April 13, 2018 Update

The Illinois General Assembly returned to session this week after a three-week spring break. The House was in Session all five days while the Senate was in Session three days. Both chambers return to session on Tuesday, April 17th.
Roughly eight weeks remain in the spring legislative session which is scheduled to adjourn on May 31st.  Friday, April 10th, was the deadline to pass substantive legislation out of committees in both chambers. However, deadline extensions are likely on some of the legislation that remains pending at the committee level.
On Monday, Governor Rauner outlined his legislative agenda for the remainder of the spring session. Rauner said that he wants the General Assembly to send him a full fiscal year’s balanced budget that “lives within our means” without raising taxes. To begin the budget making process, Rauner is asking the General Assembly to formally establish revenue estimates. Rauner is also calling on the General Assembly to approve pension reform, provide property tax relief through enacting mandate relief for local governments (including consolidation, restricting prevailing wage and addressing school mandates), enhance public safety, make infrastructure improvement and enact term limits. Rauner’s agenda did not mention paying off the bill backlog which currently stands at $8.3 billion or fixing the trouble Quincy Veteran’s home.
Rauner and the four legislative leaders met on Thursday for the first time since February 14th. Prior to the meeting, the Governor asked the four leaders to name legislators to negotiate the budget on their behalf, adopt revenue estimates and pass a full year budget with no tax increases. Reaction to the meeting was mixed. The Democratic leaders were critical of the Governor following the meeting. Senate President Cullerton called the Governor a “hypocrite” for wanting to spend the tax revenue that the Governor vetoed last year. Speaker Madigan indicated that he is ready to work in a bi-partisan fashion with Republican legislators like he did last year to end the budget crisis. Madigan noted that he would welcome Governor Rauner to that process if he is ready to accept responsibility and manage the state and be an honest partner in the budget process. Republican leaders characterized the meeting as “progress” noting the Democratic leaders agreed to appoint budget negotiators and adopt revenue estimates.
Governor Rauner signed legislation (SB1451 ) this week to create the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act to expand access to 5G networks.
It was an extremely busy week in the capital. Both chambers considered hundreds of bills at the committee level in addition to considering legislation for final passage. Below are highlights of some of the action taken this week.
  • A House Committee approved legislation by a vote of 10-6 (HB4146 /Fine) which prevents the modification of a health insurance plan’s prescription drug formulary during a plan year if a drug has been previously approved for coverage, a prescriber continues to prescribe the drug and a patient continues to be an enrollee of a healthcare plan. The sponsor indicated that she would hold the bill in its current form and work on an amendment.
  • A Senate committee approved legislation, SB 2610(Clayborne), which amends the Motor Fuel Tax Law to provide that no municipality, county, or road district that received certain distributions totaling more than $1,000,000 in the previous State fiscal year can receive a future distribution of motor fuel tax moneys unless that municipality, county, or road district implements a business enterprise program setting goals for the inclusion of minority, veteran, and female-owned businesses in the procurement of contracts. The Department of Transportation is required to assist municipalities, counties, and road districts in implementing those programs. The sponsor agreed to hold the bill on second for further negotiations
  •  A House committee approved legislation, HB4100/Kifowit, to create the Health Care Violence Prevention Act to address violence against nursing staff. The bill now heads to the full House for consideration.
  • A House committee approved legislation, HB4819/Williams, to ask Internet service providers who contract with the state to disclose if they do not plan to follow net neutrality rules. With this legislation, Illinois is joining several states in an attempt to retain net neutrality protections prior to the federal repeal date in two weeks. Last month, Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined several colleagues across the country in a lawsuit against the FCC over their vote to repeal net neutrality. HB 4819 is now pending before the full House.
  • The Illinois Senate approved SJRCA4 which ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution, thirty-six years after the original deadline. The measure now moves to the House for consideration. The amendment’s fate in the House is unknown. Thirty-five of the required thirty-eight states approved the amendment by the June 30, 1982 deadline. There are differing opinions on the impact of the passage of this constitutional amendment in Illinois.
  • Senator Oberweis filed an amendment (SB 2807 (SFA 0001)) in the Illinois Senate to create the Right to Shop Act. The amendment requires a carrier offering a health plan to develop and implement a program that provides incentives for enrollees in a health plan who elect to receive a comparable health care service from a provider that collects less than the average in-network allowed amount paid by that carrier to a network provider for that comparable health care service. The amendment dictates how incentives may be calculated, distributed, and offered. Carriers are required to file a description of the health care service incentive program with the Department of Insurance and to establish an interactive mechanism on their website to enable an enrollee to request the estimated amount the carrier would pay to a network provider for a comparable health care service. The amendment requires the Director of Central Management Services to conduct an analysis on the cost effectiveness of implementing an incentive-based program for current enrollees and retirees of the State group health benefits plan. A program found to be cost effective must be implemented as part of the next open enrollment. The amendment is still pending in the Senate Assignments Committee.
  • Republicans in the House and Senate filed resolutions noting opposition to a graduated income tax. SR1590/Connelly and HR975/Durkin are both pending in their respective chamber’s Rules committee. Democratic Gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker announced he supports a progressive income tax.
  • Senator Syverson filed an amendment in the Illinois Senate SB 2573 (SCA 0002) to amend the Automatic Telephone Dialers Act. Specifically, the amendment redefines “recorded message” to mean any artificial or recorded communication that includes or introduces an advertisement or constitutes telemarketing without live voice interaction. The amendment prohibits an autodialer from providing inaccurate caller ID information. Under the amendment, it is a violation of the Act to play a recorded message (rather than a prerecorded message) placed by an autodialer without the (i) prior express written consent of the called party or (ii) the prior express written consent of the called party if the call is made by or on behalf of a tax-exempt nonprofit organization or is a call that delivers a health care message made by, or on behalf of, a covered entity or its business associate as those terms are defined in a specified provision of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The underlying bill is scheduled for a hearing before the Judiciary committee on April 17th at 4pm in Room 400 of the Capital.
2018 Key Session Dates:

 

April 27: Third Reading Deadline for bills in first chamber, both chambers
May 11: Senate Committee Deadline, House Bills
May 18: House Committee Deadline, Senate Bills
May 25: Third Reading Deadline for bills in second chamber, both chambers
May 31:   Adjournment