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IML Statehouse Briefing - February 13, 2017

The “grand bargain” package of budget and reform bills being considered in the Senate hit a snag last week, but Senate leaders intend to continue working on the package and looking for enough votes to send it to the House.

Three of the budget and reform bills were called and received the necessary votes to pass out of the Senate. Senate Republicans and the Governor have reservations about the legislative package as it currently stands. As a result, the votes to pass the three bills came from Senate Democrats.
 
Individual pieces of the overall package approved by the Senate include bills concerning local government consolidation (SB 3), procurement reform (SB 8) and a bill allowing home rule governments to assign their right to collect a sales tax revenue stream over to a lender (SB 10). Legislation proposing reforms to several pension funds (General Assembly, State Universities, Downstate Teachers, Judges and Chicago Teachers) ran into significant opposition and failed to pass (SB 11).
 
Since each of the “grand bargain” bills includes language requiring that they all pass or the entire package fails, the defeat of the pension reform bill on the Senate floor poses a serious, although not insurmountable, threat to the package overall. The Senate leaders intend to continue working on changes to the package that might build broader support.
 
One of the bills undergoing significant change is the revenue bill. As introduced, SB 9 included an income tax increase and sugary beverage tax. Significant opposition to the sugary beverage tax resulted in its replacement with a “business opportunity tax,” which would impose a tax on employers based upon their payrolls. The “business opportunity tax” proved equally unpopular and legislators are exploring an expansion of the state sales tax to include food, medicine and certain services. Under this plan, the overall state sales tax rate would be reduced, but the tax would generate additional revenue because it would apply to a broader base.
 
The General Assembly returns to Springfield on Wednesday, February 15 and is scheduled to remain in session until Friday, February 17.
 
LGDF Increase Approved by House Committee
The Chair of the House Cities and Villages Committee, Representative Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights), successfully advanced HB 278 through committee to increase the amount of Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) revenue received by cities and counties. Having passed out of the House Cities and Villages Committee on a vote of 8-6 on Wednesday, February 8, the bill will next be considered by the full House.
 
HB 278 would incrementally increase the current 8% LGDF share to 10% of total income tax collections by February 1, 2020. An increase to 10% would restore LGDF distributions, expressed as a percentage of income tax collections, to the level distributed prior to enactment of the temporary income tax increase in 2011. Under current law, LGDF distributions are on pace to reach almost 10% of total income tax collections by February, 2025. Representative DeLuca’s bill would accelerate this schedule by five years. The Illinois Municipal League (IML) supports the bill.
 
Small Cell Wireless Facility Regulations Introduced in Senate
On Thursday, February 9, Senator Terry Link (D-Gurnee) introduced legislation that was drafted by the telecommunication industry to establish the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. As proposed, SB 1451 would severely limit municipal authority to regulate, site or charge permit fees for small wireless facilities. The proposed act also limits home rule authority.
 
The telecommunication industry predicts the need for a significant increase in the density of small cell facilities to support 5G technology. While upgrading current technology has many benefits, accommodating the required infrastructure will challenge municipalities.
 
IML has developed a Small Cell Antenna/Tower Right-of-Way Siting model ordinance that we believe adequately addresses the concerns of the proponents of the legislation.
 
At the invitation of Senator Link, IML has been participating in conversations with industry representatives on the bill, and we will keep members informed of any major developments. No action is necessary by our members at this time. IML opposes the bill.
 
Governor Set to Deliver Budget Address
Governor Bruce Rauner will present the third budget address of his term on Wednesday, February 15. A transcript of the speech will be available on our website (www.iml.org) following the Governor’s presentation.
 
IML Introduces Ambitious Legislative Agenda
IML’s 2017 Legislative Agenda was filed in advance of the Friday, February 10 deadline for introducing legislation in the House and Senate.
 
Our 2017 Legislative Agenda, which is both aggressive and ambitious, was developed to protect essential revenue sources, control operational costs and enhance flexibility in governance. Winning approval for this agenda will require full engagement from our member municipalities. It is critical that our members discuss these important issues with their state legislators. We are appreciative of our six policy committees and our Legislative Committee for developing this agenda, which was approved by the IML Board of Directors. Additionally, we express our gratitude to the 12 sponsors, both Republicans and Democrats, who agreed to carry our legislation.
 
IML Pursues Federal Agenda
IML is actively involved with several initiatives of importance to municipal government that are being discussed in Congress. Our 2017 Federal Legislative Agenda is available here. This agenda is expected to grow as new issues develop.
 
IML Tracked Legislation
Digital access to a list of introduced bills that affect or are of interest to municipalities is available on our legislative webpage. IML is presently tracking 409 bills out of the over 6,395 bills, resolutions and constitutional amendments that have been introduced to date.
 
IML tracked legislation is searchable by number or by issue category. Another great way to track bills of interest is by downloading our legislative app. If you do not yet have the app, it is available for iTunes and Android users. If you have questions or information about any of our tracked bills, please contact the IML staff member through the e-mail link available within the digital bill page and app, or e-mail us at IMLLegislation@iml.org.
 
Join Us at the Municipal Attorney Seminar
Register today for the IML’s 2017 Municipal Attorneys Seminar. The event will be held Friday, March 31 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington. A $175 registration fee includes breakfast, lunch and a copy of IML’s Sunshine Laws manual, as well as 6.25 hours of MCLE. Topics covered include Land Use Exactions & Takings; Mandatory Topics of Bargaining; Appellate Practice; Professional Responsibility/Ethics; Sunshine Laws; Employment Law; and Section 1983 and Municipal Liability. Register online at iml.org/seminar.
 
RSVP for Lobby Day April 26, 2017
You are invited to attend IML’s Lobby Day on Wednesday, April 26 in Springfield. The Lobby Day briefing will begin at 9 a.m. at the IML office, followed by an opportunity to visit legislators at the Capitol (be sure to make your appointments in advance). A reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. Additional information, including online registration for both events, is available online at iml.org/lobbyday.