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ILSHRM Legislative Updates

    February 7, 2018

    Primary Elections Will Cause Slow Start to 2018 Session


    With the gubernatorial primary and an unusually large number of legislative primaries, (many in open seats), the initial few months of the legislative session should be fairly quiet. Already the House cancelled two days in January and will be meeting a total of 14 days before the March 20th primary elections. The Senate has 18 days scheduled between now and the primary elections. Once March 20th comes and goes however, we expect a flurry of activity on the budget and issues that raise greater political interest.


    To kick start 2018, The Governor delivers his State of the State message on January 31. He is likely to tout his accomplishments over the prior three years and continue to press that Illinois trails the rest of the country in economic growth. I suspect workers’ compensation reform and property tax relief will continue to be at the top of the list of things that need to get done.


    On February 14th, the Governor will present his budget proposal to the General Assembly. At this time, it is likely that the budget debate will be as contentious as it has been the past three years.


    April and May’s legislative calendar and debates will center on issues to advance the interests of the democrat nominee for Governor. Issues such as legalization of marijuana, progressive income tax, single payor healthcare to name a few.


    We also will likely see the issues that business fought and were vetoed last year by Governor Rauner resurrected and resent to him for his consideration.   They include:

    • Workers' compensation changes that increase costs for employers;
    • Increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour;
    • Limits on employers seeking wage, salary, benefit history; and
    • Expanding penalties for wage/hour violations, including debarment from contracting with the State.


    Many of these issues are used in campaign mailers for those lawmakers who voted for them explaining how much they support the middle class and union households. Lawmakers who vote against these measures are cast as supporting big business and the wealthy.


    We anticipate other problematic issues that will be pursued during the 2018 Session such as:

    • paid leave mandate;
    • creation of new wage hour prosecution unit at the Office of the Attorney General;
    • severe limits on call centers;
    •  mandating employers provide employee federal transportation benefits; and,
    • regulation of noncompete agreements.






    Employer 2018 Legislative Initiatives


    The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is working with Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the Illinois Human Rights Commission and other stakeholders to enact legislation to eliminate and prevent the unacceptable time frames for employment discrimination charges being investigated and adjudicated.


    The Biometric Information Privacy Act is being used by plaintiffs to extend liability for employers when the employer uses certain attendance, time-keeping data for internal purposes. Sen. Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst) and Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) are working with the employer community to clarify the focus of the Act on its original intent and specifically exclude human resources and internal security activities from the Act.


    Sen. Mike Connelly (R-Lisle) is leading efforts to counter legislation severely penalizing and enhancing legal remedies against employers for violation of the Equal Pay Act. Sen. Connelly is pressing for consideration of the Massachusetts model for compliance. Massachusetts uses incentives for employer compliance instead of other Illinois proposals that use the club of litigation and fines.


    The Illinois Chamber also is working with Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) on changes to Illinois’ workers’ compensation law to help employers reduce their premiums. Last year, lawmakers were very close to a bipartisan agreement that would have been helpful to improving the system for employers and injured workers. Rep. Unes is attempting to resurrect that effort with the Chamber’s assistance.