November 10, 2017

The Illinois General Assembly adjourned its second week of the two-week Fall Veto Session.  The House adjourned until Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at noon and the Senate adjourned until Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at noon.  I have included a listing of important dates for your information.  In addition here is a link to the 2018 Senate session schedule and the 2018 House session schedule.
During the two-week 2017 Fall Veto Session, the Illinois Legislature overrode 11 of the Governor’s vetoes (10 total veto overrides and 1 amendatory veto override).   In total for the calendar year, the General Assembly overrode 15 of 39 total vetoes and 3 out of 10 amendatory vetoes.
A motion to override the Governor’s total veto of SB1905  (Moylan/Silverstein) failed again this week in the House by one vote.  During the previous week of veto session, a motion to override the Governor’s veto on this same bill also failed by one vote.  The bill itself would prohibit any unit of local government from enacting a local right to work zone.  Both chambers overwhelmingly approved a trailer bill, SB770(Holmes/Moylan) which would remove the criminal penalties from SB 1905 should it become law.
The Illinois Senate failed by six votes (29-17-1) to override the Governor’s veto of HB2462 (Moeller/Biss) which prohibits employers from asking for prior wage information during the hiring process.
2017 Fall Veto Session Overrides:
The following is a summary of the 2017 veto session overrides. All of these bills will become law upon certification by the Senate President and Speaker of the House.
The Illinois Senate voted 38-16 to override the Governor’s Amendatory Veto of HB302 (Martwick/Collins) which would require life insurers to search their records for unpaid death benefits dating back to 2000.  The bill is an initiative of the State Treasurer.
The Illinois Senate voted 54-0 to override the Governor’s veto of HB688 (Zalewski/Cunningham) which allows firefighters to transfer credit to the Chicago fund in certain situations.
The Illinois Senate voted 40-13 to override the Governor’s veto of HB732 (D. Burke/Martinez) which limits new roofing work to licensed workers only.
The Illinois Senate voted 39-8 to override the Governor’s veto of HB1797 (Davis/Trotter) which forgives the port authority’s repayment of a state loan.
The Illinois Senate voted 50-2 to override the Governor’s veto of HB2778 (Willis/Jones) which addresses fire protection annexation.
The Illinois Senate voted 42-12 to override the Governor’s veto of HB2977 (Welch/Lightford) which mandates the teaching of cursive writing in Illinois schools.
The Illinois Senate  voted 37-16-1 to override the Governor’s veto of HB3143 (Gabel/Hunter) which adds youth services organizations to the Prompt Pay Act.
The Illinois Senate unanimously voted 53-0 to override the Governor’s veto of HB3298 (Scherer/Manar) which addresses the substitute teacher shortage in Illinois.
The Illinois Senate voted 39-12 to override the Governor’s veto of HB3419 (Andrade/Martinez) which prohibits the state from doing business with expatriate entities.
The Illinois Senate voted 52-3 to override the Governor’s veto of the Debt Transparency Act, HB3649  (Crespo/Manar).  The bill requires all state agencies to report to the Comptroller the dollar amount of any bills that they receive and to indicate whether funding has been committed to pay off the obligations. The bill is an initiative of Comptroller Susana Mendoza.
Both chambers voted this week to override legislation (SB1714Claybborne/Turner ) which requires a consultant to annually disclose to the board of the retirement system, board of the pension fund, or the investment board that retains the consultant certain information concerning searches for investment services from minority owned businesses, female owned businesses, and businesses owned by persons with a disability.
Ethics Reform:
The Illinois General Assembly unanimously approved a series of ethics reforms this week. Both chambers created task forces (HR687 Currie and SR1076 Bush ) targeting sexual harassment and gender discrimination.   Two additional resolutions (HJR83Feignholtz/Hutchinson and HJR86  Thapedi/Collins) were approved which urge those in government to commit to working to change the culture that breeds sexual harassment and racism respectively. The General Assembly also approved legislation (HB137 Turner/J. Cullerton) to extend the statute of limitations for the 27 complaints filed between December 1, 2014 and November 3, 2107 with Office of the Legislative Inspector General during the time period that the office was vacant.
Both chambers also approved legislation (SB402 J. Cullerton/Madigan ) which prohibits sexual harassment by statewide elected officials, lawmakers, state employees and lobbyists. The bill empowers inspectors general to investigate allegations of sexual harassment and imposes fines of up to $5,000 for each verified instance of harassment. The legislation also requires annual sexual harassment training and details how cases can be reported. The bill also requires local governments to adopt anti-harassment policies. Finally, the bill creates a hotline run by the Department of Human Rights to provide information about sexual harassment in both public and private places of employment and how to file a complaint and the availability of counseling.  The bill now heads to the Governor’s Desk.
Additional Legislation:
The Illinois House voted 75-32 to approve property tax freeze legislation,  SB851 (J. Cullerton/Mussman). The bill enacts a two-year property tax freeze on Cook and the collar counties with the remaining counties authorized to implement a similar freeze with voter approval at the 2018 November election.  Some financially distressed school districts are exempt from the freeze.  SB 851 also increases the general homestead and senior citizens homestead exemptions to $10,000 and $8,000, respectively, for counties other than Cook. This would bring all counties up to the Cook County exemption levels established under Senate Bill 473, which took effect in August.  SB 851 is now back in the Senate on the order of concurrence. The Senate did not take up this measure before adjourning.
The Illinois General Assembly approved legislation  to create the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act, SB1451   (Link/K. Burke) The bill would allow for the deployment of small cell technology to bring 5G wireless technology to Illinois consumers. The latest amendment to the legislation was the result of negotiations between telecommunication representatives and local government advocates.  The amendment includes several changes to the underlying bill including establishing procedures to resolve location and transmission issues and changes to permit fees.  The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
The House Revenue Committee approved an amendment to SB482  (J. Cullerton/Zalewski) which would modify the sales tax sourcing of jet fuel to comply with a federal mandate that certain sales taxes imposed on jet fuel may only be used for airport purposes.  The bill is now pending before the full House.
The General Assembly overwhelmingly approved legislation, SB772 (Bush/Zalewski) , which requires a check of the Prescription Monitoring Program before prescribing opioids.  The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
Committees in the Illinois House and Senate held a joint subject matter hearing on Dynegy’s recently introduced legislation (SB2250 (Clayborne) and HB4141 (ChapaLaVia).  Both bills modify how capacity auctions are performed in the MISO Zone 4 energy market.  The bill would authorize the Illinois Power Agency, with review and approval of the ICC, to conduct an Illinois-specific market-based capacity procurement process for downstate Illinois. Supporters of the legislation say it is necessary because its coal-fired power plants cannot compete with nuclear power plants after Illinois’ recent subsidy law took effect.
Other News:
Illinois Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza announced Wednesday that she is using proceeds from Illinois’ recent General Obligation bond sale to begin paying down part of the state’s current $16.7 billion bill backlog.  According to Mendoza, she will initially prioritize those bills eligible for federal matching funds to maximize the revenues available from the $6 billion bond sale. In total, the Office of the Comptroller expects to receive about $6.48 billion in bond proceeds, including a $480 million premium from the sale on top of the $6 billion initially offered. About $2.5 billion will be spent immediately on unpaid medical bills. Nearly $4 billion will be used to pay down unpaid state health insurance claims owed to medical providers in the coming days. Over the next several weeks, an additional $2 billion in federal matching funds will be applied to state medical bills.
A Fifth District Appellate Court ruled this week that the Rauner administration violated state law when it stopped awarding step increases to eligible state employees in 2015 when a contract with AFSCME expired. The decision reverses the Illinois Labor Relations Board’s dismissal of AFSCME’s charge that the administration committed an unfair labor practice by preventing step progression through the pay plan.  The Court sent the issue back to the Illinois Labor Relations Board for further consideration.
Illinois will be moving to a new open data management platform designed to bring a more functional and straightforward system which is projected to result in a $1.2 million savings over 5 years. More information on the new data management system is here.
A bipartisan group of female Senators announced the formation of a Woman’s Caucus in that chamber.  The Caucus provides a format to formalize the process of female Senator’s working collaboratively in a bipartisan fashion.  The caucus is being formed to promote and advance women’s issues within the legislature and to support female senators from both political parties.
Looking ahead, the 2018 Spring legislative session will be overshadowed by continued fiscal challenges and the upcoming 2018 General Election.  All constitutional officers, including first-term Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, will be up for election in November.  All the current Constitutional Officers are seeking reelection in 2018 except Attorney General Lisa Madigan who is not running for another term. In the Legislature, all 118 House seats will be up for election as well as 39 of the 59 state Senate seats.  The candidate filing deadline is December 4, 2017.  The primary election is March 20, 2018 and the General Election is November 6, 2018.