May 31, 2018 Update

The General Assembly adjourned the spring session well before the midnight deadline. It is the first time in several years that both chambers finished business early in the evening. The need to pass a full fiscal year’s budget prior to heading home to face voters in the November elections dominated the 2018 Spring Legislative Session. The past three years have been marked by political bickering between the first-term Republican Governor and the Democratically controlled General Assembly. Last summer, Illinois emerged from a record budget stalemate with the General Assembly passing a budget and an income tax increase over the Governor’s veto. Prior to that, the state operated without a budget for the two fiscal years.
For the first-time since the Governor took office, Governor Bruce Rauner and the four legislative caucuses reached a bipartisan agreement on the state budget prior to the May 31st adjournment deadline. The deal is the result of weeks of closed door negotiations between the four causes and the Governor’s Office. Legislators on both sides of the aisle praised the bipartisan process. Governor Rauner , who remained relatively quiet regarding budget talks, indicated today that the budget is a step in the right direction and he intends to quickly sign the budget into law.
The Fiscal Year 19 budget allocates $38.5 billion in General Revenue Funds and $80.26 billion All Funds, which represents funding for a full fiscal year. The budget deal also contains $1.5 billion in supplemental appropriations for Fiscal Year 18 which includes $402 million for the Department of Corrections to pay old bills, $442 million for HFS to process Medicaid vouchers-including vouchers associated with accelerated processing of pending long-term care applications, $63 million for union back pay and funding for all Court of Claims special awards. Lapse period spending for FY 18 is extended by one month. The FY 19 budget also includes $7.7 billion in new capital appropriations and $13.06 billion in re-appropriated capital projects. The budget contains a 5% cut to the Local Government Distributive Fund, which is down from the 10% cut recommend by the Governor. The new fiscal year begins July 1st.
The FY 19 budget represents an increase of $1.1 billion over FY 18. The budget relies on revenue from the income tax increase passed last year, $600 million in cuts, savings generated from pension changes, and the sale of the Thompson Center in Chicago. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been working collaboratively with the Governor’s office for weeks to craft what they called a “balanced” budget. The budget makes the mandatory pension payment and fully funds state employee group health insurance. Pension cost shifts were not included in the final budget, nor were any of Governor Rauner’s previous demands for term limits or reforms to property taxes, worker’s compensation or pensions. The budget also does not provide a way to pay down the state’s bill backlog which currently stands at nearly $7 billion. Three cost saving changes were made to the pension program. Inactive vested employees will be given a pension buyout option ($41 million savings), Tier 1 members who file an application to retire will be given a COLA buyout option ($382 million in savings), and the 6% salary rule will be lowered to 3% ($22 million savings). The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget is authorized to issue $1 billion in General Obligation bonds to fund the two buyouts.
The Human Services budget includes a six percent increase for the Department of Healthcare and Family Services and a one percent increase for the Department of Human Services. The budget includes a new pharmacy critical access rate and increases rates for ambulance services, Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Facilities, child care and TANF benefits. Adult dental is added into the Medicaid budget for next fiscal year. Wage increases for DSP workers are also funded in the FY 19 budget. Previous tax credits granted to for for-profit hospitals will be extended for five years. The budget also transfers $200 million GRF to the Healthcare Provider Relief Fund to assist Long-Term Care Facilities with their backlog of Medicaid determinations. The budget includes $53 million to address the needs of the Quincy Veteran’s Home.
Funding for Elementary and Secondary Education is increased by $400 million over FY 18. The budget includes $350 million in funding for the new evidenced based funding model for K – 12 education and includes a $50 million increase in funding for Early Childhood Education. Funding for higher education is increased $60 million over FY 18. Higher education institutions receive a two percent increase in funding, and MAP grants are extended to four years. The budget also allots $25 million to a new grant program, AIM HIGH, that will provide additional tuition assistance.
Funding for public safety remains relatively flat and reflects most of the Governor’s introduced budget. The budget includes funding for a new State Police cadet class and funds the two cadet classes from FY 18.
The FY 19 budget provides for $7.7 billion in new capital appropriations and $13.06 billion in re-appropriated capital projects. The new spending includes:
  • Transportation: $2.9 billion for FY 19 multi-year plan and other capital projects;
  • Capital Development Board: $1.7 billion for capital improvements on various state facilities;
  • Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity: $1.4 billion for grants to local communities for capital improvements;
  • EPA: $1.1 billion for grants to local communities for wastewater and drinking water projects;
  • DoIT: $400 million to implement the Governor’s information technology upgrades at state facilities;
  • State Board of Education: $81 million in school construction and maintenance grants;
  • Military Affairs: $55.5 million in construction and maintenance of National Guard facilities;
  • Architect of the Capital: $20 million for maintenance of the Capital building;
  • Public Health: $16.1 million for health-related capital projects;
  • SOS: $13.7 million for grants to local governments for construction and maintenance;
  • IEMA: $6.6 million for safety and security improvements; and
  • Agriculture: $2.6 million for improvements to the two state fair grounds.
As usual, the final days of the spring session were busy. A motion in the House to override the Governor’s veto of SB193(Raoul/Hoffman) failed by a vote of 67-49. The bill 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 Day and Temporary Labor Services Act, and the Wage Payment and Collection Act.   The bill is now dead.
Omnibus gaming legislation, SB7 (Link/Rita) was briefly revived at the end of session but quickly stalled. Gaming legislation from last year was assigned to committee and subsequently amended. The legislation failed in committee. The bill would authorize 6 new casinos in Chicago, the south suburbs, Lake County, Rockford, Danville, and unincorporated Williamson. The bill also authorizes video gaming at racetracks; and extends advance deposit wagering. The measure does not address fantasy sports betting, internet gaming or sports betting. The House sponsor indicated that he expects to address those industries and their regulations in the coming months. The sponsor plans to work on the bill over the summer and revisit the issue in the Fall Veto Session.
The General Assembly considered two wage history bills in the final days of session. HB 4163 (Moeller/Castro) passed out of the Senate 31-16-1.  This bill would prohibit employers from inquiring about salary and wage history by adding new standards that limit employer defenses and adding new compensatory and punitive damage penalties on businesses who are not compliant.  While the bill passed the Senate, the sponsor placed a procedural hold on the legislation preventing it from being sent to the Governor at this time. SB3100 (Bertino-Tarrant) passed the Illinois Senate.   This bill only prohibits the inquiry about or using of a job applicant’s wage, salary, and benefits history. It does not diminish employer defenses or enhance and expand legal remedies and fines as HB 4163 does.  SB 3100 now heads to the Illinois House for Consideration.
Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the United State Constitution with the passage of SJRCA4 by a vote of 72-45.
The Illinois House approved HB 4165 (G. Harris/Koehler) which requires legislative authority before the state can apply for any federal waiver that would reduce or eliminate any protection or coverage required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that was in effect on January 1, 2017, including, but not limited to, any protection for persons with pre-existing conditions and coverage for services identified as essential health benefits under the ACA. Critics of the legislation argue that the legislation reduces the state’s flexibility. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
The Illinois House narrowly approved HR1025 (Madigan), by a vote of 61-52, which supports the implementation of a progressive income tax in Illinois. The measure is non-binding. Any change to the state’s income tax structure would require the passage of a constitutional amendment. Passage of constitutional amendment requires a 3/5 vote of both the House and Senate and approval by voters.
The House approved SB 482 (J. Cullerton/Zalewski) which is jet fuel sourcing legislation that allocates the portion of the sales tax at issue, based on enplanements.   A new amendment was filed and adopted in the House. The Senate adjourned before considering the legislation.
The Illinois House considered SB1531 (Raoul/Greg Harris) which increases oversight of alternative retail electric and gas suppliers (ARES and ARGS). The legislation, which was requested by Attorney General Lisa Madigan, provides various consumer protections and increases transparency around rate pricing by requiring ARES and ARGS to include a “price-to-compare” utility supply rate on all marketing materials, during phone or door-to-door solicitations and on every customer’s utility bill. It also requires disclosure of price changes and prevents suppliers from automatically renewing a customer’s contract without the customer affirmatively opting-in to new terms. Suppliers will also be required to submit their rates to the ICC and the Attorney General’s Office quarterly. Additionally, the legislation seeks to protect public energy assistance funds by ensuring that LIHEAP and PIPP (Percentage of Income Payment Plan) funds do not go toward paying the higher prices for electric and gas supply that ARES and ARGS charge. Critics of the legislation argued that the recent rules enacted by JCAR need time to take effect and have an impact. The bill failed on the last day of session by a vote of 56-54-1. The sponsor put the bill on postponed consideration and the bill can be taken up at a later time.
Below is a listing of legislation that passed this week and will be heading to the Governor:
  • Worker’s Compensation: The Illinois General Assembly overwhelming approved a handful of changes to the worker’s compensation system, SB904(Hastings/Hoffman). The bill creates a new right of action to allow medical providers to file claims for interest due on late payments in Circuit Court. The amendment raises the interest rate on late payments from 1 to 2 percent prospectively and requires workers’ compensation insurers to use electronic billing, already in law. SB 904 now heads to the Governor’s desk.
  • State Employee Back Pay: The General Assembly approved HB4290 (Costello/Manar) which provides back pay to state employees.
  • Omnibus Insurance Legislation:  The Illinois General Assembly approved omnibus insurance legislation SB 1737 (Hoffman/Munoz). The comprehensive legislation includes the Allstate and CNA Guarantee Fund Bill, reinsurance collateral, limited plans, and a negotiated version of Worker’s Compensation Rate Review. SB 1737 now heads to the Governor’s desk.
  • Car-jacking: In the final days of session, the General Assembly made changes (HB 1804 J. Cullerton/Andrade) to a law that allows persons arrested for car -jacking to avoid accountability in court.  Both bills passed and are now headed to the Governor’s desk.
  • Medical Cannabis: The Illinois General Assembly approved SB 0336 (Harmon/Cassidy) which requires the Department of Public Health to establish the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program to allow the use of medical cannabis for persons diagnosed with a condition where an opioid has been or could be prescribed. The pilot program sunsets on July 1, 2020. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
  • Tobacco 21: A measure to raise the legal age to smoke from 18 to 21 years of age, SB2332 (Morrison/Lilly), narrowly passed by a vote of 61-49-1 in the Illinois House this week. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for consideration.
  • Gun Dealer Licensing: The General Assembly approved compromise legislation, SB337 (Harmon/Willis), to create the Gun Dealer Certification Act. The final bill was extensively negotiated and received bi-partisan support in both chambers. A motion to reconsider the vote was filed. Governor Rauner amendatorily vetoed previous versions of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. The sponsor filed trailer legislation on HB5913 (Willis). HB 5913 is currently pending in the House Rules Committee.
  • Firearm Restraining Order:The Illinois Senate approved HB2354 (Willis/Morrison) which creates the Firearms Restraining Order Act to provide a mechanism to confiscate firearms from persons who pose immediate danger to themselves or others. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
  • Firearm Waiting Period: The Illinois House approved legislation SB3256 (Sims/Carroll) which requires a 72-hour waiting period for delivery of all guns after purchase. SB 3256 passed both houses but the Senate sponsor placed a procedural hold on the bill to keep it from being sent to the Governor.
  • Omnibus Medicaid Legislation: The General Assembly approved legislation, SB1851 (Hunter/Greg Harris),which makes several changes to the Medicaid program. The bill creates a Healthcare Advisory Working Group to address transition of DCFS wards. The legislation also addresses ambulance industry payment concerns, increases rates for Medically Complex children and creates a new rate for psychiatric hospitals. The legislation guarantees for safety-net hospitals in the event that neither the new assessment, nor the bridge, are approved by July 1st. The amendments require the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to make monthly advances to safety-net hospitals in the full amount of their current total assessment payments.
  • PACE projects:The House approved (SB2773/Althoff/Lang) which amends the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act to provide that a unit of local government may sell or assign assessment contracts. The legislation clarifies that the term “energy efficiency improvement” includes energy efficiency projects as defined in the Illinois Finance Authority Act. The Term “energy project” includes new construction. The House also approved legislation (SB43 / Bertino-Tarrant) which amends the Illinois Finance Authority Act to add PACE projects to the list of projects under the Act. Both bills now head to the Governor’s desk.
  • Vendor Payment: Both chambers approved SB2858(Steans/Greg Harris), which authorizes the State Treasurer to invest in account receivables from state vendors awaiting payment for 90 days or longer and makes the State Treasurer a qualified purchaser under the Vendor Payment Program. The sponsor said the issue is still under negotiation and will be amended in the House. The sponsor indicated that this legislation would allow the state to pay down $1 billion in the state’s bill backlog and allows the state to earn $1 million in interest. SB 2858 now heads to the Governor’s desk.
  • Mental Health Parity: The General Assembly approved a bipartisan compromise, SB1707   (Raoul/Lang) , to further mental health parity in Illinois. The legislation makes several changes for persons with mental health and substance abuse needs including creating new definitions, implementing new tracking requirements for the Department of Insurance and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, data sharing with the General Assembly and removing barriers to treatment. SB 1707 now heads to the Governor’s desk.
This week, Governor Rauner announced a plan to spend $11 billion on Illinois’ roads and bridges over six years, including $2.2 billion in state and federal funding for fiscal 2019. The proposed 2019-2024 highway improvement program would improve 1,945 miles of road and 525 bridges maintained by the state, based on existing funding levels. The program also includes money for upgrades to more than 750 miles of local roads and 922,933 square feet of local bridges. More than 80 percent of that money is expected to come from the federal government. The six-year program calls for $1.34 billion in state funding, primarily from Illinois’ gas tax and vehicle registration fees.
WellCare Health Plans announced plans this week to acquire Medicaid insurer Meridian Health Plan for $2.5 billion. The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of the calendar year. The acquisition will increase WellCare’s Medicaid business. Meridian currently serves 1.1 million Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and health insurance marketplace members in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio; including 508,000 Medicaid members in Michigan and 565,000 Medicaid members in Illinois as of May 1. It also covers 27,000 Advantage members, and 6,000 Michigan health insurance exchange members. The merger will increase WellCare’s Medicaid membership of 4.3 million at the end of the first quarter by 40% and give the insurer the number one market share in six states. In addition, WellCare will add Meridian’s in-house pharmacy benefit manager, MeridianRx, to its portfolio.
Attention is expected to turn to the November elections. All constitutional offices, including the Governor, all 118 House seats and 39 of the 59 Senate seats are up for election in November. First-term Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is facing a challenge from billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker. The upcoming election is expected to be a bitter and expensive battle. The fall veto session dates were announced. Session will be November 13, 14, 15th and then November 27, 28 and 29th. Here is the Veto Session Calendar. As always, we will continue to keep you updated on any developments.

May 19, 2018 Update

The Illinois General Assembly stands adjourned until Monday, May 21st. Both chambers were in Session Tuesday through Friday of this week. Yesterday was the deadline to pass substantive Senate Bills out of House Committees. Deadline extensions are possible on some legislation still pending at the committee level. May 25th is the deadline to pass bills out of the second chamber. Roughly two weeks remain in the Spring Legislative Session.
Work continues on the development of the Fiscal Year 19 budget. A working group of legislators and budget staff continue to meet and work through the FY 19 budget. The four Legislative Leaders and the Governor met twice this week. There is still no agreement on the adoption of a formal revenue estimate for FY 19. The Governor and the Leaders reportedly discussed the possibility of a stand-alone capital bill including funding to build a new veteran’s home in Quincy. Democratic leaders expressed their reservations over the suggestion of a stand-alone capital bill. Legislators and the Governor have two weeks left in the Spring Session to develop a budget for the next fiscal year. After the May 31st deadline, it will take a 3/5ths vote in each chamber to approve the budget.
On Monday, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto to legislation requiring a 72-hour waiting period on the sale of assault weapons. The legislation, HB1468(Carroll/Morrison), passed the General Assembly in March. The Governor used the amendatory veto to outline what he called several “criminal justice reforms”. In his amendatory veto, Governor Rauner asked the Illinois General Assembly to reinstate the death penalty for mass murderers and those who kill law enforcement officers. The amendatory veto also extends the 72-hour waiting period for delivery of all gun purchases in Illinois. The veto further bans bump stocks and trigger cranks and authorizes restraining orders to disarm dangerous individuals. In addition, the veto requires judges and prosecutors to explain why charges are reduced in plea agreements for violent offenders in gun cases and allows for local revenue to be used to hire resource officers and mental health workers to help intervene and prevent student violence. HB 1468 has been referred back to the House for consideration. Based on past practices, it is likely the House will rule the Amendatory Veto out of compliance in which case no further action will be taken on the measure.
On Thursday, Representative Carroll filed the contents of the Governor’s Amendatory Veto to HB 1468 as an amendment to SB2580 . That amendment was assigned directly to the House Floor. The House Judiciary Criminal Committee has scheduled a subject matter hearing on both the veto and the floor amendment for Monday, May 21st at 2pm in Room 114 of the Capitol.
The Illinois Senate approved new Gun Dealer Licensing legislation, SB337 /Harmon, this week by a vote of 35-18-2. The measure is called the Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking Act. The bill contains three parts. First the bill incorporates the Gun Dealer Licensing Act recently vetoed by the Governor with specific changes that the sponsor characterizes as simplifying the structure without compromising safety. The bill also includes provisions that allow for better recording and tracking of private gun sales. Finally, the bill creates the Gun Trafficking Act and requires the State Police to make certain information available about guns used in crimes. The bill now heads to the House for consideration. The sponsor indicated that additional changes may be made as the bill progresses through the House.
This week, the United States Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on state-sanctioned sports betting thus allowing state’s the ability to regulate the action.   Legislation to legalize sports betting in Illinois, SB3432 , was reassigned this week to the Senate Gaming Committee and granted a May 31st deadline extension. A hearing on the bill is not scheduled at this time.
Governor Rauner filed a new Executive Order this week (EO18-07) to address minority contracting with the State of Illinois. The executive order will create a Commission charged with issuing regularly proposed solutions to systemic causes in minority, including African-American, participation in state procurements. The Commission will review, on a quarterly basis, state agency performance as it relates to African American businesses. Report results will be reported to the African American-owned business community.
In other legislative news:
  • A House Committee approved legislation (SB2332Morrison/Lilly) by a vote of 3 – 1 which would raise the age to purchase tobacco products to the age of 21. The heads to the full House for consideration.
  • A Senate Committee will hold a hearing on May 22nd at 10 am in Room 400 of the Capital to discuss HB4595(Fine/Biss) which creates a state-run worker’s compensation insurance company. The measure, which was scheduled for a hearing this week, was postponed in committee until next week.
  • The House extended the deadline on HB68 (Lang) which would create a private right of action for patients, providers and other advocacy organizations to sue health plans for mental health parity. HB 68 is now on 2nd Reading in the House. An additional amendment was filed and moved directly to the House floor. The amendment has not been adopted at this time.
  • The Senate Human Services Committee is scheduled next week to debate HB3479 (Feigenholtz/Manar) which requires a managed care community network that contracts with the Department of Health Care and Family Services to establish, maintain, and provide a fair and reasonable reimbursement rate to pharmacy providers for pharmaceutical services, prescription drugs and drug products, and pharmacy or pharmacist provided services. HB 3479 will be debated on May 22nd at 10 am in Room 409. The bill, which was scheduled for a hearing this week, was postponed in committee until next week.
  • Representative Hoffman filed amendments ( SB 0904) to the Worker’s Compensation Act to make changes regarding fees and electronic claims. House Amendment 1 is assigned for a hearing in the House Labor Committee on May 23rd at 10am in Room 114. House amendment 2 remains in the House Rules Committee at this time. House Amendment 1:
    • (1) Requires a provider to bill an employer or its designee directly;
    • (2) Provides that the employer or the insurer must send to the provider an explanation of benefits;
    • (3) Requires employers and insurers to pay interest to providers at the rate of 2% per month if bills are not paid promptly;
    • (4) Requires the Director of Insurance to adopt rules to ensure that providers have the opportunity to comply with requests for records by employers and insurers; and
    • (5) Imposes penalties upon employers and insurers that fail to comply with the electronic claims process.
  • A House committee approved legislation (SB43 / Bertino-Tarrant) which amends the Illinois Finance Authority Act to add PACE projects to the list of projects under the Act. SB 43 now heads to the full House for consideration.
  • A House Committee approved (SB2773 /Althoff) which amends the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act to provide that a unit of local government may sell or assign assessment contracts. The legislation clarifies that the term “energy efficiency improvement” includes energy efficiency projects as defined in the Illinois Finance Authority Act. The Term “energy project” includes new construction. SB 2773 now heads to the full House for consideration.
  • A Senate Committee defeated (HB4081 Halpin/Bennett) which creates the call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act to mandate that an employer must notify the state if they intend to move the call center our of Illinois. HB 4081 is rescheduled for a hearing in the Senate Telecommunications Committee on May 23rd at 11 am in room 212 of the Capital.
  • A House committee approved along partisan lines 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. 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. The House sponsor indicated that he is not yet prepared to call the measure for a final vote because it lacks the 3/5ths votes necessary for passage.
  • The Senate overrode the Governor’s veto of SB193(Raoul/Hoffman) which 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 Day and Temporary Labor Services Act, and the Wage Payment and Collection Act.   The bill now heads to the House for consideration of the Governor’s veto. The Senate sponsor pledged to move a trailer bill that will allow the Department of Labor to serve on a Task Force as requested by the Governor’s Veto.
  • This week, Senator Raoul filed a second amendment to SB575 , the Keep Internet Devices Safe Act. The amendment provides that no private entity may turn on or enable, cause to be turned on or enabled, or otherwise use a digital device’s microphone to listen for or collect information, including spoken words or other audible or inaudible sounds, unless a user first agrees to a written policy meeting. Under the amendment, a private entity that collects, stores, or transmits any information collected through a digital device’s microphone concerning an Illinois resident must implement and maintain reasonable security measures to protect such information from unauthorized access, acquisition, destruction, use, modification, and disclosure. The amendment has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. It is not yet scheduled for hearing.
2018 Key Session Dates:
May 25: Third Reading Deadline for bills in second chamber, both chambers
May 31:   Adjournment

May 12, 2018 Update

The Illinois General Assembly adjourned for the week on Thursday. The House and Senate canceled Friday’s scheduled session. Both chambers will return to session on Tuesday, May 15th at noon. Friday, May 11th was the deadline to pass House Bills out of Senate Committees. Once again, deadline extensions are possible on House Bills pending in Senate Committees.  May 18th is the deadline to pass substantive Senate Bills out of House Committee. Three weeks remain in the Spring Legislative Session.

 

Work continues on the development of the Fiscal Year 19 budget. The Governor and the four legislative leaders met Tuesday to discuss the budget. Afterwards, Governor Rauner expressed his disappointment with the Democratic Leadership for not formally adopting or agreeing to an estimated amount of revenue available to spend in the next fiscal year. The Governor accused the Democrats of “slow walking” the budget process. Senate President Cullerton responded that he would like the Legislature and the Governor to not be locked into a specific dollar amount and rather have the budgetary flexibility to exceed the projected amount of available revenue through the use of funds sweeps and other budgetary maneuvers if necessary. Later in the week, Senate Democrats called on Rauner to introduce the cost-saving measures he proposed in his FY 19 budget. Legislation to implement the cost savings has not yet been filed.

 

Legislators and staff tasked with working on the FY 19 budget reached a deadlock on two key issues, the FY 18 supplemental appropriation and the FY 19 revenue estimate. The working group asked the Leaders and the Governor to find a resolution.
In other budget news, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability announced that revenue for this fiscal year, which ends June 30th, is expected to increase by $535 million more than previously expected. Federal money is projected to increase by an unexpected $360 million and income tax receipts are project to increase $200 million.
This week, Illinois received a Medicaid waiver to implement the Better Care Illinois Behavioral Health Initiative. The $2 billion behavioral health initiative is designed to deliver better outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries suffering from mental health and substance abuse disorders. Beginning July 1, 2018, Illinois will begin investing $2 billion of federal funds in 10 pilot projects in an effort to demonstrate better care alternatives and outcomes. The pilots will feature newly created delivery systems designed to improve care, increase the value of patient experiences, and produce better outcomes. The waiver’s goal is to get patients continual care rather than having them use more expensive emergency room or institutional treatment. The waiver runs up to five years and can be renewed or changed.
In other legislative news:
  • Legislation to create a state worker’s compensation fund, HB4595 (Fine), was postponed in the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill has not yet received a deadline extension, however, an extension can be granted at any time.
  • A Senate committee approved legislation, HB4572(Guzzardi), which applies the Human Rights Act to businesses with one employee (currently 15 or more employees). The bill is now pending before the full Senate.
  • Legislation to create the Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, HB4081 (Halpin), was assigned to the Senate Telecommunications committee this week. Under the bill, employers are required to notify the state if they intend to move a call center out of Illinois. A hearing is not yet scheduled for the bill. Once again, this bill has not yet received a deadline extension, however one could be granted at any time.
  • Legislation to create the Keep Internet Devices Safe Act, SB575 (Roul) received an extended deadline this week. The bill, which is currently a shell bill, is now pending before the full Senate. The amendment, which has not yet been adopted, prohibits any private entity from turning on or enabling a digital device’s microphone to listen for or collect information unless the user agrees to a written policy.
2018 Key Session Dates:

 

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

May 6, 2018 Update

The Illinois Senate adjourned session for the week last Thursday. The Senate spent the week considering legislation at both the committee level and final passage. The House was not in session last week. Both chambers return to session on Tuesday, May 8th. May 11th is the deadline to pass substantive House Bills out of Senate committees. Four weeks remain in the Spring Legislative Session.
An amendment to create the Gun Dealer Licensing Bill was adopted this week in the Senate (SB337 / Harmon). The sponsor indicated that he is not prepared to call the bill on 3rd Reading at this time.
The Senate approved trailer legislation to the Trust Act passed last year (SB35 / Harmon ). The bill creates safe zones in which immigration enforcement is limited. The measure requires the Attorney General to create a model policy by April 1, 2019, on limiting assistance with immigration enforcement to the fullest extent permissible at locations including state-funded schools, state-funded medical treatment and health care facilities, public libraries, facilities operated by the secretary of state and state courts. The sponsor indicated that the bill was intended to address concerns raised by the law enforcement community. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
The Senate approved legislation to authorize drone us at large public events (SB2562 /Sandoval). The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
The Illinois Senate unanimously approved legislation (SB2339/Munoz-Costello) to close a loophole that allows persons arrested for car -jacking to avoid accountability in court. SB 2339 allows “knowledge” that a vehicle is stolen to be inferred from surrounding facts and circumstances, which would lead a reasonable person to believe that the vehicle was stolen. The legislation also creates a new process to deal with minors held for carjacking or possession of a stolen motor vehicle. The change would require minors charged with those crimes to be evaluated and given access to counseling and other recommended services. The bill now heads to the House where its fate is uncertain.
The Illinois Senate narrowly approved legislation (SB2213/Biss) which would require that Illinois environmental laws and regulations, as well as workplace safety laws, remain as strict or more stringent than federal laws in place before January 19, 2017. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
A House committee held a subject matter hearing on a resolution expressing support for a progressive income tax, HR1025 /Madigan. No vote was taken on the matter.  Republicans have introduced a similar resolution opposing a progressive income tax, SR1590 /Connelly and HR975/Durkin. Changing Illinois’ income tax structure requires voter approval of a constitutional amendment. A constitutional amendment to make this change will not meet the deadline requirements to be placed on the November 2018 ballot. Therefore, the soonest such a change could be put before voters is November 2020. Democratic Gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker supports a progressive income tax. If he wins in November, it is likely discussions will continue on this issue.
2018 Key Session Dates:
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

April 28, 2018 Update

The Illinois General Assembly stands adjourned for the week. Friday, April 27th, was the deadline to pass substantive legislation out of its first chamber. The Senate granted deadline extensions on 285 bills pending in that chamber. House deadline extensions have not yet been issued but are likely on some of the House Bills that are still pending in that chamber.
The Senate will return to session at noon on Tuesday, May 1st. The Illinois House is not scheduled for session next week and will return to session on Tuesday, May 8th. It was a busy week this week in the Capital with 180 bills passing the House and 232 bills passing the Senate. This legislation will head to the opposite chamber for consideration. Roughly five weeks remain in the spring legislative session.
Work on crafting the FY 19 budget continues. Committees in both the House and the Senate continue to review agency level budget requests and needs for the current and upcoming fiscal years. Negotiators from the four legislative caucuses and the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget continue to meet and discuss a Fiscal Year 18 supplemental appropriation as well as the development of the Fiscal Year 19 budget. Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Illinois Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) filed resolutions today to adopt a revenue estimate in order to begin the budgeting process for fiscal year 2019. The identical resolutions, HJR124 and SJR69, adopt a revenue estimate of $37.672 billion for fiscal year 2019, based on the estimate provided by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability . There is still no bipartisan agreement on available revenue for the FY 19 budget.
Senator Harmon did not call his motion to override Governor Rauner’s veto of the Gun Dealer Licensing bill (SB1657 ). Wednesday was the deadline in the Senate to consider the motion to override. SB 1657 is now dead. Negotiations on the issue are ongoing and legislation to create the Gun Dealer Licensing Act was filed late Wednesday as floor amendment 2 to SB 0337 (Harmon) . No action was taken on the amendment this week.
Comptroller Mendoza issued a report this week indicating that Illinois has spent more in the last two years on late payment charges than it had in the previous 18 years. According to the report, Illinois has accumulated $1.14 billion in late fees since mid-2015 which is $100 million more than in the previous 18 years combined. Illinois is required to pay 12 percent annual interest on bills not paid within 90 days. The backlog grew to $16 billion last summer after a two-year budget stalemate between first-term Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and the Democratically-controlled General Assembly.
Vendors who were negatively impacted by the late payments over the past two years have been able to participate in the state’s Vendor Payment Program (VPP). This week the Illinois Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation (SB3560 /Aquino ) designed to bring transparency to the VPP. This program was created to assist vendors who do business with the state of Illinois who are struggling financially due to delayed payments from the state. Under the program, the qualified lenders pay the vendor a portion of the state’s unpaid bill up front. In exchange the lenders receive the late payment interest penalties when they are ultimately paid by the state. The program is not codified in statue. Comptroller Mendoza, who is pushing the legislation, says “The lenders play an important role in keeping vendors afloat but little information is made public in terms of how much state debt is purchased through the VPP and there is currently no disclosure of who is financially backing the qualified purchasers.” The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
The Illinois Senate approved legislation, SB2858 /Steans, which authorizes the State Treasurer to invest in account receivables from state vendors awaiting payment for 90 days or longer and makes the State Treasurer a qualified purchaser under the Vendor Payment Program. The sponsor said the issue is still under negotiation and will be amended in the House. SB 2858 now heads to the House for consideration.
An amendment was filed to SB 575 (Raoul) which creates the Keep Internet Devices Safe Act. The amendment would prohibit any private entity from turning on or enabling a digital device’s microphone to listen for or collect information, such as, spoken words or other audible or inaudible sounds, unless the user agrees to a written policy made available to the public.  The amendment was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it remains at this time. The sponsor indicated that he will ask for a deadline extension.
Legislation was filed this week in the General Assembly in response to the Tennessee Waffle House shooting. Senator Julie Morrison filed an amendment to SB2387 which would require a FOID card holder sign an affidavit if weapons are transferred to them. Specifically, the amendment provides that a Firearm Disposition Record form shall be filed with both the Department of State Police and the circuit court located in the county in which the transferor resides. Under the amendment,the recipient of any firearm transferred by way of a Firearm Disposition Record form shall file with the circuit court in which they reside along with the Department of State Police a sworn affidavit attesting that the person: (1) is aware of, and will abide by the current law regarding the unlawful transfer of a firearm; (2) is aware of the penalties for violating the law as it pertains to unlawful transfer of a firearm; (3) intends to retain possession of the firearm until it is determined that the transferor is capable of possessing the firearm, or until a new person is chosen to hold the firearm; and (4) informs the Department and the circuit court of any address or name changes that occur while the person possesses the firearm. The amendment is currently in the Senate Assignments committee and has not yet received a hearing.
Representative Willis filed an amendment to her legislation, HB 2354 (HFA 0001), to create the Firearms Restraining Order Act. The legislation provides that a petitioner may request an emergency firearm restraining order by filing an affidavit or verified pleading alleging that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to himself, herself, or another by having in his or her custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm. The legislation further establishes factors that the court must consider before issuing a firearm restraining order and establishes factors for renewing and terminating firearms restraining orders. HB 2354 remains in the House Rules Committee and has not yet received a hearing.
The Senate approved a ban on bump stocks this week, SB2343/Raoul. The bill prohibits, beginning 90 days after the effective date of the bill, the knowing sale, manufacture, purchase, possession, or carrying of a bump stock or trigger crank. The bill heads to the House for consideration.
The Net Neutrality legislation was not called for a vote this week. HB 4819 (Williams) creates the Broadband Procurement and Disclosure Act which prohibits the state from awarding any contract to an Internet service provider that includes broadband service unless the contract provides specified terms concerning access to and impairment of Internet services.  HB 4819 is currently on 2nd Reading in the House.
The Illinois House considered legislation, HB 4747 (D. Harris), to create the Digital Fair Repair Act. The bill provides that original equipment manufacturers make available to any independent repair provider or owner of equipment manufactured by the original equipment manufacturer the same diagnostic and repair documentation in the same manner as that information is made available to the manufacturer’s authorized repair.  HB 4747 is currently on 2nd Reading in the House. The sponsor indicated that he would not move the bill this session.
Data breach legislation remains in a Senate committee at this time. SB 3007 (Raoul) Provides that any single data breech that effect more than 100 Illinois residences must be reported to the Attorney General within 14 days. SB 3007 is currently assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill’s committee deadline was extended until April 27th. It is possible that this deadline could be further extended.
Legislation to raise the legal age to smoke from 18 to 21 years of age (2332 /Morrison) passed the Senate by a vote of 35-20. SB 2332 now heads to the House for consideration.
Legislation to create a state worker’s compensation fund (HB4595 /Fine) narrowly passed the House by a vote of 62-43. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
The Senate approved a constitutional amendment, SJRCA21(Tom Cullerton) that would cap growth in government spending at the rate of growth in Illinois’ economy, as measured by the average annual growth of per capita GDP over the preceding 10 years. The constitutional amendment now heads to the House for consideration.
Speaker Madigan filed a resolution this week indicating support for a progressive income tax (HR1025). This resolution is scheduled for a hearing May2nd at 2:30 pm in the Bilandic Building in Chicago. As you will recall, Republicans in the House and Senate filed resolutions recently 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.
2018 Key Session Dates:

 

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