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IML Statehouse Briefing - March 27, 2017

The House was in session last week and continued to move bills through the committee process ahead of the Friday, March 31 deadline for advancing House bills out of substantive House committees. This Statehouse Briefing includes an update on bills tracked by the Illinois Municipal League (IML) that were approved by substantive committees in the House last week.
 
Both the House and Senate will convene for legislative activity this week.
 
CRITICAL ISSUES UPDATE
The following issues are highlighted because of their significance to municipalities.
 
Public Duty Rule Legislation Scheduled for Hearing
Restoring the public duty rule following an Illinois Supreme Court decision in early 2016 that struck down the long-standing common law provision is a key component of IML’s 2017 legislative agenda. Without the protection afforded by the public duty rule, municipalities and first responders are exposed to litigation that, prior to the Supreme Court decision, would not have occurred.
 
HB 2349 (Rep. K. Wheeler, R-Oswego) is IML-supported legislation to codify the public duty doctrine into Illinois statute. IML is partnering with the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois (AFFI) to advance the bill. The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) is opposed to codification of the public duty rule. The legislation is scheduled for a hearing in the Tort Liability Law Subcommittee on Wednesday, March 29. This subcommittee is housed within the House Judiciary: Civil Law Committee.
 
Small Cell Wireless Facility Legislation Update
Negotiations on amendments to SB 1451 (Sen. Link, D-Gurnee) have not resulted in sufficient improvement to remove IML’s opposition to the bill.  The industry’s proposed language to date would allow carriers to access the right-of-way without paying permit fees, attach small wireless facilities to municipal light, sign and traffic control poles without paying the full cost of the modifications needed to support the equipment, pay no more than $1.66 per month for rent of that pole space and would expose municipalities to risks caused by the installation without fully protecting local residents from the costs of those risks. The proposed 90-day time limit for permitting, including bulk permits of up to 25 locations, will likely overwhelm municipal staffs and result in many permits being automatically ‘deemed approved’ without adequate review.  Municipalities would also be required to provide make-ready analyses and estimates within 60 days of receipt of a permit application.  In addition, municipalities would have little leeway to provide alternate locations for industry’s chosen sites. IML remains opposed to the bill and will continue to advocate for changes to address municipal concerns.  Please contact your senators and inform them of your opposition to SB 1451.
 
IML contacts for this legislation are: Patrick Hayes, phayes@iml.org and Jessica DeWalt jdewalt@iml.org.  
 
NEW ISSUES UPDATE
The following issues are appearing in the Statehouse Briefing for the first time.
 
Legislation Approved by House Committees
Several IML-tracked bills were approved by substantive committees in the House last week. These bills are included below:
 
HB 270 (Rep. Wallace, D-Rockford) would create the Law Enforcement Sexual Assault Investigation Act. The bill would provide that allegations of sexual assault by a police officer while performing his or her duties shall immediately be reported to the police officer's supervisory or command personnel and an independent law enforcement agency. The independent law enforcement agency shall conduct a formal investigation of the allegations and provide written findings and recommendations to the State's Attorney and police officer's supervisory or command personnel, which may be the basis for filing charges seeking the police officer's removal, discharge or suspension. The bill limits home rule powers and amends the Illinois Police Training Act to provide that the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board shall adopt written protocols and guidelines for the investigation of law enforcement officers accused of sexual assault. The bill was approved by the House Judiciary – Criminal Law Committee. IML does not presently have a position on this bill.
 
HB 535 (Rep. Hoffman, D-Belleville) would amend the Counties Code and Illinois Municipal Code to provide that the Illinois Commerce Commission (currently, a court of competent jurisdiction) will determine whether the installation, maintenance, repair, or removal of a community antenna would create a dangerous condition or interrupt service. The bill would also amend the Crossing of Railroad Right-of-Way Act to add providers of broadband service to the definition of "utility." The bill would also amend the Illinois Vehicle Code to provide that cable operators, holders of state authorizations and broadband service providers shall not be prevented by a railroad from entering onto railroad real estate or right-of-way for purposes of construction or installation of system or facilities if they have followed the procedures to enter the property as required by statute. The bill was approved by the House Public Utilities Committee. IML does not presently have a position on this bill.
 
HB 688 (Rep. Zalewski, D-Riverside) would amend the Downstate Firefighter and Chicago Firefighter Articles of the Illinois Pension Code to authorize a firefighter to transfer up to 10 years of creditable service in a downstate firefighter pension fund to the Firemen's Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago upon payment of a specified amount. The bill was approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee. IML does not presently have a position on the bill.
 
HB 689 (Rep. Guzzardi, D-Chicago) would create the Seizure and Forfeiture Reporting Act. The bill provides that the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority shall establish and maintain on its official website a searchable public database that includes specified information about property seized and forfeited under state law and under any agreement with the federal government. Every law enforcement agency that seizes property subject to reporting under the Act shall report the specified information required under the Act on a monthly basis. The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority may recoup its costs under the Act by charging a fee to law enforcement agencies required to file a report. The Act applies to provisions of law that authorize a law enforcement agency to seize property alleged to have been used in or derived from the commission of a criminal offense. The bill creates the Asset Forfeiture Proceeds Disbursement Law to provide that the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority shall award grants under the procedures of the Act for the disbursement of monies collected in the Asset Forfeiture Proceeds Fund. The bill changes most forfeiture distributions from law enforcement agencies to the Asset Forfeiture Proceeds Fund and makes changes to the procedures and distribution of contraband proceeds to various governmental units and agencies. The bill was approved by the House Judiciary – Criminal Law Committee. IML opposes the bill.
 
HB 2363 (Rep. Morrison, R-Palatine) would provide that in order to properly plan the utilization of motor fuel tax funds, each municipality of over 5,000 population shall be required to develop and update a long-range highway transportation plan for a time period not to exceed 20 years. As initially drafted, the bill would have required that a plan be developed every five years (rather than every 20 years). IML spoke with the sponsor and learned that his intent was not to impose such a mandate. Consequently, IML drafted an amendment that eased the mandate under existing law requiring the development of a highway transportation plan every 20 years. The IML amendment, which was adopted onto the bill, provides options for municipalities to develop shorter-term highway transportation plans if such plans work better for the municipality. The bill was approved by the House Transportation: Regulation, Roads and Bridges Committee. IML supports the bill as amended.
 
HB 2453 (Rep. Stuart, D-Edwardsville) would amend the Downstate Public Transportation Act, the Retailers' Occupation Tax Act, the Service Occupation Tax Act, the Use Tax Act and the Service Use Tax Act. Beginning July 1, 2018, instead of use and occupation tax collections being deposited into the General Revenue Fund and then transferred monthly by the Comptroller from the General Revenue Fund to the Downstate Public Transportation Fund, requires the Department of Revenue to deposit the designated fraction of the net revenue realized from those collections directly into the Downstate Public Transportation Fund. The bill was approved by the House Mass Transit Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 2492 (Rep. Walsh, Jr., D-Joliet) would amend the Illinois Vehicle Code (Code) to provide that except for weight limits on Class I highways under a chapter in the Code governing size, weight, load and permits, the provisions under that chapter governing size, weight and load (rather than size and load) do not apply to fire apparatus or emergency vehicles (rather than only fire apparatus). The bill was approved by the House Transportation: Vehicles and Safety Committee. IML does not presently have a position on the bill.
 
HB 2525 (Rep. Hoffman, D-Belleville) would amend the Employer's Liability Rates Article of the Illinois Insurance Code to provide that a rate is excessive if it is likely to produce a long run profit that is unreasonably high for the insurance provided or if expenses are unreasonably high in relation to the services rendered. The bill repeals provisions making presumptions that a competitive market exists, determining whether a competitive market exists and disapproval of rates under specified circumstances. The bill also amends the Workers' Compensation Act to provide that accidental injuries sustained while traveling to or from work do not arise out of and in the course of employment. The bill permits an employer to file with the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission) a workers' compensation safety program or a workers' compensation return to work program implemented by the employer. The bill provides that the Commission may certify any such safety program as a bona fide safety program after reviewing the program. In a provision concerning compensation for the period of temporary total incapacity for work resulting from an accidental injury, provides that (i) injuries to the shoulder shall be considered injuries to part of the arm and (ii) injuries to the hip shall be considered injuries to part of the leg. The bill contains provisions concerning repetitive and cumulative injuries; permanent partial disability determinations; electronic claims; annual reports by the Commission concerning the state of self-insurance for workers' compensation in Illinois; and duties of the Workers' Compensation Premium Rates Task Force; and other matters. The bill was approved by the House Labor and Commerce Committee. IML opposes the bill.
 
HB 2581 (Rep. Pritchard, R-Sycamore) would amend the Toll Highway Act to provide that when the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (Authority) has built or will build grade separations or interchange improvements at intersections with any railroads, waterways, street railways, streets, thoroughfares, public roads or highways intersected with the toll highways, the local highway agency or municipality with jurisdiction shall enter into an agreement with the Authority for the ongoing maintenance of the structures. The bill was approved by the House Tollway Oversight Committee. IML opposes the bill.
 
HB 2756 (Rep. Fortner, R-West Chicago) would amend the Counties Code to change the application of provisions concerning allowing management and mitigation of the effects of urbanization on stormwater drainage in metropolitan counties located in the area served by the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission to those located in the area served by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. The bill authorizes all counties (currently, only specified counties) to adopt stormwater management plans. Each counties' minimum standards for floodplain and stormwater management should have an emphasis on the use of cost effective, nature-based solutions and provide examples of such solutions. The stormwater management plans shall evaluate water quality and flooding problems caused by urban flooding. A stormwater management planning committee may make grants to units of local government and landowners under specified conditions. The bill was approved by the House Counties and Townships Committee. IML does not presently have a position on the bill.
 
HB 2842 (Rep. Rita, D-Blue Island) would amend the Environmental Protection Act to provide that applicants for local siting approval shall submit evidence to demonstrate compliance. The bill provides that applicants for local siting approval shall present testimony subject to cross-examination at specified public hearings. The bill was approved by the House Environment Committee. IML has no position on the bill.
 
HB 3108 (Rep. Cavaletto, R-Salem) would amend the Illinois Finance Authority Act. In sections concerning the Fire Truck Revolving Loan Fund, the Fire Station Revolving Loan Fund, and the Ambulance Revolving Loan Fund, provides that repayments of loans made under those programs (and interest on those moneys) may be retained by the Authority and used for the purposes for which they are otherwise authorized to be used (currently, deposited into the Fire Truck Revolving Loan Fund, the Fire Station Revolving Loan Fund, and the Ambulance Revolving Loan Fund, as applicable). A loan for the purchase of an ambulance may not exceed $200,000 (instead of $100,000). The bill was approved by the House Fire and Emergency Services Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 3120 (Rep. Demmer, R-Dixon) would amend the Prevailing Wage Act to provide that if the Department of Labor ascertains the prevailing rate of wages for a public body, the public body may satisfy the Act's notice by newspaper publication obligation by posting on the public body's website a hyperlink to the prevailing wage schedule that is published on the official website of the Department of Labor. The bill was approved by the House Labor and Commerce Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 3187 (Rep. Meier, R-Highland) would amend the Illinois Municipal Code by increasing the amount of non-home rule municipal retailers' occupation taxes, non-home rule municipal service occupation taxes and non-home rule municipal use taxes a non-home rule municipality may impose from 1% to 1.5%. The bill removes a restriction requiring the taxes to be imposed in 0.25% increments. The bill was approved by the House Revenue and Finance Committee. IML supports the bill.

HB 3396 (Rep. Fortner, R-West Chicago) would amend the Illinois Joint Municipal Electric Power Act of the Illinois Municipal Code to provide that "eligible utilities" under the Act include an electric cooperative which is an independent system operator within the electrical power system, a regional transmission organization within the electrical power system or an entity that participates as a buyer or seller in an organized independent system operator market or regional transmission organization market. The bill was approved by the House Public Utilities Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 3418 (Rep. Harper, D-Chicago) would amend the Counties Code and Illinois Municipal Code to provide that a county or municipality may create an urban agricultural zone (UAZ) composed of organizations or persons who grow produce or other agricultural products; who raise livestock or poultry; who process livestock or poultry; or who sell a minimum of 75% locally grown food. The bill provides for the creation of a UAZ board to advise the county board, county board of commissioners, or corporate authorities of a municipality on UAZs. The bill provides for county and municipal public hearing and notice requirements before adoption of an ordinance to establish a UAZ. Property taxes on property located within a UAZ shall not be increased, if so provided in the UAZ ordinance, for a period of up to 25 years. Sales tax amounts received from the sale of agricultural products sold in a UAZ shall be deposited in the Urban Agricultural Zone Fund and specifies distribution to the county, municipality or school districts under specified circumstances. The bill was approved by the House Business Incentives for Local Communities Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 3469 (Rep. Bennett, R-Pontiac) would amend the Illinois Vehicle Code to provide that a vehicle operated by a fire chief or the director or coordinator of a municipal or county emergency services and disaster agency may be equipped with a siren, whistle or bell capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 500 feet. The bill was approved by the House Transportation: Vehicles and Safety Committee. IML has no position on the bill.
 
HB 3720 (Rep. Harper, D-Chicago) would amend the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act of the Illinois Municipal Code to provide that surplus tax revenues may be used to pay for costs of special education, social services and other costs of a public school district. The bill provides that for municipalities with a population of over one million people, redevelopment project costs include public school district qualified workers, costs of providing special educational facilities and services, school psychological services, and school social work services, and any surplus balance in the special tax allocation fund at the end of the fiscal year shall be used for these workers, facilities and services. The bill removes provisions allowing anticipated redevelopment project costs to be deemed surplus funds. The bill was approved by the House Revenue and Finance Committee. IML does not presently have a position on the bill.
 
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.
 
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.