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Exempts from public inspection certain information collected by the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission from self-insureds and papers, documents, reports, or evidence relevant to a workers' compensation fraud investigation conducted by the Department of Insurance. Amends the Workers' Compensation Act. Makes changes concerning: the maximum compensation rate for a period of temporary total incapacity; compensation awards for injuries to the shoulder and hip; the maximum allowable payment for certain service categories; the assignment and reassignment of arbitrators to hearing sites; annual reports on the state of self-insurance for workers' compensation in Illinois; and other matters. Effective immediately, but this Act does not take effect at all unless Senate Bills 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 13 of the 100th General Assembly become law. Placed on Calendar Order of 3rd Reading. ABC REVIEWING, the bill needs to be strengthened.


SB 981/HB 2462 (Sen. Biss/Rep. Moeller) Equal Pay – Wage History: Amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003. 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. Limits defenses. Provides for penalties and injunctive relief. Scheduled hearings: Senate Labor and House Economic Opportunity. ABC OPPOSES


SB 1266 (Sen. Sandoval) Prompt Pay – Subcontractors: Amends the Prompt Payment Act. Provides that a contractor may require either a performance bond or retention of payment of a subcontractor as part of the subcontract. Provides that a contractor may not require both. Scheduled hearing: Senate State Government Committee Wed. March 8 at 1:00 PM


SB 1720 (Sen. Biss) Anti-Wage Theft – State Contract: Amends the Illinois Procurement Code. Prohibits any person or business that violates the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, the Minimum Wage Law, the Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the Employee Classification Act, the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, or any comparable state statute or regulation of any state which governs the payment of wages to do business with the State or any State agency or enter into a subcontract that is subject to the Code for a period of 5 years. Amends the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act. Amends the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act. Provides that an employer that is able to pay wages and who refuses to pay is guilty of a Class 4 felony with respect to amounts of $5,000 or less (rather than a Class B misdemeanor) and of a Class 3 felony with respect to amounts greater than $5,000 (rather than a Class A misdemeanor). Provides that a subsequent failure to pay within 5 years (rather than 2 years) of a prior conviction is a Class 3 felony (rather than a Class 4 felony). Scheduled hearing: Senate Labor Committee Wed. March 8 at 3:00 PM. ABC OPPOSES


SB 1905 (Sen. Silverstein) Collective Bargaining Freedom: Creates the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act. Provides that it is the policy of the State that employers, employees, and their labor organizations are free to bargain collectively. Provides that the authority to enact laws or rules that restrict the use of union security agreements between an employer and a labor organization vests exclusively with the General Assembly. Prohibits local governments from enforcing any such law or rule. Defines terms. Effective immediately. Scheduled hearing: Senate Labor Committee. ABC OPPOSES

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