The Governor concluded action on all bills sent to him during the 2014 legislative session, approving more than 100 measures and vetoing bills that would have established regulations for ridesharing companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar and brought uniformity to speed limits on Interstates and toll highways.
Among the more notable measures signed were bills granting protections to pregnant workers, legislation aimed at managing the reintroduction of large predators in the state and several measures affecting crime and courts.
Patronage Scandal Grows
Also, in recent days, the Governor’s office has come under heavy fire for a growing patronage controversy within the Illinois Department of Transportation.
The patronage issue has been festering for months, after a prominent anti-patronage attorney filed a motion in federal court in April alleging that the Blagojevich and Quinn administrations violated a federal court order by classifying workers as exempt from anti-patronage rules, even though the work they were doing did not qualify for the exemptions.
In August the Office of the Executive Inspector General issued a highly critical report, which essentially confirmed the claims in the federal court filing, saying the Department of Transportation consistently used job titles exempt from patronage regulations to hire politically connected persons and place them in jobs doing work that should have fallen under civil service rules.
Although Governor Quinn claimed his office was not involved in the patronage hiring, that has been disputed by former Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider who said “the vast majority” of improper political hires were referred to the agency by the Governor’s office. Most recently, Quinn’s Deputy Chief of Staff who oversaw the Department of Transportation for the Governor and also oversaw hiring of senior officials in exempt positions within the agency resigned, effective at the end of August.
Vetoed Bills – Ridesharing
The Governor finished out action on legislation by issuing controversial vetoes on two subjects – ridesharing and speed limits.
On the ridesharing issue, vetoes were issued on two bills, HB 4075 and HB 5331. Both dealt with the competition between traditional taxi companies and new startups, like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, which offer rides to customers who connect through smart phone applications.
House Bill 4075 imposed new statewide regulations on the companies. Proponents argued that the requirements were needed to assure customer safety by establishing insurance requirements and banning agreements that exempt the companies from liability.
Opponents argued that the legislation was a thinly-veiled effort by traditional taxi companies to protect their business and shut out competition from the ridesharing companies.
While the original measure imposed greater restrictions on drivers who worked more than 18 hours a week, the companion bill, HB 5331, allowed drivers to “bank” that time, so that they could work more hours during weeks when special events occurred without triggering the higher restrictions.
Speed Limit Veto
Also vetoed was SB 2015, a follow up measure to legislation which raised the speed limit on Interstate highways in Illinois to 70 mph in January, which is consistent with most other states, including almost all Midwestern states.
Senate Bill 2015 would have brought the state’s Toll Highway system in the Chicago region up to the same 70 mph standard.
In vetoing the measure, the Governor argued that studies show more than 90 percent of tollway drivers exceed the speed limit by 11-15 miles per hour during non-rush hour times. However, proponents of the increase, said that the statistics cited by the Governor actually make the case that the existing speed limit is too low and said it would make more sense to bring the speed limit up to a more reasonable level and enforce that higher speed limit.
House Bill 8, which passed the General Assembly unanimously, would require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for all working pregnant women unless the accommodation imposes an undue hardship on the business.
Those accommodations would include breaks for increased water intake, bathroom breaks and breaks for periodic rest. Temporary transfer to less strenuous or hazardous position if available, appropriate adjustment or modifications of exams, training materials or policies, private non-restroom space for expressing breast milk and breastfeeding, and acquisition or modification of equipment if reasonable.
While pregnant employees can request a transfer to another job assignment, employers are not required to create additional employment that they would not otherwise have created.
Wolves, Bears, Cougars
In recent years, Gray Wolves, American Black Bears and Cougars once native to Illinois have begun to return to the state in limited numbers. In an effort to better manage their reintroduction, SB 3049 adds the three predators to the list of protected species in Illinois, while spelling out conditions that allow landowners to kill the animals if they are causing an immediate threat of physical harm or death to a person, livestock, domestic animals, or harm to structures or other property.
A number of bills signed into law would have an impact on criminal offenses and the courts. Among these was a measure (HB 3744) that would give judges greater flexibility to order electronic monitoring in domestic violence cases, even if an order of protection has not been issued.
Another bill would provide an exemption from prosecution for soliciting a sex act, if the person is under 18. Senate Bill 3558 is part of an ongoing effort to address sex trafficking involving minors and treat young persons forced into prostitution as victims.
In an effort to reduce misidentification in police lineups, HB 802 would require new procedures, including preventing the person administering the lineup from knowing the identity of the suspect and prohibiting anyone who knows the suspected perpetrators identity from participating in the lineup, aside from the witness and the defendants’ counsel.
The use of ignition interlock devices that test a person’s breath alcohol before a car can be started, would be expanded under HB 4304 to include cases where the person did not injure anyone other than themselves in the accident that prompted the restriction.
And in order to help prevent financial or other abuse of the disabled, SB 3538 would add to the false impersonation statute, anyone who knowingly and falsely represents themselves as the legal guardian of a disabled person.
Full List of Legislation Recently Signed into Law
Electronic Monitoring (HB 3744/PA 98-1012): Allows a judge to order as a condition of bail a risk assessment evaluation and consider electronic monitoring (GPS) of a person charged with certain violent crimes, regardless of whether an order of protection had been issued. This bill was introduced in response to a 2013 case where a woman was murdered by her former boyfriend, who she had filed an order of protection against. The order of protection expired, and the victim filed to have it renewed. She was killed three days after the order expired.
Sex Trafficking (SB 3558/PA 98-1013): Provides that solicitation of a sexual act does not apply to a person under the age of 18. Directs a portion of a fee for an impounded vehicle to the Specialized Services for Survivors of Human Trafficking Fund. Modifies the allocation percentages of moneys and sale proceeds forfeited by individuals convicted of involuntary servitude and trafficking of persons.
Photo Lineups (HB 802/PA 98-1014): Creates a new lineup procedure that requires all lineups be conducted by 1. An independent administrator (unless it is impractical); 2. An automated computer program; 3. A random folder photo lineup method; or 4. Any other procedure that does not allow the lineup administrator to know the identity of the suspect.
Allows a lineup of persons or a photo spread lineup to be presented to witnesses sequentially, with each presented separately and then removed before the next person or photo is viewed or presented to witnesses. Requires each law enforcement agency to establish written guidelines on when an officer should present persons or photographs to an eyewitness simultaneously or sequentially.
Prohibits the presence during a lineup of any person who knows the suspected perpetrator's identity, except the eyewitness and defense counsel. Provides instructions to the eyewitness to whom the identification procedure is presented. Provides remedies for failure to comply with lineup identification procedures. Requires a lineup to be video recorded, if practical, unless the eyewitness refuses to consent to the recording.
DUI Monitoring Device (HB 4304PPA 98-1015): Provides that individuals who only injure themselves as a result of driving under the influence are still eligible to receive a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (“MDDP”). A MDDP allows the individual to continue to drive with the use of a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device.
Court Fees (HB 4534/PA 98-1016): Creates an additional fee in counties that impose a fee for automated record keeping of up to $15. The fee will be charged to the defendant in any felony, traffic, misdemeanor, or local ordinance case upon a judgment of guilty or a grant of supervision. All monies shall be remitted to the State Police Operations Assistance Fund.
Liability for Underage Drinking (HB 4745/PA 98-1017): Expands current law that makes it illegal for parents or guardians to allow underage drinking at a residence or other private property, so that it will include vehicles, conveyances, or watercraft under their control. A “conveyance” would include trailers, mobile homes, campers, etc.
Surety Bonds (HB 4769/PA 98-1018): Requires surety bond ratings of at least an "A-" on contractors doing business with any state agency or local government for contracts exceeding $50,000.
Township Audits (HB 4811/PA 98-1019): Requires units of local government that have budgets under $850,000 to have an audit of accounts once every four years starting in fiscal year 2016. The idea is to increase the accountability of any governmental unit that receives annual revenue of less than $850,000.
Seizure and Forfeiture (HB 5523/PA 98-1020): Adds the offense of felony retail theft to the list for which a vessel, vehicle, or aircraft used with the knowledge and consent of the owner in the commission of, or in the attempt to commit, the offense may be seized and forfeited. Adds seizure and forfeiture for aggravated battery by a person who is at least 18 years of age, when committing a battery, who knowingly and without legal justification causes bodily harm or disability or disfigurement to any child under the age of 13 years or to any severely or profoundly intellectually disabled person.
E-Cigarette Restrictions (HB 5689/PA 98-1021): Provides that electronic cigarette liquids sold and marketed for the refilling of e-cigarettes may be sold only in special packaging.
Pension Investment Firms (SB 452/PA 98-1022): Beginning February 1, 2015 all state and local pension systems before awarding a contract for investment services must obtain required information, such as the employment of and contracts with minority/female/disabled individuals and firms. Requires affected systems and commissions to set goals requiring the utilization of relevant minority/female/disability run businesses.
Smoking Act Exemption (SB 852/PA 98-1023): Provides an exemption to the Smoke Free Illinois Act to allow smoking at a tobacco industry trade show at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. Also adds a fine for businesses that do not post "No Smoking" signs or remove ashtrays. The fine is $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second violation within one year after the first violation, and $2,500 for each additional violation within one year after the first violation.
National Guard Insurance (SB 2744/PA 98-1024): Allows the National Guard Association of Illinois to inform members of the Illinois National Guard about State Sponsored Life Insurance coverage options while in Drill Status, also known as Unit Training Assemblies.
Unfit to Stand Trial (SB 2801/PA 98-1025): Makes changes to how defendants who are found unfit to stand trial and placed in the Department of Human Services are held. Requires a forensic interview to be videotaped, unless impractical. If the interview is not videotaped, the examiner may still testify and the court may only consider the lack of compliance and not the admissibility of the expert testimony.
Limit Property Tax Overpayments (SB 2854/PA 98-126): The bill creates a separate refund process for erroneous assessments and overpayment of property taxes in Cook County. The measure increases the amount of time to file a claim from 5 years to 20 years from the date in which a right to a refund arose, for claims occurring prior to 2009 and caps the amount of money that can be paid each year to $2.5 million. Excess amounts may be paid in subsequent years.
Regional Transportation Authority (SB 3056/PA 98-1027): This is an omnibus bill containing a number of changes to the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), including:
Creates a website containing RTA and service board financial and safety related information;
Provides revolving door reform by prohibiting directors, members, former directors and former members from doing business, accepting employment, receiving compensation or fees from the RTA and service boards during their term and for a period of one year following their term;
Requires that CTA, PACE and METRA provide the RTA with real time access to financial information systems, documents, papers and records, including audits and reports that may be requested by the RTA;
Provides the RTA board must review any bonus for any employee, officer or agent of the RTA, CTA, PACE and Metra in access of 10% of annual salary. Does not apply to salary changes;
Provides that CTA, PACE and METRA must obtain approval from the RTA board for severance agreements in excess of $50,000 or an employment-related settlement agreement in excess of $200,000;
Provides that CTA, PACE and Metra must submit employment contacts in excess of $100,000 to the RTA for review. Provides that RTA must submit employment contacts in excess of $100,000 to the Illinois House Mass Transit Committee and to the Illinois Senate Transportation Committee;
Provides that “geographically equitable” be considered by the RTA for budgetary and planning processes;
Provides that the RTA must consult the Illinois Department of Transportation’s division on Programming and Planning when developing RTA’s strategic plan;
Provides that the RTA shall (instead of may) cooperate with other governmental and private agencies in bikeway and trail programs.
Radar Calibration/License Suspension (SB 3096/PA 98-1028): This bill does several things: It updates the calibration requirements for radar equipment; makes it optional that training on speed enforcement equipment be equivalent to the Speed Measuring Device Operator Program developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety; and provides that calibration test records be kept by the vendor or technician that performs the tests. In addition it allows a creditor or the creditor’s attorney to file paperwork with the Secretary of State’s offices to suspend the license of a person who is uninsured when there is a judgment against them.
Natural Gas Vehicles (SB 3574/PA 98-1029): Allows a vehicle that uses natural gas as a motor fuel to exceed weight limitations for other trucks by 2,000 pounds. Does not allow this exception for vehicles using interstate highways or on roads or bridges in the state with a posted weight limit.
Home Repairs (HB 5735/PA 98-1030): Creates the Home Repair and Construction Task Force. The task force would operate at the direction of the Attorney General and will decide whether Illinois would benefit from the licensing of anyone providing home repair and construction services. This grows out of problems that have occurred when unqualified persons offer home repair services following tornadoes. However, concerns have been raised that this could be a first step toward licensing of all handymen and home repair contractors in the state and that it could drive small non-union home handyman repair and remodeling services out of business.
Illinois Businesses (SB 226/PA 98-1031): Creates the Support Your Neighbor Commission to help increase American and Illinois products procured and sold in Illinois and also provides for gift shops at state sites to set aside a booth or section of U.S. and Illinois products to be sold. Repeals the Commission on Dec. 31, 2017.
Juvenile Justice Ombudsman (SB 2352/PA 98-1032): Establishes an Office of Independent Juvenile Ombudsman within the Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ). The main purpose of the Ombudsman would be to review practices and procedures of the Department of Juvenile Justice and to blow the whistle if any youth’s rights are violated in the custody of IDJJ.
This is part of IDJJ’s response to recent reports of sexual violence and legally inadequate conditions in IDJJ’s detention centers. The creation of this position is expected to be a part of the remedial plan IDJJ is due to file with the federal court in February, 2014 in response to the R.J. v. Bishop consent decree.
Wolves, Bears, Cougars (SB 3049/PA 98-1033): Adds the Gray Wolf, American Black Bear and Cougar to the list of protected species in Illinois, while spelling out conditions that allow landowners to kill the animals if they are causing an immediate threat of physical harm or death to a person, livestock, domestic animals, or harm to structures or other property. In recent years, all three have started to return to Illinois in very limited numbers and this is an effort to manage that reintroduction.
Migrant Workers (SB 3551/PA 98-1034): Changes regulations for the operation of migrant labor camps. The bill grants camps more flexibility in their establishment, while also changes disciplinary measures to include fines for small violations. Current discipline requires every infraction to be prosecuted as crimes by the state’s attorney, which leads to more serious charges and therefore a low prosecution rate, leaving violations uncorrected. Applications for a license to operate or maintain a Migrant Labor Camp shall be filed with the Department of Public Health at least 10 business days prior to which the camp it occupied. The camp shall be ready for inspection at least five business days prior to the opening of the camp.
Drug Formulary (HB 3638/PA 98-1035): Includes agreed language between the insurance industry and pharmaceutical drug industry regarding prescription drug formulary transparency requirements for the benefit of consumers and the timely response to prescription drug coverage requests by insurance companies. This includes setting deadlines for a health insurer to approve or deny prior authorization after receiving the prior authorization form from a prescribing provider or pharmacist.
Grow Your Own Teachers (HB 3948/PA 98-1036): Makes changes to the Grow Your Own (GYO) Teachers Act including removing the goal of adding 1,000 teachers to low income, hard to staff Illinois schools by 2016. Adds three specific provisions that must be met by GYO candidates: 1) having a 2.5 GPA, 2) attending monthly cohort meetings, and 3) applying for financial aid from other sources before applying for assistance from GYO.
The Grow Your Own Teachers program has been characterized by critics as a massive government boondoggle.
Since its inception in FY06, GYO has been appropriated a total of $20.2 million GRF (FY06-FY14). According to data from the Board of Higher Education, the GYO program has only produced 97 graduates in that time. Of these graduates, only 74 are currently teaching in Illinois schools. That is $208,200 per student graduated or $272,900 per student graduated who is actually teaching in an Illinois school. Illinois could provide a Harvard scholarship to each graduate for less money than the GYO program costs the state.
To this day, every loan for every candidate, graduated or not, has been waived in the GYO Program.
Intern Protections (HB 4157/PA 98-1037): Adds unpaid interns to the Illinois Human Rights Act's protections against sexual harassment in the workplace. Defines “unpaid intern” to correlate with the federal minimum wage test under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Notice of Bidders (HB 4205/PA 98-1038): Requires that the number of all unsuccessful bidders, regardless of whether they are a responsible bidder, shall be included in the award notice on the Procurement Bulletin. This change will ensure that the number of bidders listed on the bulletin includes those that are not deemed responsive, or an insufficient bid.
Dept. on Aging Immunity (HB 4327/PA 98-1039): Amends the Adult Protective Services Act (320 ILCS 20). Grants the Department on Aging immunity, except for willful or wanton misconduct, from any liability, civil or criminal, for reporting information to the Health Care Worker Registry.
Tax Preparers (HB 4381/PA 98-1040): This creates a Tax Preparation Task Force. This is a first push to establish qualifications and state licensing for tax preparers. Proponents argue there are people who will set up shop in low-income areas in an attempt to lure people to their tax services. They say the "tax preparer" may have little or no background and training in tax preparation.
The eight-member task force is to prepare a report and submit it December 1, 2015.
FBI Background Checks (HB 4525/PA 98-1041): Authorizes the Department of Public Health (DPH) to operate through the end of this year an FBI Background Check Demonstration Project funded by a federal Affordable Care Act of 2010 grant. The language is needed in order to retain a $1.5 million grant from the federal government.
Condominium Electronic Voting (HB 5322/PA 98-1042): Enhances electronic communication(s), voting and notifications to and from condo associations and other “common interest” community associations. This legislation is identical to SB 3040, which passed the Senate and is currently in the House.
Direct Deposit Payments (HB 5433/PA 98-1043): Requires that all State payments for payroll or retirement deductions must be made through direct deposit (or pay a fee of $2.50 per transaction).
Protecting Aquatic Life (HB 5869/PA 98-1044): Provides that releasing any aquatic life into the wild in Illinois without first securing permission of the Department of Natural Resources is a Class B misdemeanor. This bill seeks to target potentially invasive species being imported into the state, as has happened with Asian Carp and zebra mussels.
Trap Locations (HB 5911/PA 98-1045): Exempts from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) the locations of traps or snares authorized by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and any other governmental body with similar authority to control species. This grows out of a case where a park district golf course hired a contractor to trap and remove nuisance animals. An individual used the Freedom of Information Act to learn the location of the traps and went out to destroy the traps. The language is intended to remove the location of the traps so the trapper can do his job.
Medical Information (HB 5925/PA 98-1046): Seeks to modernize the Illinois Clinical Laboratory and Blood Bank Act, the Genetic Information Privacy Act and the AIDS confidentiality Act to better align state and federal law. Specifies the circumstances under which HIV-related and genetic information may be shared. An amendment exempts health-care providers from professional discipline (already exempt from criminal or civil liability) for good-faith reliance upon information provided through the Illinois Health Information Exchange. Also specifies that physicians and health-care providers are not liable for the release of a patient’s health information by other entities that possess the information.
“Good Moral Character” for Licensures (SB 232/PA 98-1047): Streamlines disciplinary sanctions for licenses and certificates issued under the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. More clearly defines what constitutes "good moral character." Provides the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation the power to authorize disciplinary action if a licensee or registrant violates the continuing requirement of “good moral character.”
Charter Schools (SB 3081/PA 98-1048): Make two changes related to charter schools.
1) Aligns the beginning of the fiscal year for charter schools with State and school district fiscal years.
2) Provides that a charter school cannot be renewed unless and until the State Board of Education certifies that the renewal is consistent with the law. (This provision is already in the law.) Also provides that material revisions to a previously certified contract can go into effect immediately upon approval of the local school board and the charter school unless either party requests certification from the State Board.
County Motor Fuel Taxes (SB 3447/PA 98-1049): This measure addresses a recent audit issue. It directs that 2% of the county motor fuel tax imposed by DuPage, Kane, and McHenry counties be transferred into the Tax Compliance and Administration (TCA) fund. Currently the Illinois Department of Revenue receives 2% of the County Option Motor Fuel tax and was transferring it every month, but an audit finding said statutory language is needed to allow those transfers.
Pregnancy Accommodations (HB 8/PA 98-1050): Requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” for all working pregnant women unless the accommodation would impose an “undue hardship” on the business.
Equal Pay Act Jurisdiction (HB 5563/PA 98-1051): Gives the Illinois Department of Human Rights jurisdiction to enforce the state Equal Pay Act. This duty is concurrent with the responsibilities of the Illinois Department of Labor. Allows the Department of Labor to refer a pay discrimination case back to the Department of Human Rights as long as the referral also includes potential Human Rights Act violations.
Local Government Distributive Fund Transfers (HB 961/PA 98-1052): Provides that after receiving certification of the Local Government Distributive Fund amounts from the Department of Revenue the Comptroller must perform a transfer no later than 60 days after receiving certification. Currently, there is no limitation on how long until the LGDF transfer takes place and there have been delays in the 4-6 month range in past years; this would establish a hard deadline.
Governance Task Force (HB 1152/PA 98-1053): Creates the Chicago Educational Governance Task Force to recommend the best structure and procedure for the governance of the Chicago Public Schools. The task force would submit its report by May 30, 2016.
Shut Liquor Store (HB 1463/PA 98-1054): Allows the local liquor commissioner (in Chicago only) to close down a liquor licensee for no more than 30 days if the commissioner has evidence that criminal activity has occurred inside the licensed premises. Defines criminal activity. Allows the licensee the opportunity to be heard and if a continuance is granted then the licensee shall remain closed until a judgment is entered. Allows the licensee to remain open if the criminal activity reported by the licensee.
Cigarette Retailer Licensure Fee (HB 2494/PA 98-1055): Requires a retailer of cigarettes or tobacco products to obtain a $75 retailer license from the Department of Revenue.
Women and Minority Contractors (HB 3635/PA 98-1056): Requires greater reporting details on minority and female supplier contracts and goals from gas, electric and water utilities with over 100,000 customers. Does not apply to telephone, cable, or rural electric companies. Also requires the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to hold an annual workshop for suppliers.
Chicago Transportation Reimbursement (HB 3662/PA 98-1057): Allows a custodian of a qualifying pupil to be reimbursed for qualified transportation expenses if the pupil attends the Chicago Public Schools and must walk or travel along a safe passage route to reach school or return home from school or if such pupil does not have access to transportation and conditions were hazardous to the safety of the pupil due to traffic.
Retailers Occupation Tax (HB 3885/PA 98-1058): Makes changes with regard to the disclosure of return information as it relates to the Retailers’ Occupation Tax Act, specifically allowing limited amounts of this information to be shared with all municipalities. The information would include a business’s name, address, the net revenue distributed to a municipality requesting the information as it directly relates to their share of the various sales taxes, and a listing of all businesses within the municipality by account identification number. Currently this information can only be shared with certain municipalities.
Virtual Charter Schools (HB 3937/PA 98-1059): The bill extends the moratorium on virtual charter schools in school districts other than Chicago through December 31, 2016 (currently through April 1, 2014).
Re-defines "virtual-schooling" to mean a cyber-school where students engage in online curriculum and instruction via the Internet and electronic communication with their teachers at remote locations and with students participating at different times.
Opponents have raised concerns that continuing to delay virtual schools sets the state back, handicaps students and makes Illinois less competitive.
Chaney-Monge School Referendum (HB 3942/PA 98-1060): Provides that Chaney-Monge School District 88 can issue $3 million in bonds for repair of schools and to fund their local share of a school construction grant, without further referendum approval. This legislation is intended to alleviate concerns raised by the bond counsel for Chaney-Monge SD. The counsel believes that a question, which passed in a March 18, 2014 referendum, regarding the issuance of these bonds was inaccurately worded. As such, the bond counsel is refusing to issue bonds for the school district.
Prisoner Job Training (HB 4113/PA 98-1061): Authorizes county sheriffs to enter into joint contracts with units of local government and non-profit housing development corporations to develop job training programs to rehabilitate houses. Provides that these rehabilitated houses may be used as transitional housing for the mentally ill (in addition to homeless or low-income citizens). The Department of Corrections already has this authority and this is a request of the Cook County sheriff who would like authority to operate a program.
Mobile Home Parks (HB 4123/PA 98-1062): Amends the Mobile Home Landlord and Tenant Rights Act to mandate a number of new disclosures by mobile home park owners. The measure represents an agreement between mobile home park owners, mobile home owners and renters and the Department of Public Health.
Destruction of Public Records (HB 4216/PA 98-1063): Makes it a Class 4 felony for any person who knowingly and with the intent to defraud, alters, destroys, defaces, removes, or conceals any public record.
TIF Extension – Machesney Park (HB 4286/PA 98-1064): Extends Machesney Parks' Illinois Routes 251/173 Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District from 23 years to 35 years. The TIF district was established in 1991 and under current law is scheduled to end at the end of this year. The 12-year extension would keep the TIF district in place until 2026. All of the local units of government impacted by the TIF district extension are in support except for Rock Valley College, which submitted a letter of neutrality.
Human Services Ambassador (HB 4579/HB 98-1065): Allows the Department of Human Services to designate one or more officials or employees as department ambassadors to the public.
Safety Inspection Payments (HB 4616/PA 98-1066): Allows school districts to use excess Fire Prevention and Safety Funds to pay for required safety inspections.
Title Insurance-Settlement Funds (HB 4677/PA 98-1067): Remove the requirement that title companies and financial institutions must know each other to use cashier’s, teller’s, or certified checks. It also adds a provision that the funds must be used to disburse the loan and related closing costs and deletes the Jan. 1, 2015 sunset provision concerning settlement funds. Current law requires the title company and financial institution to be connected to use cashier’s, teller’s, or certified checks.
Condominium Rights (HB 4783/PA 98-1068): This is to prevent situations where developers put clauses in the condominium bylaws that prevent the association from suing the developer without unit owner approval. In most cases, the developer maintains an ownership interest in the building and thus the board would never be able to gain the unit owners’ permission before suing. Prohibits any provision which restricts the right of a board to represent that association in legal matters which affect the common elements or more than one unit, unless approved by a unit owner percentage vote of 75% or more following the election of the first unit owner board of managers.
Higher Ed Partnerships (HB 4910/PA 98-1069): Illinois Community Colleges would be allowed to create public-private partnership boards with Illinois-based manufacturers, which would oversee the training of highly-skilled workers.
Quick Take for Mundelein (HB 4956/PA 98-1070): Authorizes a one year quick take for the Village of Mundelein (in Lake County) to widen a street and construct a bike path.
Charitable Games Cap (HB 5017/PA 98-1071): Changes the maximum number of charitable games events allowed at any one premise to no more than 12 charitable games events per calendar year rather than one per month. This change allows for a provider to seek licensure for multiple night charitable games events, provided they remain under the 12-game annual cap.
Industrial Hemp Studies (HB 5085/PA 98-1072): Establishes the “Industrial Hemp Pilot Program” and allows higher education institutions or the Department of Agriculture to grow or cultivate industrial hemp if used for research purposes that specifically studies the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp. “Industrial Hemp” means cannabis sativa L., having no more than 0.3% total THC content. Current law does not allow any person to possess cannabis.
CILA Funds (HB 5307/PA 98-1073): Regulates community-integrated-living-arrangement service providers’ management of a recipient’s personal funds.
Local Government Ridesharing (HB 5326/PA 98-1074): Allows vehicles owned by counties, townships, or municipal corporations to be issued permanent registration plates. This is an initiative of the suburban bus entity PACE, which would allow them to secure license plates for ridesharing vehicles for a one-time fee instead of annual renewals.
Assessment Review Panel (HB 5330/PA 98-1075): The bill adds seven members to the Assessment Review Task Force. The Task Force will be increased to a total of 24 members. It requires the State Superintendent to appoint a task force to review standardized assessments. The task force shall review content and design of tests, and time and money expended for testing against the purpose of testing; parent, student and teacher perceptions of the level and intensity of standardized testing and any other issues involved.
State Procurement (HB 5491/PA 98-1076): This is an omnibus procurement code change that has been negotiated and agreed to by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the state’s Chief Procurement Officers. The intent of this legislation is to provide for the following:
• Allow for a more expedited procurement process without losing transparency.
• Provide clear intent related to portions of the code where jurisdictional boundaries are not obviously clear.
• Provide additional exemptions for situations unique to higher education institutions - specifically research institutions.
• Keep the underlying language requested by the Procurement Policy Board in HB5491 as passed by the House.
• Statutory clean-up.
Civil Actions (HB 5512/PA 98-1077): This is an initiative of the Trial Lawyers to allow individuals who may sustain a legal disability after a cause of action accrues but before a case is filed to still bring an action.
Municipal Pensions (HB 5592/PA 98-1078): Allows members of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund to make an irrevocable election of a reversionary annuity before retirement. A reversionary annuity allows a person to permanently reduce their pension in order to provide a lifetime annuity for another person after the member passes away. Currently, retirees can make this choice upon retirement but not before. This will allow the individual to choose this option before they retire.
Solid Waste Hauling Program (HB 5666/PA 98-1079): Creates the Illinois Solid Waste Hauling and Recycling Program Act that applies only to Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, Will and McHenry counties, while exempting Chicago. Mandates that waste haulers offer recycling services to commercial customers and locations, and regulates municipalities awarding either exclusive or franchise contracts for commercial recycling depending on set requirements.
Car Leases Taxation Trailer Bill (HB 5684/PA 98-1080): Delays the implementation of House Bill 2317 until January 1, 2015 and expands the violations that can lead to non-renewal by the Secretary of State to include corporate tax violations. House Bill 2317 states that vehicles sold for purposes of leasing for longer than one year would be taxed at 6.25 percent of the gross receipts of the lessor.
Savings and Loans (HB 5685/PA 98-1081): Repeals the Illinois Savings and Loan Act of 1985. The last Savings and Loan Association (located in Milford, Illinois) converted to a savings bank on April 1, 2013, so there are no longer any savings and loan associations in the state.
Minor Moving out of State (HB 5686/PA 98-1082): Allows guardianship orders to incorporate language governing removal of a minor from the state so that, if the situation is appropriate, removal can be addressed in the order and not require a separate court proceeding. Also amends the Probate Act to create a preference for a short-term guardian to be appointed.
Counties and Not-For-Profits (HB 5812/PA 98-1083): Adds county board members or other county officers to existing state law that allows city council members and other municipal officers to hold a position on the board of a not-for-profit corporation under certain circumstance, even if the not-for-profit has an interest in a contract, work, or business of the public body. This came about when it was discovered that it was a conflict-of-interest for members of the Stephenson County Board to serve on the board of a regional economic development organization, the Northwest Illinois Development Alliance (NIDA), because the County provides a portion of the funding for the organization.
Government Transparency (HB 5853/PA 98-1084): Requires Central Management Services (CMS) to provide contact information and a link on the Illinois Transparency and Accountability Portal (ITAP) website for all agencies under the Governor.
Will County Judicial Facilities (HB 5889/PA 98-1085): Allows the Will County Board to impose a new fee of up to $30 per party in a civil case and $30 for a defendant in a criminal or traffic case. The proceeds are to be used to build new judicial facilities.
Health Facilities Review Board (HB 5968/PA 98-1086): Requires the Health Facilities and Services Review Board to transcribe each meeting using a certified court reporter and include all decisions and findings. Also requires the Board members to include their own rationales when voting on a matter. This was brought about following court cases heard by the Fourth Appellate District in Illinois.
Governor’s Appointees (SB 229/PA 98-1087): Requires an annual report detailing the demographic composition of gubernatorial appointees on each board, commission, and task force.
Medicare and Social Security Payroll Taxes (SB 345/PA 98-1088): Removes levies for Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes paid by a governmental entity for their employees, from being considered as "new rates" and subject to referendum to approve those rates. This is a follow up to PA 97-0933, which some county clerks are interpreting to mean that Medicare and Social Security levies are "new rates" and would be required to go to referendum.
Amazon Tax (SB 352/PA 98-1089): Extends the definition of Illinois retailers to include a retailer who provides to potential customers a code or other method to allow the retailer to track the purchases referred by that person. These can include, but are not limited to, Internet links, promotional codes sent through mail or hand-delivered, or sent via broadcast.
This is an effort to extend sales tax collections to online retailers, such as Amazon. Similar legislation was struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court and this seeks to address the court’s objections.
This bill would allow a retailer with gross receipts exceeding $10,000 to rebut the presumption of maintaining a place of business in Illinois by submitting proof that the referrals were not sufficient to meet the nexus standards of the US Constitution during the preceding four quarters.
In-state retailers argue that Internet retailers like Amazon have a competitive advantage because they do not collect sales taxes from customers (customers still owe the tax, but are responsible for paying the taxes directly to the Illinois Department of Revenue and enforcement is difficult).
Elevator Safety (SB 641/PA 98-1090): Brings Illinois law into compliance with new standards for elevator safety inspectors. As of Jan. 1, 2014, the responsibility for setting standards for elevator inspectors was transferred from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to the American National Standards Institute. The legislation adds generic language so the statute does not need to be changed each time certification organizations change.
“Telehealth” (SB 647/PA 98-1091): Establishes guidelines that individual or group health and accident insurance policies must comply with if they provide coverage for “telehealth” services. Teleheath is defined as the use of a telecommunication system to provide medical services between places of lesser and greater medical capability or expertise, for the purpose of evaluation and treatment.
Liquor Exemptions (SB 727/PA 98-1092): Provides six exemptions to the state’s ban on liquor establishments within 100 feet of schools, churches and certain other entities. Also allows the Six Mile Regional Library District (located in Pontoon Beach and Granite City) to have alcoholic liquor sold at the library if approved by the board of trustees (limited to a maximum of six library district events per year). These exemptions are ordinarily granted only if the church or school does not object.
Caregivers and Property (SB 1048/PA 98-1093): Amends the State’s Probate Act regarding presumptively void transfers to non-family member caregivers. In essence this would void most transfers of property exceeding $20,000 to a person who was a caregiver for the deceased. This presumption can be rebutted by showing that the caregiver's share is not greater than the share the they would have been entitled to before they became the caregiver, or by showing that the transfer was not the product of fraud, duress, or undue influence.
Adult Disabled Guardian (SB 1051/PA 98-1094): Amends the procedure for the adjudication of disability and the appointment of a guardian for adults. The amendment does three things: 1. Requires inclusion of contact information of the reporting physician; 2. Relocates provisions on independent evaluations to the appropriate section; and 3. Emphasizes the best interest of the ward in selection of a guardian.
Fire District Consolidation (SB 1681/PA 98-1095): Sets out procedures to allow fire protection districts to combine and provide service to under-served areas by creating a Regional Fire Protection Agency.
Resale Dealers Act (SB 1778/PA 98-1096): Intended to regulate sales of precious and recyclable metals, collectable items and other goods, including assuring that accurate records are available so that items can be traced. “Resale dealers” buy, sell, take on consignment, or trade jewelry, stamps, electronic equipment, or precious metals that have been previously owned by a consumer. This would include swapshop operators, cash for gold operators, and jewelers that purchase and resell items from persons. The term “resale dealer” does not include pawnbrokers, coin dealers, providers of commercial mobile services or their authorized dealers, or retail merchants that do not purchase previously-owned items directly from the public at the retail location.
Individuals must provide a driver’s license or State ID card, or two other forms of identification that include their address. In Chicago, if the seller does not have an ID issued by the government with their photo on it, the resale dealer must photograph the seller in color and record the seller’s name, address, date of birth, gender, height, and weight on the reverse side of the photograph. Transaction records must be kept for 3 years.
Electronic Legal Documents (SB 1941/PA 98-1097): Model legislation creating the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act. This applies to all legal material in an electronic record that is designated as official and first published electronically on or after the effective date. This is part of an effort to adopt consistent regulations regarding electronic legal documents in all states.
Business Location/Tax Auditing (SB 2612/PA 98-1098): Clarifies how the location where a retailer makes sales is determined. This implements an Illinois Supreme Court decision involving companies that did the bulk of their business at one location, but routed sales through another location in order to avoid or reduce local sales taxes.
It also allows the Illinois Department of Revenue's Audit Bureau to retain 5% of funds collected in a Tax Compliance and Administration Fund to be used to hire auditors and compliance personnel. The Fund would be capped at $2.5 million.
The sales tax legislation grew out of a 2013 Supreme Court Case (Hartney Fuel Oil Company v. Hamer). At issue was a practice of routing purchase orders through a location with reduced sales taxes even though its predominant selling activities occurred in another, higher sales tax location. The Court concluded that a seller incurs retailers’ occupation taxes in the local jurisdiction where its predominant selling activities occur, even if it also engages in very limited activities in other places.
Lien Holders (SB 2730/PA 98-1099): Amends the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Act by creating Strict Foreclosure as a means of terminating omitted junior lien holders. Provides that a purchaser of property at a foreclosure sale of the senior lien or subsequent purchaser or transferee can file a statutory strict foreclosure against any omitted junior lien holder. Currently, if a junior lien holder is omitted from the foreclosure sale, that holder can come back later to redeem that lien and stop the foreclosure sale. The junior lien holder could still have a claim in the rare situation where there would be surplus funds in a foreclosure proceeding.
Panther Promise (SB 2765/PA 98-1100): Extends the Panther Promise Tuition Discount Program at Eastern Illinois University (EIU) until after the 2018-2019 academic year. Panther Promise is a tuition affordability discount program that allows EIU to offer a tuition discount of up to $2,500 per year for four years if a 2.0 GPA is maintained and is targeted towards students from households earning roughly $35,000 to $70,000 annually.
Cook County Tax Sales (SB 2778/PA 98-1101): Amends the date in Cook County in which to apply for a judgment on a tax sale to July 1 of the calendar year following the second installment due date. The second installment generally falls in the late summer, but can vary.
The bill provides for the following dates: by July 1, 2015 for tax year 2013; by May 1, 2016 for tax year 2014; by March 1, 2017 for tax year 2015; within 90 days after the second installment due date for tax year 2016 and each tax year thereafter.
School Discipline Report (SB 2793/PA 98-1102): Beginning with 2015, requires the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to prepare a report on student discipline in all school districts in the state, including charter schools by October 31 of each year. Requires ISBE to analyze the data collected annually and determine the top 20% of school districts displaying racial disproportionality for: number of out-of-school suspensions and expulsions. Based on the data, certain schools will be required to submit a school discipline improvement plan.
Proof of License Plate Renewal (SB 2802/PA 98-1103): Allows a printed receipt of an online license plate renewal to be used as proof of renewal until the physical sticker is received in the mail.
Location Surveillance (SB 2808/PA 98-1104): Requires a court order based on probable cause of crime before law enforcement can obtain current or future location information from an individual’s electronic device unless under emergency situations or specified exceptions. Allows for suppression of evidence obtained in violation of the Act.
Housing Code Appeals (SB 2829/PA 98-1105): Allows persons to recover reasonable costs, including court costs and attorney’s fees, if a court reverses a housing code hearing officer’s decision. Does not apply to Chicago. The court must find that the decision of the hearing officer was arbitrary and capricious or the municipality failed to file a record that is sufficient to allow the court to determine whether the decision of the hearing officer was arbitrary and capricious. The court could also award the municipality reasonable costs if the court finds that the plaintiff's appeal is not reasonably well grounded in fact, is not warranted by existing law, or is not accompanied by a reasonable argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law.
Abandoned Storage Units (SB 2952/PA 98-1106): Allows for electronic notice to owners prior to the sale of property in an abandoned storage units and also allows online auctions of abandoned units. In the case of electronic mail notice, the e-mail address must have been provided by the renter and the owner must receive notice of its receipt. If no "read receipt" is given, a notice must be sent by verified mail to the renter’s last known mailing address. According to the Self-Storage Association, almost 50% of self-storage renters do not have permanent reliable physical addresses, making it difficult to locate the owner of property that has been abandoned.
Guardians and Divorce or Marriage (SB 2954/PA 98-1107): Allows the guardian of a person or estate to petition the court to file a petition for divorce, legal separation or declaration of invalidity of marriage on behalf of a ward if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the dissolution is in the ward's best interests. Also allows a guardian to petition the court for authorization to consent, on behalf of the ward, to the ward's marriage if the court finds that the marriage is in the ward's best interests.
Township Meetings (SB 2980/PA 98-1108): Provides that the full statement of financial affairs of the township prepared by the township supervisor may be printed and distributed at the annual township meeting rather than being read aloud by the township clerk.
Real Estate Analysis (SB 3044/PA 98-1109): Allows comparative market analysis to be performed by real estate brokers.
Do Not Resuscitate/POLST Form (SB 3076/PA 98-1110): Grants the Department of Public Health the authority to develop a uniform Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form to comply with the standards of the National POLST Institute. The legislation also extends the authority to sign end-of-life medical-treatment documents (POLST forms) to attending health-care practitioners. (Currently only physicians are authorized to sign these forms.)
Optometrists Prescribing Hydrocodone (SB 3109/PA 98-1111): Permits optometrists to prescribe hydrocodone (Vicodin) for up to 72 hours. This legislation takes effect if federal regulation makes Vicodin a schedule 2 class drug.
Mercer County School District (SB 3113/PA 98-1112): Allows Mercer County School District #404, which was consolidated in 2009 from the Westmer and Aledo School Districts, to save money through the refinancing of debt, but would also allow the consolidated district to keep that obligation within the perimeter of the original district that incurred the debt. Current law requires that when old debt is refinanced that it be distributed across the entire newly consolidated school district.
Power of Attorney for Healthcare (SB 3228/PA 98-1113): Re-writes the Health Care Power of Attorney form to make it more user friendly. With these changes the reading level for the form will be a high school rather than a college reading level. Includes a savings clause to ensure that previously executed health care powers of attorney and actions thereunder are valid.
Probation Time Credit (SB 3267/PA 98-1114): Allows a time credit toward completion of a non-violent offender's probation or conditional discharge of 90 days for obtaining a high school diploma or GED; 120 days for obtaining an associate's degree, career /vocational certificate; and 180 days for obtaining a bachelor's degree.
Laws in Electronic Format (SB 3288/PA98-1115): Codifies current practice that has been in place for the past five years, allowing for annual session laws of Illinois to be transmitted to the Secretary of State in electronic format.
Household Donated Goods (SB 3294/PA 98-1116): Requires household goods donation bins (such as Goodwill) to have a permanent, written, printed label prominently displayed on the bin. The legislation also requires the label to contain the contact information of the owner or operator of the bin and whether the entity is a not-for-profit or a for-profit entity. Makes it an unlawful practice to violate the provisions.
Pension Errors (SB 3309/PA 98-1117): States that if a state pension system mistakenly sets any benefit at an incorrect amount it shall recalculate the benefit as soon as possible. If the benefit was set too low the system shall pay a lump sum to the annuitant equal to the mistake. If the benefit was too high the system may recover the amount either in a lump sum payment or by deducting and amount from remaining benefits. If the mistake was not discovered for over 3 years and it was not the result of false information from the annuitant then the mistaken annuity shall be adjusted for future payments, but the annuitant does not need to repay the system. Recently a top Quinn administration official who had retired was found to have been receiving ten times the amount she was entitled to. The individual did not notify the pension system of the error until it was uncovered by an investigative report. The overpayment was returned after the error became public.
Municipal Clerk Training (SB 3314/PA 98-1118): Reduces the number of members on the Municipal Clerk Training Institute Committee, amends requirements for locations for the programs, and changes the requirements of courses offered by the Institute.
Deceptive Practices (SB 3405/PA 98-1119): Creates a new section in the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act to make it an unlawful practice to send false or deceptive letters alleging patent infringement.
Collateral Protection (SB 3423/PA 98-1120): A mortgage service provider complying with the recent federal hazard insurance regulation shall also be deemed to be in compliance with the Collateral Protection Act of Illinois when a residential mortgage property has failed to be covered by required insurance. With both the Collateral Protection Act and the federal rules in effect, mortgage servicers in Illinois are subject to two different and potentially conflicting entities governing the forced placement of hazard insurance. This legislation eliminates conflict, bureaucratic red-tape, and establishes a uniform standard of compliance.
Natural Gas Market Report (SB 3437/PA 98-1121): Requires the Illinois Commerce Commission's Office of Retail Market Development to submit a report, on or before October 1 of each year, beginning in 2015, regarding the competitive retail gas market in Illinois, barriers to retail competition for all customer classes, and solutions to overcome identified barriers.
Co-Op Shares (SB 3438/PA 98-1122): Amends the Co-operative act to increase the number of shares a person may control. It increases the maximum price per share and increase the maximum value of stock issued to any one shareholder. Maximum shares will increase to 10 (from 5); maximum price per share will increase to $1000 (from $100); maximum value of stock to one stockholder to $10,000 (from $500). This is an Initiative of the Illinois Environmental Council to encourage the development of co-operatives, such as food and grocery co-ops.
Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Center (SB 3465/PA 98-1123): Amends the definition of "ambulatory surgical treatment center" to include any place that meets and complies with the definition of an ambulatory surgical treatment center under the rules adopted by the Department of Public Health. An ambulatory surgical treatment center that elects to have an agreement with federal CMS must also meet certain Medicare conditions as an ambulatory surgical center and have an active agreement with CMS to participate in Medicare as an ambulatory surgical center provider in Illinois.
Criminal Diversionary Programs (SB 3522/PA 98-1124): Creates a funding mandate through Department of Human Services (DHS) to provide that moneys appropriated to the Department of Human Services shall be used by the Department to reimburse counties and qualified programs for costs in running two criminal diversionary programs. Also seeks to provide clarification under the eligibility provision of the TASC program to ensure that defendants convicted of lesser meth possession are not excluded from TASC treatment.
False Personation (SB 3538/PA 98-1125): Adds to the false personation statute, including anyone who knowingly and falsely represents themselves as the legal guardian, including any representative of a State or public guardian, of a disabled person.
The following bills were vetoed by the Governor:
Travel Insurance (SB 2590 – Governor Vetoed): Allows “travel insurance” to be sold by a licensed business enterprise or travel retailer subject to certain conditions.
Tollway Speed Limits (SB 2015 – Governor Vetoed): Sets a uniform speed limit between tollways and interstates, which would have the effect of increasing the speed limit on the state’s tollways to 70 miles an hour, the same as interstate highways in Illinois. In January, the interstate highway speed limit in Illinois was raised to 70 mph, which is consistent with most other states, including almost all Midwestern states.
In vetoing the measure, the Governor argued that studies show more than 90 percent of tollway drivers exceed the speed limit by 11-15 miles per hour during non rush-hour times. However, proponents of the increase, said that the statistics cited by the Governor actually make the case that the existing speed limit is too low and said it would make more sense to bring the speed limit up to a more reasonable level and enforce that higher speed limit.
Ridesharing Regulations (HB 4075 – Governor Vetoed): Creates a statewide regulation of ridesharing services such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. These services are deemed Commercial Rideshare Arrangements (CRAs). The legislation defines a CRA as a ridesharing arrangement in which the method of transportation is a vehicle owned or leased for personal use, prearranged through a dispatcher and for which a fee is charged. This includes taxicabs when the driver of the taxi receives a dispatch using Internet, smartphone, or an electronic application from a dispatcher.
The legislation included more stringent standards for drivers operating more than 18 hours per week than those working less than 18 hours per week.
Ridesharing Regulations Trailer Bill (HB 5331 – Governor Vetoed): This is a trailer bill to the ridesharing regulation (HB 4075) for services such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. Provisions of this bill do not apply unless HB 4075 also becomes law. Provides that the Secretary of State shall provide distinctive “for hire” ridesharing plates to vehicles in which the driver participates in ridesharing arrangements for more than 36 hours in any 2 week/consecutive 14 day period. HB 4075 specified 18 hours in a one week period. This change is to allow Uber drivers to stock up hours for big event weeks in Chicago without losing their part time status.