CRMA – 121 Report – November 2018

Chicago City Council Ordinance and Resolution Introductions

INTRODUCTIONS

ORDINANCE – BAN ON PLASTIC STRAWS AND STIRRERS

Sponsors: Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th Ward) and Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward) 

Joint Committee: Aviation and Finance

 

There were a number of ballot questions in this past election for Chicago residents to consider. Among them was a question asking if plastic straws should be banned. Of those voting on the question, 55% voted “Yes” and 45% voted “No.” With those results, the sponsors decided to move forward with a proposal to ban businesses from selling or otherwise providing plastic straws or stirrers to customers. Alternatives can be sold/offered as long as they are reusable and/or biodegradable.

There has been a push in the environmental advocacy community to ban plastic straws that it says has damaging effects to marine life. And while alternatives do exist, there have been significant challenges in being able to access the amount of alternatives needed to supply large, national/international companies. Seattle recently banned food service businesses from using and giving away plastic straws, utensils and cocktail picks in favor of compostable products. Seattle also mandates and provides composting services for a fee. In addition, the city allows businesses to keep plastic straws on hand to give to customers upon request. A number of large businesses have announced plans to change from plastic straws/stirrers to an alternative, but doing so takes time. Starbucks will have alternatives by 2020, Marriott will do the same by July 2019 and American Airlines switched this month. All of the companies went through rigorous testing and studied pricing and availability for over a year before making the transition. This proposal will require businesses to make the change in six months’ time.

IRMA has concerns that this proposal does not allow businesses to keep plastic straws upon request, especially for our customers that have developmental and/or medical challenges that make it difficult for them to use some of the more popular alternatives. We are also concerned that large companies are having a difficult time finding adequate supplies of alternatives which has made the price of those alternatives increase and made it more difficult for smaller businesses to access the alternatives. Lastly, we have concerns that this proposal is yet another increased cost of doing business in Chicago.

ORDINANCE – BAN ON THE SALE OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS, ACCESSORIES AND LIQUID VAPING PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN MENTHOL FLAVORING

Sponsor: Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward)

Committee: Finance

This proposal follows action taken by the city of San Francisco this year to ban the sale of tobacco products containing menthol. It is estimated that San Francisco will lose about $50 million in tobacco tax revenue in response to the measure. Chicago’s proposal was introduced a day before the FDA announced that it would begin procedures to look into banning cigarettes that contain menthol. The FDA is choosing not to move towards banning menthol in e-cigarettes and vaping products because it is concerned that such a move will act as a dis-incentive for adults to switch from smoking to vaping. The Chicago proposal would ban menthol in all products.

IRMA opposes this measure. If such an action does not occur on the federal level, Chicago will be ceding sales of the product to nearby jurisdictions as well as to the underground, illegal market. This will exacerbate the issue certain communities already have with the illegal, uncontrolled sale of unstamped cigarettes and would blow a hole in the already shrinking tobacco tax revenue the city is receiving.

 

PROPOSALS FOR PUBLIC QUESTIONS ON THE FEBRUARY 2019 BALLOT

The following questions were introduced for consideration on the next municipal ballot, but due to timing, none of them will be considered. All of them focus on increasing the real estate transfer tax as a way to generate more revenue to tackle very specific public policy issues. Mayor Emanuel publicly expressed reservations that Aldermen should refrain from treating home and business owners as continual sources for more revenue, even if the goal is to fund worthy projects. IRMA members should note what was being proposed and keep them in mind as Chicago works through its election season. Depending on the changes in the Mayor’s office and the Council, it is possible that we may see these themes again under a new administration:

1. Shall the City of Chicago impose a real estate transfer tax increase of 27% for all transfer price that is above $1 million to establish a new transfer tax rate of $3.75 per $500 of all of the transfer price that is at or below $1 million, and $4.75 per $500 of all of the transfer price that is above $1 million to be paid by the buyer of the real estate transferred? The increase in revenue would benefit the pension funds for fire fighters and police officers.

2. Shall the City of Chicago impose a real estate transfer tax increase of 160% to establish a new tax rate of $9.75 for every $500 of transfer price or fraction thereof for transfers over $1 million in transfer price to be paid by the buyer of the real estate transferred? The increase will be used to provide resources for housing and services to combat homelessness in the City of Chicago.

3. Shall the City of Chicago impose a real estate transfer tax increase of 133% to establish a new transfer tax rate of $9.75 for every $500 of transfer price, or fraction thereof, for transfers over $750,000 in transfer price to be paid by the buyer of the real estate transferred? The increased revenue would be used for the sole purpose of retrofitting and remediating the city’s water delivery pipes and infrastructure to eliminate lead and other harmful materials from the water delivered to the city’s residents, schools, parks, businesses and visitors.

 

PASSED LEGISLATION

2019 MANAGEMENT ORDINANCE (Effective Date: January 1, 2019)

The City’s annual Management Ordinance generally is amended during the budget season to clean up language that may conflict with state and/or federal law. It has also been used to add strengthen regulations and add new roles/responsibilities. For example, this year, the Council has added a new Department of Housing, recognizing the increasing costs of living in the city and the difficult process of trying to address gentrification.

Retail and restaurants will be most interested in the following changes:

Food Code: Minor, non-substantive changes have been made to ensure that definitions refer to the FDA’s Food Code (pages 48-52)

Benches on the Public Way: The department noticed that a number of businesses were affixing non-advertising benches to the public way for the comfort of their customers and other passers-by. While the benches are often a nice touch, they are illegal without a permit. This part of the ordinance ensures that business owners that wish to add benches must first seek a permit that must be approved by the City Council (pages 52-56)

Protesting a Tax Determination/Assessment: Allows a person to either pay the tax with interest under protest while they appeal, or they can pay $10,000, whichever is less. Also sets forth timing on appeals (pages 56-58)

Deceptive Practices (Food): Clarifies that retailers are allowed to sell out of date shelf-stable products as long as the products are clearly labeled and separated from merchandise that is not out of date; ultimately this kind of violation will be eligible for pre-payment so that business owners found in violation can avoid the administrative hearings process if they so choose (page 61)

 

2019 REVENUE ORDINANCE (Effective Date: January 1, 2019)

The annual Revenue Ordinance encapsulates all changes to revenue that were considered during the budget process. While the City Council can make changes to revenue throughout the year these changes reflect what the elected officials believe is necessary to have a balanced budget for the upcoming year.

Retail and restaurants will be most interested in the following changes:

Deceptive Practices: Changes the general fine from not less than $2000 and no more than $10,000 per offense, to not less than $500 and no more than $10,000 per offense (page 1)

Retail Tobacco Dealer License Fees: Doubles per location fees and cash register fees to $500 and $330 respectively (page 2)

City Council is scheduled to meet again on Wednesday, December 12, 2018.

CONTACT:

Tanya TricheTanya Triche Dawood
Vice President, General Counsel
Illinois Retail Merchants Association
312-726-4600
ttrichedawood@irma.org

CRMA 121 Report – October 2018

OCTOBER 1, 2018

More about CRMA

Chicago City Council Ordinance and Resolution Introductions

INTRODUCTIONS

ORDINANCE – AMENDING THE BOUNDARIES FOR THE SALE OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS

Sponsors: Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward)

Committee: License and Consumer Protection

Currently, the law states that retailers are prohibited from selling tobacco products within 100ft of the property line of a school, day care or any other facility used primarily for the education/recreation of children under 18 years old. This proposal would change the measurement from property line to property line, to door to door. Therefore, if a tobacco retailer were located in a strip mall or an enclosed building, they wouldn’t be precluded from selling tobacco products simply because the outer line of the entire building is within 100ft of a prohibited location. IRMA supports this proposal.

 

ORDINANCE – CLEAN DRINKING WATER TRANSFER TAX

Sponsors: Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward) and Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th Ward)

Committee: Finance

A recent sampling from homes in Chicago found that 30% of those homes had lead in the tap water at an amount higher than what the FDA allows in bottled water. Some blame the higher concentrations on the city’s continued use of lead service lines even though the lines are actually serviced by individual homeowners. The city now distributes lead testing kits for free to homeowners upon request, but has not agreed to overhaul the remaining lead service lines. While the city is not running afoul of federal law with the amount of lead found in its tap water, health advocates argue that any consumption of lead from water is too much.

This proposal would add a $50 flat fee to be collected whenever real estate is transferred and the transfer tax is owed. The proposal does not though, direct the revenue to any specific fund for replacing the city’s lead service lines or other cause that would help eradicate this source of lead in the city’s tap water. IRMA is reviewing the proposal.

 

ORDINANCE – COUNCIL APPROVAL FOR SIGNS

SPONSOR: Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward)

COMMITTEE: Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards

This proposal would require city council approval for any sign that exceeds 60 square feet unless it is a part of the city’s digital sign program. Currently, the Code requires such approval for signs that exceed 100 square feet. We are researching the impetus of this proposal and will have more information soon.

 

PASSED LEGISLATION

 

ORDINANCE – VAPE TAX INCREASE

SPONSOR: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

This ordinance was introduced direct to the recessed Finance committee which met the morning of the City Council meeting. The measure was passed and reported out to the full Council just a few hours later where it passed overwhelmingly. The ordinance was introduced in response to the recent announcement by the FDA calling teen vaping an “epidemic.” The FDA visited retailers all around the country to see if they were violating the sale of tobacco products to minors. After the investigation, the FDA announced that it has asked the manufacturer community to produce a response for how it will keep vape products out of the hands of teens. It gave manufacturers 60 days to respond. We are still within that window and expect that the tobacco community will respond with a detailed plan to address teen vaping. In the interim, the advocate community encouraged an increase in Chicago’s vape tax in an effort to make the products too expensive for teens. In both cases the tax has nearly doubled. The vape tax on the unit increased from 80 cents to $1.50 and the tax on the juice has increased from 55 cents/mL to $1.20/mL

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 30, 2018

 

ORDINANCE – POP-UP RESTAURANTS AND RETAIL

SPONSOR: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

This ordinance seeks to encourage retail and restaurant entrepreneurs to try out their new concepts by “popping up” in a vacant storefront and operating for a limited amount of time. While Chicago has had its share of pop up locations for years, the regulations have not always been clear. This ordinance now clarifies what both the entrepreneurs and land owners must do in order to have a pop-up shop lawfully operating in the city. Licenses can go for as short as 5 days and as long as 180 days depending on the use. If the space will have food, it will need to be prepared in a shared kitchen or licensed and regulated kitchen which can be on premises or at a separate location. In certain instances, the host property will need a license as will the user. We encourage members to talk with your landlord if you are interested in operating a pop-up shop to ensure that everyone has procured the necessary permits. The city is excited about being able to allow these innovative concepts with minimal interference from City Hall and the business community is glad to have clarity and a clear path to try new and exciting concepts.

EFFECTIVE DATE: DECEMBER 1, 2018

The next City Council meeting is scheduled on October 31, 2018, but the Council will meet prior to that date to hear Mayor Emanuel’s last budget address.

CONTACT:

Tanya TricheTanya Triche Dawood
Vice President, General Counsel
Illinois Retail Merchants Association
312-726-4600
ttrichedawood@irma.org

CRMA 121 Report – September 2018

Chicago City Council Ordinance and Resolution Introductions

INTRODUCTIONS

 

ORDINANCE – AMENDING THE BOUNDARIES FOR THE SALE OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS

Sponsors: Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward)

Committee: License and Consumer Protection

Currently, the law states that retailers are prohibited from selling tobacco products within 100ft of the property line of a school, day care or any other facility used primarily for the education/recreation of children under 18 years old. This proposal would change the measurement from property line to property line, to door to door. Therefore, if a tobacco retailer were located in a strip mall or an enclosed building, they wouldn’t be precluded from selling tobacco products simply because the outer line of the entire building is within 100ft of a prohibited location. IRMA supports this proposal.

 

ORDINANCE – CLEAN DRINKING WATER TRANSFER TAX

Sponsors: Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward) and Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th Ward)

Committee: Finance

A recent sampling from homes in Chicago found that 30% of those homes had lead in the tap water at an amount higher than what the FDA allows in bottled water. Some blame the higher concentrations on the city’s continued use of lead service lines even though the lines are actually serviced by individual homeowners. The city now distributes lead testing kits for free to homeowners upon request, but has not agreed to overhaul the remaining lead service lines. While the city is not running afoul of federal law with the amount of lead found in its tap water, health advocates argue that any consumption of lead from water is too much.

This proposal would add a $50 flat fee to be collected whenever real estate is transferred and the transfer tax is owed. The proposal does not though, direct the revenue to any specific fund for replacing the city’s lead service lines or other cause that would help eradicate this source of lead in the city’s tap water. IRMA is reviewing the proposal.

 

ORDINANCE – COUNCIL APPROVAL FOR SIGNS

SPONSOR: Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward)

COMMITTEE: Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards

This proposal would require city council approval for any sign that exceeds 60 square feet unless it is a part of the city’s digital sign program. Currently, the Code requires such approval for signs that exceed 100 square feet. We are researching the impetus of this proposal and will have more information soon.

 

PASSED LEGISLATION

ORDINANCE – VAPE TAX INCREASE

SPONSOR: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

This ordinance was introduced direct to the recessed Finance committee which met the morning of the City Council meeting. The measure was passed and reported out to the full Council just a few hours later where it passed overwhelmingly. The ordinance was introduced in response to the recent announcement by the FDA calling teen vaping an “epidemic.” The FDA visited retailers all around the country to see if they were violating the sale of tobacco products to minors. After the investigation, the FDA announced that it has asked the manufacturer community to produce a response for how it will keep vape products out of the hands of teens. It gave manufacturers 60 days to respond. We are still within that window and expect that the tobacco community will respond with a detailed plan to address teen vaping. In the interim, the advocate community encouraged an increase in Chicago’s vape tax in an effort to make the products too expensive for teens. In both cases the tax has nearly doubled. The vape tax on the unit increased from 80 cents to $1.50 and the tax on the juice has increased from 55 cents/mL to $1.20/mL

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 30, 2018

 

ORDINANCE – POP-UP RESTAURANTS AND RETAIL

SPONSOR: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

This ordinance seeks to encourage retail and restaurant entrepreneurs to try out their new concepts by “popping up” in a vacant storefront and operating for a limited amount of time. While Chicago has had its share of pop up locations for years, the regulations have not always been clear. This ordinance now clarifies what both the entrepreneurs and land owners must do in order to have a pop-up shop lawfully operating in the city. Licenses can go for as short as 5 days and as long as 180 days depending on the use. If the space will have food, it will need to be prepared in a shared kitchen or licensed and regulated kitchen which can be on premises or at a separate location. In certain instances, the host property will need a license as will the user. We encourage members to talk with your landlord if you are interested in operating a pop-up shop to ensure that everyone has procured the necessary permits. The city is excited about being able to allow these innovative concepts with minimal interference from City Hall and the business community is glad to have clarity and a clear path to try new and exciting concepts.

EFFECTIVE DATE: DECEMBER 1, 2018

The next City Council meeting is scheduled on October 31, 2018, but the Council will meet prior to that date to hear Mayor Emanuel’s last budget address.

CONTACT

Tanya Triche

Tanya Triche Dawood
Vice President, General Counsel
Illinois Retail Merchants Association
312-726-4600
ttrichedawood@irma.org

CRMA 121 Report – July Part II

Chicago City Council Ordinance and Resolution Introductions

INTRODUCTIONS

 

ORDINANCE – CHANGING TIP CREDIT FROM A FLAT RATE TO A PERCENTAGE OF THE CHICAGO MINIMUM WAGE

Sponsors: Alderman Edward M. Burke (14th Ward) and Ald. Margaret Laurino (39th Ward)

Committee: Workforce Development and Audit

 

When Chicago’s starting wage was implemented in 2015, the choice was made to maintain the IL standard of establishing a different system of pay for tipped employees than what is mandated for non-tipped employees. Tipped employees are paid a flat rate per hour that is lower than non-tipped employees because they make up the difference through collecting tips from customers for their service. To the extent that the employee does not earn enough in tips to clear $12/hour (the current minimum wage in Chicago), the employer is required to pay the employee the difference.

This proposal seeks to change the way that tipped employees are paid from the current flat rate to a percentage of Chicago’s Minimum Wage. Framing this as an empowerment issue for women, the proposal emphasizes that 70% of restaurant servers are women and suggests that if these employees were less reliant on tips, they might experience less harassment and abuse from customers, co-workers and management. The change would essentially make the employer responsible for paying a higher base wage, therein making the tipped employee less reliant on tips. If this proposal were to pass, the employer would pay 70% of the Minimum Hourly Wage which works out to $8.40/hour (up from the current $6.25) and would increase annually in proportion to the increased minimum wage for non-tipped employees.

 

ORDINANCE – BAN ON COMMERCIAL USE OF FACIAL GEO-MAPPING FOR NON-SECURITY PURPOSES 

SPONSOR: Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th Ward) 

COMMITTEE: Finance

This proposal would permit commercial businesses to use facial recognition technology only upon agreement with the Chicago Police Department and only if signage is posted alerting customers that such technology is being used. The information can be used for security purposes only and cannot be shared or sold to other commercial entities. Since 2008, the state of IL has had the Biometric Identification Privacy Act (BIPA) which allows biometric data to be collected only after a person has signed an agreement and several disclosures have been provided by the business. It has been the subject of many lawsuits and a virtual boon to the trial bar.

While BIPA makes it extremely difficult to use facial recognition technology in IL for commercial purposes, this proposal would ban all activity unless it is related to security pursuant to an agreement between the business and CPD and subject to approval by the city’s Corporation Counsel. But it is our understanding that signing an agreement with CPD could give them some authority over the technology and its use, or at the very least the opportunity to access the technology.

 

ORDINANCE – LIMITATIONS ON THE USE OF CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT IN THE CBD

SPONSOR: Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward)

COMMITTEE: Health and Environmental Protection

This proposal would prohibit the operation of certain gas or electric-powered construction machinery in the Central Business District between the hours of 8pm-8am as well as prohibit such activity within 1100 ft. of any residential building or hospital during the same hours. Fines have been increased.

 

ORDINANCE – BAN ON THE USE OF PLASTIC STRAWS AND STIRRERS AT CITY-OPERATED LOCATIONS

Sponsors: Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th Ward) and Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward)

Joint Committees: Finance and Aviation

Pointing to the growing awareness of waste products in our oceans and waterways, this proposal was introduced to prohibit establishments on city owned and/or operated properties from selling or giving away plastic straws and stirrers. Such items if sold or used would need to be biodegradable. Members will note that Chairman Burke introduced a proposal to have a question on the November ballot asking the public if the city should ban plastic straws altogether.

 

ORDINANCE – LICENSING POP-UP RESTAURANTS AND RETAIL LOCATIONS

SPONSOR: Mayor Rahm Emanuel 

COMMITTEE: License and Consumer Protection 

This proposal is needed to encourage retail and restaurant entrepreneurs to try out their new concepts by “popping up” in a vacant storefront and operating for a limited amount of time. While Chicago has had its share of pop up locations for years, the regulations have not always been clear. This proposal will clarify what both the entrepreneurs and land owners must do in order to have a pop-up shop lawfully operating in the city. Licenses can last as short as 5 days and as long as 180 days depending on the use. If the space will have food, it will need to be prepared in a shared kitchen or licensed and regulated kitchen which can be on premises or at a separate location. In certain instances the host property will need a license as will the user. We encourage you to talk with your landlord if you are interested in operating a pop-up shop to ensure that each party has procured the necessary permits. The city is excited about being able to allow these innovative concepts with minimal interference from City Hall.

 

PASSED LEGISLATION

ORDINANCE – DELIVERIES BY COMMERCIAL VEHICLES IN LOADING ZONES

SPONSOR: Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward)

As deliveries increase, especially in already congested areas of the city, it has become a priority to ensure that commercial loading zones are used purely for servicing local businesses and that commercial vehicles don’t remain parked in a loading zone indefinitely while attempting to service an entire neighborhood. Therefore, to keep traffic moving and to continue to provide space for all of the necessary deliveries, this ordinance will limit standing time to 30 minutes for pick-ups and deliveries in curb loading zones unless the signage has a different time allotted. Hazard lights must be flashing while parked in the loading zone.

EFFECTIVE DATE: September 19, 2018

 

The Chicago City Council does not meet in the month of August.
The next meeting of the full Council will be on Thursday, September 20, 2018.

CONTACT

Tanya TricheTanya Triche Dawood
Vice President, General Counsel
Illinois Retail Merchants Association
312-726-4600
ttrichedawood@irma.org

121 CRMA Report – July 2018

Chicago City Council Ordinance and Resolution Introductions

 

INTRODUCTIONS

RESOLUTION – TASKFORCE TO STUDY A CHICAGO GUARANTEED INCOME PROGRAM AND THE VIABILITY OF A CHICAGO EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT

Sponsor: Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th Ward), Ald. Derrick Curtis (18th Ward), Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward) and 33 additional co-signers)

Committee: Workforce Development and Audit

Entitled the “Chicago Resilient Family Initiative”, this resolution seeks to create a taskforce that would study two issues. First, it would research and develop a Universal Basic Income (UBI) model for 1000 families that could be provided with a minimum of $500/month that could be used for any purpose. UBI, also known as “guaranteed income” is being tested in other countries. Specifically, the Netherlands, Canada and Iran are all running pilot programs for segments of their populations. Finland (which ran a program in 2017) is ending its program among concerns about its actual benefits. In the US, a pilot program is currently running in Oakland, CA. Such programs are being explored partly in response to the automation of the workforce, which is beginning to leave sectors of the workforce unemployed. The thought is if people are guaranteed an income, then it might allow them to be creative in how they will contribute to an economy that is quickly becoming more automated.

The second initiative would be to “smooth” EITC payments currently received by the 1000 test families from an annual lump sum payment , to distributing those payments on a monthly basis instead. There has been some research into this issue which studies the premise that if low-income families were allowed to access the money in smaller sums on a more frequent basis, they would possibly accumulate less debt over time, as their budgets would experience less volatility. In addition, this initiative would consider the viability of Chicago creating its own version of EITC.

The taskforce would deliver a report to the committee by October 1, 2018.

 

RESOLUTION – PUBLIC QUESTION REGARDING BANNING THE USE OF PLASTIC STRAWS

Sponsor: Edward M. Burke (14th Ward)

Committee: Committees, Rules and Ethics

 

In advance of the next election to be held on November 6, 2018, the City Council considers 3 questions to present to the public for consideration on the ballot. The responses will produce non-binding results, but are generally used to check the temperature of Chicagoans on hot-button issues. We have seen these questions turn into ordinances depending on the response. The first two questions consider whether future marijuana sales should be directed to the public school system and mental health services, and whether the city should urge the state to push for an additional homeowner’s tax exemption.

The third question asks if the use of plastic straws should be banned in the city. This is a hot issue around the country as there has been a push in the environmental advocacy community to ban the straws that it says has damaging effects to marine life. Seattle recently banned food service businesses from using and giving away plastic straws, utensils and cocktail picks in favor of compostable products. Seattle also mandates and provides residential composting services for a fee.

ORDINANCE – SIGNS IN OVERLAY DISTRICTS

SPONSOR: Ald. Proco Moreno (1st Ward)

COMMITTEE: Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards

 

This proposal would allow signs in overlay districts that exceed the size limit to exist without a permit as long as the ordinance specifically waives the area/height restrictions.

 

ORDINANCE – $15 MINIMUM WAGE

SPONSORS: Ald. Proco Moreno (1st Ward), Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th Ward), Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward) and 8 additional co-sponsors

COMMITTEE: Workforce Development and Audit

 

This would amend Chicago’s Minimum Wage ordinance which is scheduled to increase to $13.00/hour on July 1, 2019 and then scheduled to increase with inflation thereafter. The proposal would increase the wage to $15/hour instead of $13/hour and continue to increase annually with inflation.

The proposal came out at the same time as a study was produced regarding the first two increases of Chicago’s minimum wage. The study claims that there was essentially no effect on the local economy as a result of those increases and subsequently advocates for a higher minimum wage in the city, at the state level and for the 80+ municipalities in Cook County that opted out of an increase in the minimum wage to now opt in. The premature study either de-emphasizes or outright fails to account for what the Mayor has done to achieve record tourism levels which have helped to take the sting out of rising costs to employers, attract headquarter moves, and shift more manufacturing and retail opportunities to the south side. In addition, the Mayor has attempted to encourage growth in development in neighborhoods by shifting money from downtown projects to specific areas of the city that have had challenges with attracting commercial growth. The study equates the growth in transportation and warehouse jobs to the minimum wage and not to the obvious reason, a significant change in the way consumers make purchases…through e-commerce. The advocate community would have you believe that minimum wage increases, on their own, have no effect on the economy. But people paying close attention to how the economy actually works know that there have to be other policy decisions made to help ensure that employers are able to continue profitability in the wake of significant government mandates. The Mayor has worked to help create opportunities for growth in the wake of more mandates.

It is difficult to draw conclusions from the first two years of the minimum wage increase, when the increase is going up fairly significantly for three years in a row that are not included in the study. We are monitoring this issue carefully.

 

ORDINANCE – DIVERSITY BID INCENTIVE

SPONSORS: Ald. Sophia King (4th Ward), Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd Ward), Ald. Walter Burnett (27th Ward) and 29 additional co-sponsors

COMMITTEE: Budget and Government Operations

This proposal would change bid preferences for contracts valued at $100,000 or more for bidders that agree to hire a larger base of city residents, or if the bidder agrees to hire a larger base of city residents of socio-economically disadvantaged areas.

 

ORDINANCE – PERMITTING OF SANDWICH BOARD SIGNS

SPONSORS: Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward), Ald. Proco Moreno (1st Ward), Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th Ward) and 25 additional co-sponsors

COMMITTEE: License and Consumer Protection

 

One of the best ways to attract attention to small, neighborhood stores and restaurants is through the use of small, removable signs set out on the sidewalk right by the door of the business. They catch the eye of passers-by, and are an inexpensive way to advertise specials likely to draw in more customers. Such signs have been used in the city for many years, although technically, the signs are unlawful. There have been a number of attempts over the years to change the law to allow these signs to no avail. This current proposal would allow business owners to have such signs as long as they first seek a permit and have proof of insurance. There are size, location and appearance restrictions for the signs.

 

ORDINANCE – DELIVERIES BY COMMERCIAL VEHICLES IN LOADING ZONES

SPONSOR: Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward)

COMMITTEE: Transportation and Public Way

 

As deliveries increase, especially in already congested areas of the city, it has become a priority to ensure that commercial loading zones are used purely for servicing local businesses and that commercial vehicles don’t remain parked in a loading zone indefinitely while attempting to service an entire neighborhood. Therefore, to keep traffic moving and to continue to provide space for all of the necessary deliveries, an amendment is being proposed that would limit standing time to 30 minutes for pick-ups and deliveries in curb loading zones.

 

ORDINANCE – HOURS OF OPERATION FOR OUTDOOR PATIOS IN THE CBD

SPONSOR: Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward)

COMMITTEE: Licensing and Consumer Protection

 

Ald. Reilly has introduced his annual ordinance to temporarily extend the hours of operation for outdoor patios in the Central Business District. Such establishments will be able to sell/serve alcohol for immediate consumption until midnight until December 1, 2018.

 

ORDINANCE – RESTRICTIVE SCHEDULING

SPONSOR: Ald. John Arena (45th Ward), Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th Ward), Ald. Derrick Curtis (18th Ward) and 27 additional co-sponsors

COMMITTEE: Workforce Development and Audit

 

This is the same proposal that was sent out to the membership earlier by email with a detailed description of how it proposes to mandate how employees are scheduled, sets out a system of penalty pay for changes made by an employer after a schedule has been issued (while allowing employees to change schedules freely after those schedules have been issued), mandates premium pay for employees that close and open, (even if they desire to work that kind of schedule), and takes away an employer’s ability to designate how many part-time employees will be on staff at any given time. It also purports to add an exemption for businesses that employ less than 50 employees (more than likely added as a tacit admission that the mandate is far too complicated and expensive for most businesses to comply with), but that exemption is far from clear as it mentions that the 50 employees must be “in the aggregate” in any location. We do not understand how the term “in the aggregate” can refer to an individual location, but we presume that the advocates will clarify at some point.

 

ORDINANCE – EXTENSION OF SIDEWALK CAFÉ PERMITS AND FEE REDUCTION FOR CERTAIN BUSINESS LICENSES

Sponsor: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Committee: License and Consumer Protection

 

This proposal would allow sidewalk café permits to be valid for one year, instead of the 9 month permit that currently exists. If people want to sit out in the snow in January…so be it! It would extend the operation dates to all permits issued for the 2018 season.

In addition, the Mayor is proposing to reduce the fee for new, two-year business licenses from the current $250 to $125 for all licenses issued between July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019.

 

PASSED LEGISLATION

RESOLUTION – RECONFIGURATION OF STANDING COMMITTEES OF THE CITY COUNCIL

Sponsor: Alderman Edward M. Burke (14th Ward)

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

 

With the recent retirement of Ald. Michael Zalewski (23rd Ward), the City Council reconfigured the membership of some of its standing committees to create new Chairmanships and to ensure that the new Alderman of the 23rd Ward, former State Representative Silvana Tabares, was granted membership to committees. Of the committees in which CRMA has frequent interaction, the following changes were made:

 

Committee on Aviation

The new Chair is Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th Ward). Ald. Nicholas Sposato (38TH Ward) moved from Vice Chair to member, and Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th Ward) moved to Vice Chair.

 

Committee on the Budget and Government Operations

Ald. Tabares replaces Ald. Zalewski.

 

Committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics

Ald. Tabares replaces Ald. Zalewski.

 

Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development

Ald. Tabares replaces Ald. Zalewski.

 

Committee on Finance

Ald. Zalewski is replaced by Ald. Michael Scott, Jr. (24th Ward)

 

Committee on Health and Environmental Protection

Ald. Tabares replaces Ald. Zalewski

 

Committee on Human Relations

Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward) becomes Vice Chair and Ald. Tabares is added to the committee.

 

Committee on Workforce Development and Audit

Ald Tabares replaces Ald. Zalewski.

Tanya TricheCONTACT:

Tanya Triche Dawood
vice President, General Counsel
Illinois Retail Merchants Association
312-726-4600
ttrichedawood@irma.org