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IML Statehouse Briefing - March 13, 2017

Both the House and Senate worked to approve bills out of substantive committees last week. The pace of legislative activity has picked up in advance of the key deadlines to move bills out of committees in their chambers of origin. The deadline for moving House bills out of House committees is Friday, March 31, and the deadline for moving Senate bills out of Senate committees is Friday, March 17.
 
The fallout from the failure to pass the budget “grand bargain” out of the Senate was evidenced by the refusal of some Senate committee chairs to hold anything other than subject matter hearings on legislation last week.
 
Legislation Restoring 10% LGDF Share Passes House
State Representative and former Mayor Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights) managed to successfully marshal enough votes in the House to advance an important Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) bill to the Senate.
 
HB 278 would restore the previously long-standing local government share of the state income tax to 10 percent of total collections in February 2020. The 10 percent share was reduced to 6 percent of total collections when the temporary income tax was increased in 2011. The rate has since increased to 8 percent of total collections based upon the schedule provided in the income tax law. According to the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR), the bill would allocate an additional $877 million to local governments from FY2017 – FY2021 based on current income tax revenue projections. 
 
The fate of the bill in the Senate remains uncertain, and municipalities should not count on any additional LGDF revenue unless the bill is approved and enacted into law.
 
Although the distribution rate was adjusted downward in 2011, the effect was to hold municipalities harmless at the existing dollar amount because the lower LGDF distribution rate was applied to the higher revenue collections from the temporary tax increase. Under current law, the local government share of the income tax is scheduled to rise to almost 10 percent of total collections by February 2025. HB 278 would accelerate that schedule, and provide a full 10 percent LGDF share five years sooner than the schedule provided under current law.
 
Illinois Municipal League (IML) thanks the sponsor, Representative DeLuca, and each of the 67 House members who supported HB 278 for their commitment to LGDF.
 
TIF Limitation Assigned to House Revenue and Finance Committee
HB 2964 (Rep. Nekritz, D-Northbrook) would provide that when a redevelopment project area has been dissolved, completed or terminated under the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act, property within that redevelopment project area may not become part of another redevelopment project area for 15 years after the date the former redevelopment project area was dissolved, completed or terminated. IML has indicated to the sponsor that we oppose this legislation and will continue to engage her on this issue. The bill is also opposed by the Illinois Tax Increment Association (ITIA). HB 2964 is presently in the House Revenue and Finance Committee.
 
Reports Illustrate Grim Budget and Revenue Outlook
A revised forecast from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) shows Illinois revenues could fall $657 million short of revenues collected during a comparable time period during the prior year as personal and corporate income taxes and sales taxes collected in the first eight months of the fiscal year dropped 5 percent.
 
Additionally, a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) issued by the Illinois’ Comptroller’s Office found that the state’s total net deficit increased by $5.7 billion from June 2015 to June 2016. The report also found that the state’s General Fund deficit increased by $2.7 billion and has now reached $9.5 billion.
 
Small Cell Wireless Facility Legislation Update
SB 1451 (Sen. Link, D-Gurnee) is assigned to Telecommunications and Technology Committee.  IML remains opposed to the bill as written, but some progress is being made on negotiations on the bill.  Senator Link hosted an additional meeting on March 8, and industry representatives and IML staff had a follow up conference call on March 10.  Senator Link also hosted a meeting with representatives of municipal electric utilities, park districts and the farm bureau.  Significant differences remain over permit fees and attachment rates.  In addition, permitting time limits of 90 days, including for bulk permits, is likely to strain the capacity of many municipalities. The industry remains adamant that the short time limits should apply. IML has opposed the time limits being proposed and will continue to explore acceptable compromises that recognize the operational realities of our communities.  The industry is considering adjustments to the make-ready provisions of the bill. Please continue to inform your local legislators of your opposition to the bill as written.  Indicate that you will seek their assistance in opposing the legislation absent amendments that resolve the concerns of municipalities. 
 
IML contacts for this legislation are: Patrick Hayes, phayes@iml.org and Jessica DeWalt jdewalt@iml.org.  
 
Legislation Approved by the House
Several IML-tracked bills passed out of the House of Representatives last week. They are as follows:
 
HB 300 (Rep. Arroyo, D-Chicago) would amend the Illinois Vehicle Code to provide that no person shall stand on a highway for the purpose of soliciting money or contributions (rather than just contributions) from the occupant of any vehicle except within a municipality when expressly permitted by municipal ordinance. Any person engaged in the act of solicitation under an ordinance shall be 16 years of age or more and shall be wearing a high visibility vest. HB 300 was approved by the House and will next be considered by the Senate. IML has no position on the bill.
 
HB 815 (Rep. Zalewski, D-Chicago) would amend the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) Article of the Illinois Pension Code to provide that certain police officers and firefighters who participate in IMRF may be granted Sheriff's Law Enforcement Employee (SLEP) status with the approval of the employing municipality. The approval resolution must specify that SLEP status shall be applied to employment occurring on or after the adoption of the resolution. The bill provides that the resolution is irrevocable, but shall automatically terminate upon the establishment of an Article 3 or 4 fund by the municipality. HB 815 was approved by the House and will next be considered by the Senate. IML has no position on the bill.
 
HB 2382 (Rep. Riley, D-Hazel Crest) would amend the Fire Hydrant Act. The bill contains provisions concerning the maintenance of and access to specified dry hydrants and provides that all other dry hydrants shall be subject to specified provisions of the Act and a specified additional requirement. HB 2382 was approved by the House and will next be considered by the Senate. IML has no position on the bill.
 
HB 685 (Rep. Moeller, D-Elgin) would amend the Counties Code and Illinois Municipal Code. The bill provides that counties and municipalities may not classify milkweed as a noxious or exotic weed. The bill limits home rule powers. HB 685 was approved by the House and will next be considered by the Senate. IML opposes the home rule preemption.
 
HB 791 (Rep. Demmer, R- Dixon) would prohibit a unit of local government, including a home rule unit, from enacting an ordinance prohibiting the use of autonomous vehicles on its roadways. The bill defines "autonomous vehicle" as any vehicle equipped with autonomous technology that has been integrated into that vehicle capable of driving the vehicle without the active control or monitoring of a human operator. The issue of establishing regulations for autonomous vehicles will be thoroughly discussed by affected parties this session. HB 791 was approved by the House and will next be considered by the Senate. IML is presently reviewing the bill.
 
Legislation Approved by House and Senate Committees
Several IML-tracked bills were approved by substantive committees in the House and Senate last week. These bills are included below:
 
House Bills
 
HB 547 (Rep. Zalewski, D-Chicago) would change the threshold amount under which a municipality would be exempt from publicly bidding a contract to $25,000. The bill also amends the Illinois Local Library Act to provide that before the Board of Library Trustees may commence construction, remodeling, repairing or improving of a library building, it shall advertise for bids if the cost of the project exceeds $25,000. HB 547 was approved by the House Cities and Villages Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 683 (Rep. Beiser, D-Alton) would provide that the maximum length of a truck tractor in combination with a semitrailer may not exceed 65 feet (rather than 55 feet) overall dimension on all non-state highways. The bill removes the requirement that truck tractor-semitrailer combinations must have no more than a maximum 55 feet overall wheel base on Class III roadways and other non-designated state highways and that the distance between the kingpin and the axle of a semitrailer longer than 48 feet, in combination with a truck tractor, may not exceed 42 feet 6 inches, unless the trailer or semitrailer is used for the transport of livestock. The bill further provides that any agency or instrumentality of the state of Illinois or unit of local government may seek recovery for the cost of the repair of damaged or destroyed highways, highway structures, or traffic-control devices that result from operating, driving or moving a truck tractor-semitrailer combination exceeding 55 feet in overall dimension. Additionally, an agency or instrumentality of the state of Illinois or any unit of local government shall not be required to widen or otherwise alter a non-state highway, Class III highway, or other non-designated state highway constructed before the effective date of the bill to accommodate the increase in dimension of a truck tractor-semitrailer combination. HB 683 was approved by the House Transportation: Vehicles and Safety Committee. IML is opposed to the bill.
 
HB 2584 (Rep. DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights) would amend the Local Government Debt Reform Act to provide that all bonds, including general obligation bonds and revenue bonds issued under the Act, shall be secured by a statutory lien on all revenues received or entitled to be received. The statutory lien shall automatically attach from the time the bonds are issued without further action or authorization by the governing authority of the local public entity. The lien shall be a first priority lien unless the bonds so otherwise provide. The provisions apply to all bonds issued by a local public entity, including bonds issued by a local public entity with home rule authority, and that the bonds shall have all of the protection afforded to special revenue bonds under the federal Bankruptcy Code. HB 2584 was approved by the House Cities and Villages Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 2585 (Rep. Deluca, D-Chicago Heights) would amend the Notice By Publication Act and the Newspaper Legal Notice Act to provide that, if notice is required to be published in a newspaper that is published in a particular unit of local government or school district, and if there is no newspaper published in that unit of local government or school district, then the notice may be published in a secular newspaper having general circulation within the unit of local government or school district (currently, those Acts require the newspaper to be published in the county in which the unit of local government or school district is located or in an adjoining county). The bill also provides that the newspaper shall cause the notice to be placed (instead of "place the notice") on the statewide website established and maintained as a joint venture of the majority of Illinois newspapers as a repository for such notices. HB 2585 was approved by the House Cities and Villages Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 2661 (Rep. Sente, D-Vernon Hills) would amend the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems Act to provide that an EMR, EMT, EMT-I, A-EMT or Paramedic may transport a police dog injured in the line of duty to a veterinary clinic or similar facility if there are no persons requiring medical attention or transport at that time. HB 2661 was approved by the Fire and Emergency Services Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 2721 (Rep. Conway, D-Villa Park) would amend the Illinois Insurance Code, the State Employees Group Insurance Act of 1971, the Counties Code, the Illinois Municipal Code, the School Code, the Health Maintenance Organization Act, the Limited Health Service Organization Act and the Voluntary Health Services Plans Act. The bill would provide that a group or individual policy of accident and health insurance or managed care plan amended, delivered, issued or renewed after the effective date of the amendatory Act shall provide coverage for treatment of pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections and pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome, including, but not limited to, the use of intravenous immunoglobulin therapy. The bill was approved by the House Insurance: Health and Life Committee. IML has no position on the bill.
 
HB 2749 (Rep. Guzzardi, D-Chicago) would amend the Minimum Wage Law to provide that the overtime requirements of the law do not apply to an employee employed in a bona fide executive, administrative or professional capacity as defined by or covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 but compensated at a salary greater than $47,476 per year (rather than an amount specified by a federal regulation) or the weekly or monthly portion thereof or a greater salary as may be adopted by the U.S. Department of Labor. The amount would also increase annually by the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index. HB 2749 was approved by the House Economic Opportunity Committee. IML is presently reviewing the bill.
 
HB 2957 (Rep. Fine, D-Glenview) would amend the Illinois Insurance Code to provide that every policy of accident and health insurance amended, delivered, issued or renewed after the effective date of the amendatory Act that provides coverage for prescription drugs shall provide for synchronization of prescription drug refills on at least one occasion per insured per year provided that certain conditions are met. The bill requires insurers to provide prorated daily cost-sharing rates when necessary. The bill makes a corresponding change in the Illinois Municipal Code, among other Acts. HB 2957 was approved by the House Insurance: Health and Life Committee. IML is presently reviewing the bill.
 
HB 2966 (Rep. Andrade, D-Chicago) would amend the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) Article of the Illinois Pension Code. In a provision that requires an additional contribution from a participating municipality or participating instrumentality for certain increases in reported earnings, changes a reference from "salary" to "reported earnings" and provides that the change is a clarification of existing law and is intended to be retroactive to January 1, 2012 (the effective date of Public Act 97-609). In a provision establishing the board of trustees, provides that no person shall be eligible to become a trustee who does not have the minimum service credit in the Fund to qualify for a pension (instead of at least eight years of creditable service). HB 2966 was approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee. IML has no position on the bill.
 
HB 3006 (Rep. Riley, D-Hazel Crest) would amend the Freedom of Information Act to delete language providing that a public body that maintains a website shall also post specified information on its website. The bill provides that a unit of local government or school district with annual operating expenditures of more than $1 million for two consecutive years that has a website maintained by the full-time staff of the public body shall post to that website specified information. A public record is considered published on the public body's website even if it is hosted on a website that is maintained by another governmental entity if a hyperlink to the public record is provided on the public body's website. The bill also amends the Local Records Act to repeal a Section providing that specified units of local government and school districts shall post specified information to their websites. HB 3006 was approved by the House State Government Administration Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 3061 (Rep. Guzzardi, D-Chicago) would amend the General Provisions Article of the Illinois Pension Code to require the Illinois Investment Policy Board to make its best efforts to identify all companies that contract to build a border wall and include those companies in the list of restricted companies distributed to each retirement system and the Illinois State Board of Investment. HB 3061 was approved by the House Economic Opportunity Committee. IML has no position on the bill.
 
HB 3070 (Rep. Martwick, D-Norridge) would amend the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) Article of the Illinois Pension Code. With respect to establishing certain types of service credit in the Fund, provides that application and payment must be received by the board while the applicant is an active participant, except that one payment will be permitted after termination of participation. HB 3070 was approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee. IML has no position on the bill.
 
HB 3242 (Rep. Winger, R-Wood Dale) would amend the Freedom of Information Act to provide that except as otherwise provided in the Act, the public body shall apply the Act in a uniform manner, regardless of who requests to inspect or copy a public record. The bill provides that all fees charged by a public body shall be according to a fee schedule that is part of a public record of the body. HB 3242 was approved by the House State Government Administration Committee. IML has no position on the bill.
 
HB 3326 (Rep. Ives, R-Wheaton) would amend the Open Meetings Act to specify that at each regular or special meeting that is open to the public, any person shall have the opportunity to address public officials with comments or questions, subject to reasonable constraints. The bill provides that any answers to questions asked during the open meeting shall be provided by the public body within 45 days. If a court determines that a public body willfully and intentionally failed to comply with the Act, or otherwise acted in bad faith, the court shall, in addition to any other relief authorized, impose a civil penalty of not less than $2,500, but no more than $5,000, for each violation. The court shall (currently, may) assess against any party, except a state's attorney, reasonable attorney's fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred by any other party who prevails (currently, substantially prevails) in an action brought under the Act. HB 3326 was approved by the State Government Administration Committee. IML opposes the bill.
 
HB 3385 (Rep. Ives, R-Wheaton) would amend the Freedom of Information Act to provide that each public body shall designate one or more public officials or employees of the public body (instead of "one or more officials or employees") to act as its Freedom of Information officer or officers. HB 3326 was approved by the House State Government Administration Committee. IML is presently reviewing the bill.
 
HB 3626 (Rep. Andersson, R-Geneva) would amend the Open Meetings Act to provide that any person seeking to address public officials in an open meeting shall be allowed to do so at least once per meeting, and any rule limiting a person to speaking no more than once in a given number of days shall be void. The bill allows the public body to reasonably limit the amount of time given to a person to address public officials during an open meeting. Additionally, there shall be nothing under the rules established and recorded by the public body requiring persons seeking to address public officials to do anything more than state his or her name for the record immediately prior to addressing the public officials. HB 3626 was approved by the House State Government Administration Committee. IML is presently reviewing the bill.
 
Senate Bills
 
SB 658  (Sen. Landek, D-Bridgeview) increases the base amount from $20,000 to $30,000 for public improvement or maintenance of public property at which a municipality must enter into a contract by public bid or four-fifths council approval. The bill was approved by the Senate Government Reform Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
SB 981 (Sen. Biss, D-Evanston) amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003 by prohibiting an employer from: (i) screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history, (ii) requiring that an applicant's prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, and (iii) requesting or requiring as a condition of being interviewed or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment that an applicant disclose prior wages or salary. The bill also prohibits an employer from seeking the salary, including benefits or other compensation or salary history, of a job applicant from any current or former employer. The bill provides for penalties and injunctive relief.  The bill was approved by the Senate Labor Committee.  IML opposes the bill.
 
SB 1335 (Sen. Bush, D-Grayslake) amends the Downstate Firefighter Article of the Illinois Pension Code by requiring a unit of local government that employs a firefighter who is a full-time firefighter in a different downstate firefighter pension fund to make specified contributions to that downstate firefighter pension fund. It also establishes reporting requirements. The state Comptroller may intercept state funds in the event the unit of local government does not make its required contribution to the primary employer's downstate pension fund. The bill amends the State Mandates Act to require implementation without reimbursement. The bill was approved by the Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee.  IML opposes the bill.
 
SB 1722 (Sen. Munoz, D-Chicago) currently contains no substantive language.  However, Amendment #2, which was approved by the Senate Criminal Law Committee, makes various changes to sentencing guideline ranges.  Of note to municipalities, the bill provides that when a person is convicted of unlawful use or possession of a weapon by a felon, or aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, when the weapon is a firearm, after being previously convicted of a qualifying predicate offense, the person shall be subject to certain sentencing guidelines. It also provides that when a person is convicted of unlawful use or possession of a weapon by a felon, when the weapon is a firearm, and that person has been previously convicted of a qualifying predicate offense, the person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment within the sentencing range of not less than seven years and not more than 14 years, unless the court finds that a departure from the sentencing guidelines is warranted. In addition, the amendment also provides that when a person is convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, when the weapon is a firearm, and that person has been previously convicted of a qualifying predicate offense, the person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment within the sentencing range of not less than six years and not more than seven years, unless the court finds that a departure from the sentencing guidelines is warranted. In deciding whether to depart from the sentencing guideline ranges, the court shall consider certain specified factors. The court shall specify on the record, the particular evidence, information, factor or factors, or other reasons that led to the departure from the sentencing guidelines. The sentencing order shall be filed with the clerk of the court and shall be a public record.  This legislation contains an IML policy objective found in our Moving Cities Forward Agenda.
 
SB 1576 (Sen. Anderson, R-Moline) provides that upon a declaration by the Governor that an emergency harvest situation exists, a special permit issued by the Department of Transportation shall be required from September 1 through December 31 during harvest season emergencies for a vehicle that exceeds the maximum axle weight and gross limits or a vehicle that exceeds its registered gross weight, provided that the vehicle's axle weight and gross weight do not both exceed 10 percent above the maximum specified limits, and does not exceed the vehicle's registered gross weight by 10 percent.  All other restrictions that apply to permits issued shall apply during the declared period and no fee shall be charged for the issuance of those permits.  The permits issued by the Department are only valid on federal and state highways under the jurisdiction of the Department, except interstate highways.  With respect to highways under the jurisdiction of local authorities, the local authorities may, at their discretion, waive special permit requirements during harvest season emergencies, and set a divisible load weight limit not to exceed 10 percent of a vehicle's registered gross weight, provided that the vehicle's axle weight and gross weight do not exceed 10 percent above the maximum specified limits.  Any vehicle operating under an emergency harvest permit shall not be in violation of a section concerning the effect of provisions within the original and renewal of registration article of the Illinois Vehicle Code. The bill was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee. IML opposes the bill.
 
SB 1581 (Sen. Anderson, R-Moline) reduces the surcharge penalty imposed in sentencing for an offense concerning vehicle wheel and axle loads and gross weights after the first $330 to $10 (currently $15) for each subsequent $40. The bill was approved by the Senate Criminal Law Committee. IML opposes the bill.  
 
SB 1714 (Sen. Clayborne, D-Belleville) amends the General Provisions Article of the Illinois Pension Code by requiring a consultant to annually disclose to either 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.  The consultant shall also disclose any compensation or economic opportunity received in the last 24 months from investment advisors retained by the board of a retirement system, board of a pension fund or investment board. These disclosure requirements shall be considered before awarding a contract for consulting services. The bill was approved by the Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee.  This legislation remains under review. 
 
SB 1895 (Sen. McCann, R-Carlinville) states that any individual who serves as either emergency medical services personnel on a volunteer basis or as a firefighter on a volunteer basis may not be disciplined or terminated by his or her employer for responding to an emergency call or emergency text message during work hours that requests the individual's volunteer emergency medical services or volunteer firefighter services.  The bill was approved by the Senate Labor Committee.  This legislation remains under review. 
 
USDOT Initiating New Rulemaking Concerning MPO Merger
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced that a proposed rule that would have negatively affected several Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in Illinois and surrounding states will be reevaluated. The originally proposed rule would have required some or all of the MPOs in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin to merge into a single MPO. Such a federally-required merger process is unnecessary because the various MPOs in Illinois and surrounding states already have a harmonious and cooperative working relationship. IML sent USDOT a letter on August 19, 2016 in opposition to the originally proposed rule. The letter is available here. 
 
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 over 700 bills out of the more than 6,500 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.
 
The Municipal Attorneys Seminar is Only Three Weeks Away
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 Subjects of Bargaining; Appellate Practice; Ethics for Government Lawyers; 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.