Capitol News Report: March 2018

By Shattuck & Associates Consulting, Inc.

March 20 Primary Elections

In just a few weeks, Illinois primary voters will be deciding their party nominees for the fall General Election. Important statewide races for Governor and Attorney General in both parties are pending with what looks like a more competitive Democrat primary for those offices. Early voting is now available. Contact your county clerk for details as to times and locations that you are able to vote before the March 20th primary.

 

Key legislative elections also are occurring in dozens of seats around the state. Most of these districts are being filled by newcomers and the primary is the election. Contractors for Free Enterprise are engaged in many of these races. For more information about the candidates being supported by CFE contact us. We will have a full primary election results report for ABC members on March 21st.

 

 

Governor Offers FY 2019 Budget Proposal

 

On Wednesday, February 14, Governor Rauner gave his FY 2019 Budget Proposal to the Illinois General Assembly. His proposal included changes to the way pensions are paid out to state employees with a $1 billion savings that could result in a tax cut. He proposed spending more than $8 billion on elementary and secondary education in the coming year but cut $2 billion in state spending in part by shifting the employer's portion of teacher pension payments to public school districts. Shifting pension costs back to school districts and universities, which is phased in over four years, will save the state $696 million this year. 

 

Governor Rauner's budget proposal carried a tone throughout his entire message: asking public employers to take more responsibility for its employee's benefits. Twenty-five percent of the state's expenses come from pension payments and employee group health expenses. 

 

In addition to changing pension pay out, the Governor's proposal looks to change state and university employees' group health insurance-similar to what Massachusetts's legislature has done, saving $470 million in general revenue this year and $560 million in all funds. 

 

The Governor mentioned lowering the workers' compensation insurance rates to the national average to create thousands of new jobs over time, increase economic growth that would help keep the budget balanced, and save millions of dollars in lower government costs. 

 

The budget proposal also addressed higher education, MAP grants, housing for veterans, child care assistance, Community Care Program, Medicaid, reforms to the criminal justice system, and infrastructure improvements. 

 

He ended his message with a collaborative message, stating the budget proposal is a "framework" for the legislature to consider, and he "welcomed a call to the table for serious conversations about how to proceed".

 

 

Bills of Interest for ABC Members

 

HB 2771, sponsored by Rep. Mitchell (D-Chicago)/Sen. Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights), creates the Healthy Workplace Act and amends the State Finance Act to require employers to provide 40 hours of paid sick days to employees. Sets forth the purposes for and manner in which the sick days may be used. Contains provisions regarding employer responsibilities, unlawful employer practices, and other matters. Provides that the Department of Labor shall administer the Act. Authorizes the imposition of civil penalties. Authorizes individuals to file civil actions with respect to violations. Creates the Healthy Workplace Fund as a special fund in the State treasury. Provides an exemption for the construction industry. Excludes school districts, park districts, and certain City of Chicago sister agencies. Provides that an employee may earn sick days 180 days after beginning employment. Effective immediately. House Calendar to Concur with Senate Amendments 1 & 2 ABC OPPOSED

 

HB 4163, sponsored by Rep. Moeller (D-Elgin)/Sen. Castro (D-Elgin), amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003 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. 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, with some exceptions. Provides for penalties and injunctive relief. Senate Assignments ABC OPPOSED

 

HB 4268, sponsored by Rep. Thapedi (D-Chicago), takes portions of the Mechanic’s Lien Act and places it within the Home Repair & Remodeling Act. We are working with other groups that oppose the legislation to address our concerns. Assigned to House Judiciary-Civil Committee/Real & Personal Property Law Subcommittee ABC OPPOSED in its current form

 

HB 4324, sponsored by Rep. Welch (D-Westchester), creates the Wage Lien Act to allow for the creation of a lien on an employer's property for the amount of unpaid wages owed to an employee. Defines terms and includes provisions concerning creation of the lien; exemptions; notice; limitations; recording of the lien; enforcement; other claims on the employer's property; successor obligations; and construction. House Second Reading ABC OPPOSED

 

HB 4363, sponsored by Rep. Jimenez (R-Springfield), amends the Business Enterprise for Minorities, Females, and Persons with Disabilities Act to require any contractor awarded a contract under the Act to make periodic reports to the contracting State agency on all expenditures made to achieve compliance with the provisions of the Act. Provides for the required contents of the report. Provides remedies for a contractor's non-compliance with the commitment to businesses owned by minorities, women, or persons with disabilities under the Act. Provides additional terms by which a contracting State agency may terminate a contract under the Act. Allows a contracting State agency to have access to a contractor's books and records for compliance purposes. Assigned to House State Government Administration Committee

 

HB 4863 (Kelly Burke-D-Oak Lawn)/SB 2621 (Mulroe-D-Chicago), amends the Mechanics Lien Act by requiring a subcontractor to contract with the owner rather than a contractor. House Rules Committee/Postponed in Senate Judiciary Committee

 

HB 4893, sponsored by Rep. Hoffman, amends the Prevailing Wage Act to include trucking firms, independent truck owner-operators, and trucking brokers to the term “subcontractor”. House Labor Committee ABC OPPOSED

 

HB 5046 (Welch) creates the Fair Scheduling Act which requires employers to provide work schedules to employees at least 72 hours before the start of the first shift of the work schedule. Provides for reporting pay when an employee's work shift is canceled or reduced within 72 of the beginning of the shift. Prohibits retaliation by employers when employees seek to enforce rights under the Act. Authorizes private actions for damages. Provides for administration and enforcement by the Department of Labor. Provides for monetary penalties. Amends the State Finance Act to create the Fair Scheduling Act Enforcement Fund, a special fund in the State treasury. Sets forth the uses of moneys in the Fund. Effective immediately. To be heard in the House Labor Committee, Wednesday at 2:30 pm.  ABC OPPOSED

 

HB 5006 (Rep. Spain-R-Peoria)/HB 5059 (Rep. Evans –D-Chicago)/SB 3002 (Sen. Sandoval) creates the Innovations for Transportation Infrastructure Act containing provisions governing the authorization of project delivery methods; preconditions to commencement of procurement; procurement; evaluation and selection of proposals, project records; confidentiality; public disclosure; design-build contracts; construction manager/general contractor contracts; funding and financing; minority, disadvantaged, and women-owned businesses; acquisition of property; federal requirements; powers of IDOT and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority; and rulemaking. House Rules Committee (HB 5006)/Assigned to House State Government Administration Committee (HB 5059)/Assigned to Senate Transportation Committee

 

HB 5354, sponsored by Rep. Unes (R-Pekin), amends the Workers’ Compensation Act to limit the scope of the term “arising out of and in the course of employment”. Makes changes to the definition of traveling employee. Injuries to the shoulder and hip are to be considered injuries to the arm and leg. Creates implementation of a closed formulary for prescription medicine. Assigned to House Labor & Commerce Committee ABC SUPPORTS

 

HB 5470, sponsored by Rep. Long (R-Streator), creates the Collective Bargaining Freedom and Consistent Wage Act to provide that the authority to enact any ordinance, rule, or regulation, or in any way prohibit, restrict, or regulate the use of union security agreements between an employer and an authorized labor organization vests exclusively with the General Assembly. Limits home rule powers. Amends the Workers’ Compensation Act to make changes concerning traveling employee, maximum compensation rate for temporary total incapacity, and other changes. Assigned to House Labor & Commerce Committee

 

SB 193, sponsored by Sen. Raoul/Rep. Hoffman, creates the Worker Protection Unit within the Office of the Illinois Attorney General to intervene in, initiate, enforce, and defend all criminal or civil legal proceedings on matters and violations relating to the Prevailing Wage Act, the Employee Classification Act, the Minimum Wage Law, the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act, and the Wage Payment and Collection Act, whenever the Attorney General determines that such action is necessary to protect the rights and interests of Illinois workers and Illinois businesses. Sent to the Governor ABC will ask for VETO

 

SB 2333, sponsored by Sen. Connelly (R-Naperville), responds to HB 4163 by amending the Equal Pay Act of 2003 to prohibit an employer from requiring an employee to sign a contract or waiver that would prohibit the employee from disclosing or discussing the employee's wage or salary; however, an employer may prohibit a human resources employee, a supervisor, or any other employee whose job responsibilities require or allow access to other employees' wage or salary information from disclosing such information without prior written consent from the employee whose information is sought or requested. Provides that it is unlawful for an employer to seek the wage or salary history of a prospective employee from the prospective employee or a current or former employer or to require that a prospective employee's prior wage or salary history meet certain criteria, with some exceptions. Provides that an employer against whom an action is brought alleging a violation of the Act's prohibition against gender-based wage differentials and who, within the previous 3 years and prior to the commencement of the action, has completed a self-evaluation of the employer's pay practices and can demonstrate that reasonable progress has been made towards eliminating wage differentials based on gender for the same or substantially similar work in accordance with that evaluation shall have an affirmative defense to liability. Provides that an employer who cannot demonstrate that the evaluation was reasonable in detail and scope shall not be entitled to an affirmative defense, but is liable for any civil fine of: (1) up to $500 per employee affected, if the employer has fewer than 4 employees; or (2) up to $2,500 per employee affected, if the employer has 4 or more employees. Unlike HB 4163, this does not take away an employer’s defenses for a wage differential. Assigned to Senate Labor Committee

 

SB 2453, sponsored by Sen. Terry Link (D-Gurnee), amends the Illinois Underground Utility Facilities Damage Prevention Act to clarify that the term “underground utility facilities” or “facilities” does not include underground storm sewers located within a right-of-way controlled by the counties of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will. Assigned to Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee

 

SB 2480, sponsored by Sen. Hastings (D-Frankfort), creates the Illinois Hazardous Materials Workforce Training Act to require the EPA to develop by rule a curriculum of approved advanced safety training for workers at high hazard facilities. An owner or operator must require its contractors and subcontractors, performing construction work at a stationary source, to use a skilled and trained workforce to perform all onsite work within an apprenticeable occupation in the building and construction trades and pay prevailing wage. Postponed in Senate Labor Committee ABC OPPOSED

 

SB 2863 (Raoul) sits on third reading in the Senate after advancing last week out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a partisan 7-4-1 vote. This measure is identical to HB 2525 which was vetoed last year by Gov. Rauner. ABC OPPOSED

 

SB 3031, sponsored by Sen. Weaver, amends the Energy Efficient Building Act to require the International Code Council’s International Energy Conservation Code, as adopted by CDB, to also apply to certain State facilities beginning on the effective date of the amendatory Act. Amends the Green Buildings Act to remove provisions requiring construction and major renovation projects to achieve the highest level of certification practical within the project budget. New State-funded building construction and major renovations of existing State-owned facilities would be required to achieve, at a minimum, the silver certification of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s rating system or an equivalent standard. Senate Second Reading

 

SB 3052, sponsored by Sen. Mulroe, amends the Contractor Prompt Payment Act to prohibit the withholding of a retainage from progress payments or final payments in excess of 5% of the payment. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee

 

SB 3100, sponsored by Sen. Bertino-Tarrant, amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003 to prohibit an employer from requiring an employee to sign a nondisclosure agreement regarding the employee’s salary, from seeking the salary history of a prospective employee, and from requiring that a prospective employee’s salary history meet any specified criteria. Allows for an employer to establish a self-evaluation plan of the employer’s pay practices and submit to IDOL for verification. An employer with a verified self-evaluation plan would have an affirmative defense to liability for certain alleged violations of the Act. Assigned to Senate Labor Committee ABC NEUTRAL

 

SB 3209, sponsored by Sen. Muñoz (D-Chicago), amends the Capital Development Board Act stating CDB has the power to construct and repair, or to contract for and supervise the construction and repair of, buildings under the control or for the use of any public institution of higher education when non-appropriated funds are used and both CDB and the public institution of higher education mutually agree to that construction and supervision. Assigned to Senate Appropriations II Committee

 

SB 3226, sponsored by Sen. Weaver, amends the School Code to require the School Board of Education to adopt rules to allow students of any high school in this State who are 16 years of age or older to participate in registered apprenticeship programs and defines “registered apprenticeship programs”. Requires the rules to include a waiver of all non-academic requirements mandated for graduation from a high school under the Code that would otherwise prohibit or prevent a student from participating in a register apprenticeship program. Assigned to Senate Education Committee

Elisa Fox