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IML Statehouse Briefing - April 10, 2017

The number of bills tracked by the Illinois Municipal League (IML) declined by 60% following House and Senate deadlines for moving bills out of committee in their chamber of origin. Our focus now turns to those bills that remain, as well as new amendments filed that contain provisions affecting municipalities.
 
Both the House and Senate were in session last week to consider amendments to existing bills and debate legislation prior to holding votes to move bills to the opposite chamber. 
 
The House and Senate are taking a two-week recess and will reconvene during the week of April 24, 2017. This will leave one week for each chamber to move bills over to the opposite chamber ahead of the April 28, 2017 Third Reading deadline.
 
CRITICAL ISSUES UPDATE
The following issues are highlighted because of their significance to municipalities.
 
Small Cell Wireless Facility Legislation Update
Telecommunication industry representatives have yet to provide written comments following an April 3 conference call with IML. In addition, comments from the cable industry have yet to be fully addressed. IML will continue to advocate for amendments to the bill. Please contact your senators and inform them of your opposition to SB 1451 as written.
 
IML contacts for this legislation are: Patrick Hayes, phayes@iml.org and Jessica DeWalt jdewalt@iml.org.  
 
TIF Restriction Legislation
HB 2964 (Rep. Nekritz, D-Northbrook) would amend the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment (TIF) Act of the Illinois Municipal Code to provide that when a redevelopment project area has been dissolved, completed or terminated under the 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 opposes the bill as introduced.
 
This legislation would undermine the ability of a municipality to employ TIF as an effective tool to rehabilitate blighted properties. IML met with Representative Nekritz to discuss the issue. As a result of that meeting, Representative Nekritz plans to file an amendment intended to address some concerns of TIF opponents while preserving municipal authority to utilize TIF to improve the condition of properties in need of this important funding source. The bill is presently on the House floor.
 
NEW ISSUES UPDATE
The following issues are appearing in the Statehouse Briefing for the first time.
 
Senate Committee Action
Several IML-tracked bills were approved by substantive Senate committees last week. Those bills on which IML took a position are included below:
 
SB 14 (Sen. J. Cullerton, D-Chicago/Rep. Currie, D-Chicago) would amend the Illinois Pension Code with benefit and funding reforms affecting participants in the Chicago Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund and the Laborers’ and Retirement Board Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund. Similar legislation (SB 2437) previously passed both chambers only to be vetoed by Governor Rauner on March 24, 2017. The bill was approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
SB 1783 (Sen. Stadelman, D-Rockford) would amend the Illinois Income Tax Act and the Illinois Insurance Code to provide that all or a portion of the income tax credit awarded for the restoration and preservation of a qualified historic structure located in a River Edge Redevelopment Zone may instead be taken as a credit against privilege and retaliatory taxes paid under the Illinois Insurance Code. The bill makes other changes and provides that the credit sunsets on December 31, 2021 (currently December 31, 2017). The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
SB 2022 (Sen. McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods) would amend the Property Tax Code. In a section concerning valuation in years other than general assessment years, the bill provides that the section shall not be construed to prevent valuation changes under other sections of this Code. The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
PREVIOUS ISSUES UPDATE
The following issues have been included in previous Statehouse Briefings and
have since undergone a change in status.
 
Legislation Approved by the House
Several IML-tracked bills passed out of the Illinois House of Representatives last week. Those bills on which IML took a position are included below:

HB 2363 (Rep. Morrison, R-Palatine/Sen. Connelly, R-Naperville) would amend the Illinois Highway Code to provide that in order to properly plan for 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 period not to exceed 20 years (rather than a 20 year long-range highway transportation plan). IML and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) drafted the amendment that ultimately became the bill. The bill was approved by the House and will next be considered in the Senate. IML supports the bill as amended.
 
HB 3108 (Rep. Cavaletto, R-Salem/Sen. Anderson, R-Moline) would amend the Illinois Finance Authority Act to provide that a loan from the Ambulance Revolving Loan Fund for the purchase of an ambulance may not exceed $200,000 (currently $100,000). The bill was approved by the House and will next be considered in the Senate. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 3396 (Rep. Fortner, R-West Chicago/Sen. Rezin, R-Peru) would amend the Illinois Joint Municipal Electric Power Act of the Illinois Municipal Code to provide that "eligible utilities" under the Act includes 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 and will next be considered in the Senate. IML supports the bill.
 
Legislation Approved by the Senate
The following bills on which IML has a position were approved by the Illinois Senate:
 
SB 51 (Sen. Bivins, R-Dixon/Rep. Beiser, D-Alton) would amend the Illinois Vehicle Code to 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 also 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. The bill was approved by the Senate and will next be considered in the House. IML opposes the bill.
 
SB 609 (Sen. Morrison, D-Deerfield) would amend the Property Tax Code to provide that, if the Property Tax Appeal Board renders a decision after the deadline for filing complaints with the board of review, or after adjournment of the session of the board of review, for any subsequent year in the general assessment period (instead of the subsequent year only), then the taxpayer may appeal the assessment for those subsequent years directly to the Property Tax Appeal Board. The bill was approved by the Senate and will next be considered in the House. IML opposes 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 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.