121 CRMA Report – January 2018

In this issue

·     Resolutions and Ordinances

CITY COUNCIL ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS

 INTRODUCTIONS

 RESOLUTION TO URGE THE CITY’S DISINVESTMENT IN FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES

Sponsors: Ald. John Arena (45th Ward), Ald. Nicholas Sposato (38th Ward), Ald. David Moore (17th Ward) and 30 Co-Sponsors

Committee: Finance

Citing the negative impacts of global warming and pollution resulting from the burning of fossil fuels, this resolution seeks to engage in a public discussion regarding whether the city should continue to invest in companies that engage in such activity. In addition, it seeks to study the benefits of revising the city’s investment policy so that it only invests in companies that engage in what the sponsors consider to be practices that are environmentally-friendly, are socially responsible and promote good governance. To the extent that investment dollars are dis-invested in companies that do not meet these standards, the city’s Treasurer and the city’s pension funds would re-invest those dollars in such endeavors as green bonds and renewable bonds without abdicating any fiduciary responsibility.

PASSED LEGISLATION

COOK COUNTY RULES ISSUANCE CHANGES

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately

This ordinance will reduce the amount of time for posting rules and regulations issued by departments from the current 30 days to 10 days prior to taking effect, but will now require such rules and regulations to be posted on the appropriate department’s website. Unless the Rules Committee of the County Board suggests changes, the rules will be received and filed by the Committee.

The upside is that we are guaranteed that rules will appear in a public, searchable space, the downside is that those affected by the rules aren’t allowed any formal input into the process. This is transparency in name only.

The Chicago City Council is scheduled to meet again on Wednesday,
February 28, 2018 and the Cook County Board is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, February 7, 2018.

CONTACT

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

121 CRMA Report – November 2017

In this issue:

CHICAGO BUDGET
COOK COUNTY BOARD BUDGET
CITY COUNCIL UPDATES

More about CRMA

Chicago Budget Wrap-Up

Both the Chicago City Council and the Cook County Board passed their 2018 budgets last week with Chicago issuing a new round of taxes, fees and along with highlighting some savings and with the County swapping its controversial sweetened beverage tax for cuts in employee headcount.

After the last few years of implementing significant tax increases, the Chicago City Council balanced its budget with the last round of the property tax increase, another round of the water/sewer tax increase, an increased rideshare tax, increased taxes on cell phones and land lines, increased taxes for large entertainment venues, increased change of officer fees for liquor licensees and increased restaurant licensing fees. The restaurant licensing fees are being increased to help accommodate the hiring of more inspectors. As noted before in this publication, the city was under tremendous pressure to ensure that high-risk establishments were being inspected at least once per year. Increasing headcount will allow them more opportunity to focus on annual inspections. The increased phone taxes will be used to upgrade the city’s 911 system and allow money to be diverted to help make additional payments to the Laborers Pension Fund. The increased property taxes and water/sewer taxes will go do make additional payments to the police and fire pensions and the municipal employees’ pension respectively.

The $8.6 billion budget passed without much fanfare in comparison to the previous two budgets that carried a much heavier tax burden. That said, the budget is being criticized for not addressing Chicago’s long-term structural deficit which some in the economics community have warned will necessitate higher taxes in the very near future. Compounding that concern is the fact that the next municipal election will take place in 2019, so it is unlikely that we will see significant tax increases prior to that time.

The budget passed with a vote of 47-3 with the dissenting votes cast by Aldermen Arena, Ramirez-Rosa and Waguespack who all had concerns about how the tax and fee increases would affect families that have working heads of household. Moreover, they were concerned about part of the money raised from the rideshare tax going to the Chicago Transit Authority for system improvements and sending surplus Tax Increment Financing money to the Chicago Public School system. The Chicago City Council has no oversight of either agency and therefore, the dissent argues that there is no way for them to ensure that the money shifted to those agencies will be used for their intended purpose and will not be mismanaged. Mayor Emanuel sees this budget as taking another step towards putting public pensions on the road to solvency considering the financial condition the city was in when he first took office in 2011. The new budget takes effect on January 1st.

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Cook County Produces a Balanced Budget With No New Taxes

After balancing a portion of its 2017 budget with a controversial tax on sweetened beverages (SBT) and promising that the revenue from that tax would account for a significant portion of the 2018 and 2019 budgets, President Preckwinkle and the Cook County Board knew they had a serious problem on their hands when, in a 15-2 vote, the SBT was repealed. The County’s Finance Department estimated that the expected revenue for 2018 from the SBT would bring in $200 million. After Cook County residents told Commissioners unequivocally that they were in no mood for more taxes, and with the entire Board up for election in 2018, President Preckwinkle and the Board rolled up their collective sleeves and proceeded with the very difficult business of making tough but necessary cuts.

When the dust settled, just over 300 Cook County employees, mostly within the control of the Office of the Chief Judge and the Office of the Sheriff, will lose their positions by the end of the year. In addition, hundreds of unfilled but budgeted positions were taken off the rolls. Originally, President Preckwinkle asked each department to make an 11% across the board cut, but a number of departments claimed that they were either unable or unwilling to make such cuts. Therefore, much of the cutting was left up to President Preckwinkle herself after considering some persistent internal lobbying and last-minute adjustments. There will be increased furlough days for employees who will continue working into the new budget. The cuts will affect both union and non-union positions, both frontline employees and support staff. Many cuts involved middle managers that oversee a small amount of employees.

After all of the talk of how the SBT was necessary to keep the County afloat, the County proved that instead, cuts could be made. It is our hope that for future budgets the County will take a closer look at ways to operate more efficiently instead of supporting knee-jerk, regressive taxes that anger voters and put jobs in the retail, manufacturing and distribution industries at risk. We are pleased with the County’s choice to listen to the residents and cut instead of tax. The SBT will officially be repealed on Friday, December 1, 2017.

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CITY COUNCIL ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS

INTRODUCTIONS

ORDINANCE – AMENDMENTS TO THE FOOD CODE, Part 1; Part 2

Sponsor: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Committee: Health and Environmental Protection

The Department of Public Health has issued this proposal in order to bring its Code in line with the state’s Code. For some time now, the state has been involved in a process of making changes that would have much of its health Code mirror the federal Model Food Code. Since the city of Chicago separately inspects food establishments, it was imperative to bring all of the Codes in line so that proprietors could have a better understanding of what is expected of them to successfully run a food establishment in the state. As a part of this process, the department is developing a rulemaking process where, before a rule is promulgated, there will be an opportunity for members of the public to comment. The Commissioner will publish the notice of rulemaking in a local newspaper or, in the case where written comments will be allowed, will send an email notification to all who sign up with her office. Once a notice is issued, comments will be allowed for 30 days. We should note that the language for many sections has been deleted so that much of the food Code can be accomplished by rule.

There would need to be a person who holds a Food Service Sanitation Manager’s Certification (FSSMC) on duty at all times that food is being prepared and that person must be designated as the person in char. A number of the definitions in the Code have now been changed to fully align with the Model Food Code, and other definitions have been added. Dog-friendly areas have now become “animal” friendly areas to accommodate for the expanded definition of service animals, although it is still lawful to have a dog-friendly area that is limited to dogs only. It will be unlawful to deny a person a right of entry into a retail food establishment if they are accompanied by their service animal in accordance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The sections on vegetables, fruits and berries as well as candy, the manufacture of bottled water and non-alcoholic drinks, frozen desserts and mixes, milk and milk products are deleted in their entirety.

There are several sections regulating “unwholesome” food, but there is no accompanying definition. Lastly, the FSSMC certification fee is increased from $35 to $45.

We encourage you to please read this proposal in its entirety as it has been many years since the department has attempted a revision of this magnitude. Please also review this breakdown of many of the changes issued by the department. We need to hear from you regarding any questions or concerns you may have about this proposal.

 

PASSED LEGISLATION

2018 MANAGEMENT ORDINANCE, Part 1; Part 2

Sponsor: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2018

The annual Management Ordinance is issued in conjunction with the city’s budget process. It makes changes to several areas of the Municipal Code, some of which can include fee increases.

 

Building Code Re-inspection Fees

If the department has to come out and re-inspect in order to approve a permit or for license compliance purposes, businesses will be charged for the re-inspection. Previously, businesses were not charged for the initial or for a re-inspection. They were only charged if, after either failing the re-inspection or not being ready for the re-inspection at all, the department had to come out a third time. The amount of the fee will be determined by the costs to the department to do the subsequent inspection. Businesses will also be charged if the scheduled inspection is cancelled less than 24 hours in advance or if the work performed was contrary to the work identified on the application. There are limited exceptions.

Sign Permits

It shall be the duty of any entity that offers advertisement space or who advertises on any sign to ensure that the sign has a valid permit issued by the department. Any changes to signs that are different from the information provided on the application for the permit must be submitted to the department within 10 days of the change, including for signs whose permits were issued on or before May 19, 2012. This section also lays out the conditions under which a sign permit can be revoked. All off-premise signs must display their permit numbers issued by the department. Abandoned signs and sign structures have been given more robust definitions. Abandonment of signs must be reported to the department and removed within 30 days of the report. Owners, lessees and other persons in control of signs that are removed by the department will be held jointly and severally liable for all expenses related to removal. Tents and canopies must be erected by a general contractor.

 2018 REVENUE ORDINANCE

Sponsor: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2018

Amusement Tax

The city currently imposes a tax on patrons of amusements at the rates of 5% for live theatrical, musical or cultural performances in spaces with a capacity of more than 750 persons. That tax will now increase to 9% for such performances that occur in a space with a maximum capacity of more than 1500 persons. The tax will affect theatre goers at Chicago’s largest theatres which would include performances of Hamilton and sporting events at Wrigley Field, Soldier Field, the United Center and Guaranteed Rate Field. The proposal would remove the tax for smaller venues and not-for-profit venues would remain untaxed. IRMA joined with other business groups, the large theatres and sports/concert venues in opposition to the tax which would have a residual effect on retail and restaurants as large events bypass Chicago for locations in St. Louis, Milwaukee or even the suburbs, but the tax will go into effect as proposed.

911 Surcharge

The 911 surcharge on cell phones and land lines will increase from the current $3.90 to a monthly rate of $5.00. The tax, which is expected to net approximately $27 million, will largely be used for upgrades to Chicago’s 911 center. The ability to increase the tax was granted to the city in a telecommunications bill that passed through the state legislature this year and was signed by the Governor. If an increase in this tax sounds familiar, that’s because the City Council voted to increase the fee to its current amount two years ago.

Change of Officer Fee

Any change of officer for a license granted under the city’s general licensing provisions will illicit an increased fee to the city. The filing fee for notice of the change will increase from $40 to $250 with a slightly decreased fee for any additional persons requiring a background check. For those persons wishing to file a change of officer notice and not requiring a background check, the fee will increase from $20 to $100. If the change of officer is for a liquor licensee, then the fee goes from $100 to $500 if the officer has no ownership interest or owns less than 5% of the business. If the officer owns 5% or more, then the fee increases from $250 to $2000.

Tobacco Licensing Fee

Tobacco licenses are scheduled to go from a two-year license to a one-year license. Therefore, the current fees are cut in half as they will now be paid on an annual basis. There is no overall increase or decrease in the fees.

Food Inspection Fees and Fines

The city is tasked with annual inspections for high-risk establishments (restaurants), but has not had a great track record of getting all of the inspections completed in a timely manner. In fact, many restaurants were not being inspected annually. In order to correct the problem, the city will hire additional inspectors to handle the load, and therefore will need to pay for them. Therefore, it will increase restaurant licensing fees according to the following schedule:

Less than 1000 sq. ft. = remains at $660

1001-2500 sq. ft. = increase from $880 to $940

2501-4500 sq. ft. = increase from $1100 to $1110

4501-10,000 sq. ft. = increase from $1100 to $1320

Over 10,000 sq. ft. = increase from $1100 to $1650

Food Establishment Re-inspection Fees

Any re-inspection that addresses a violation previously identified by the department will be charged at a fee of $100 instead of the current $50.

 PROPERTY TAX LEVY 2018

Sponsor: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2018

This is the next previously scheduled increase in property taxes. As a part of the 2016 budget, the City Council voted to implement the largest increase in property taxes in Chicago’s history over a period of 4 years beginning in 2015. 2018 is the final year of increases. The increase should net $63 million.

 

ORDINANCE – ENERGY PERFORMANCE RATING SYSTEM

Sponsor: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

EFFECTIVE DATE: June 3, 2018

Chicago will establish its own energy performance rating system for covered buildings which assigns stars based on performance. Water usage information would be made readily available to the public. A four star rating would be the highest and zero being the lowest. Buildings would be provided their rating on an annual basis and must disclose their score in any advertisement to sell the building as well as display the score on the outside of or directly inside the building so that it is visible to visitors. This ordinance will not require businesses to collect any information not already being collected, the city just wants to maintain its own rating system. We should note that the star rating system does not necessarily follow a federal model, so in order to appropriately determine the meaning of the number of star awarded, a person must become familiar with Chicago’s exclusive system. There are a few exceptions.

 

RESOLUTION – BALLOT QUESTION RELATED TO OPIOID EPIDEMIC

Sponsor: Alderman Patrick O’Connor (40th Ward) 

In advance of the General Primary election scheduled to take place on March 20, 2018, the Mayor’s office put forth three ballot questions for consideration by city residents. The questions are usually, but not always, non-controversial and the vote is informative, but not binding. This year the topics for the questions cover the banning of bump stocks in response to the mass shooting in Las Vegas, the protection of residents currently relying on the ACA to provide them with medical coverage to ensure that the ACA is not rolled back, and developing a comprehensive statewide strategy to address the opioid crisis. As pharmacies play an important role along the healthcare continuum, we find the ballot question on the opioid issue of particular interest to our pharmacy members. All three questions passed and will appear on the March ballot.

Both the Cook County Board and the Chicago City Council meetings are scheduled for 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017.

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CONTACT

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

121 CRMA Report – October 2017

In this issue

CHICAGO BUDGET ADDRESS
COOK COUNTY BUDGET PREVIEW
CITY COUNCIL UPDATES

CHICAGO BUDGET ADDRESS

Earlier this morning, Mayor Rahm Emanuel delivered his budget address for the upcoming 2018 budget year. Much of the speech focused in on the importance of investing in communities, from using the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund to develop and expand neighborhood retail and restaurant businesses to hiring more police officers and getting them better training, to investing in education and increased local job opportunities for teens and young adults. As for the city’s finances, the Mayor noted that all of the pensions are on a direct path to solvency, that he is balancing the budget without raiding the rainy day fund, selling assets or borrowing money to pay off existing loans. Through tough negotiations, the city has been able to keep its healthcare costs relatively flat and decreased its structural deficit since the Mayor’s been in office by 82%. He highlighted how important it was to eliminate the head tax during his first term, and announced that unemployment over the last six years has been cut in half.

The city’s $9 billion budget for 2018 will build on these successes but will not be without some additional revenue. The next installment from the previously approved increases in the property tax will hit next year as well as an increased amusement tax for large venues. Ride share fees will also increase in order to tackle public transportation modernization and address lost revenue from the parking garage tax and the flailing taxi industry. Outside of the previously scheduled property tax increase, the retail and restaurant industry should be able to survive next year’s budget largely unscathed. This will give us some time to figure out how to adjust to the next increase in the minimum wage, find ways to address the complexities of the paid sick leave and FMLA ordinance and prepare for any additional proposed regulations on the workforce.

The departmental budget overview will kick off on Monday, October 23rd with a public hearing on the budget scheduled for Wednesday, November 8th directly after the City Council meeting. CRMA will attend all departmental hearings that affect the retail industry and continue to update you on the budget process. All relevant budget documents can be found here.

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COOK COUNTY BUDGET PREVIEW

Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle, issued her annual budget recommendation prior to the vote on the sweetened beverage tax (SBT) repeal. The $5 billion budget for 2018 originally included $200 million in revenue from the SBT. Before the vote to repeal the tax, President Preckwinkle warned each department that they would have to find 11% in cuts in their departments to make up the “lost” revenue. It is hard to imagine how in a $5 billion budget, a lost $200 million would necessitate cuts that deep, but it made headlines. Now that the SBT repeal vote is over, and the tax will actually be repealed on December 1, 2017, the Finance Chairman is asking each department to find 10% in cuts to kick off actual budget discussions.  

It is clear from the speeches made during the SBT repeal vote that Commissioners will be looking for ways to make the county leaner and more efficient before pursuing another tax. With 85% of the voters in Cook County expressing their opposition to the SBT, and frankly, to more taxes, Commissioners have their marching orders. They must find ways to maintain essential services, collaborate with the city of Chicago to save money and consolidate. The days of telling taxpayers that the County needs more revenue from them in order to survive, and then turning around and approving generous pay raises, increased benefits and future step pay increases are over. The taxpayers want a proper accounting for how the money is spent and for how the County plans to hold the line on spending. Employers want the same thing.

The County will be engaging in meetings through mid-November to hear from each department on how it plans to make cuts and increase savings. The budget will be adjusted throughout this process until a compromise is reached. Generally the County issues its budget before the Thanksgiving holiday, but this year, it may extend that process. Depending on how negotiations proceed, the County could issue its budget in February which is allowed by state law. We will keep members informed on the progress.

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CITY COUNCIL ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS

INTRODUCTIONS

ORDINANCE – BAN ON REFUSING CASH AS PAYMENT FOR GOODS/SERVICES

Sponsors: Alderman Edward M. Burke (14th Ward) and Alderman Walter Burnett (27th Ward)

Committee: License and Consumer Protection

A recent Chicago Tribune article highlighted the “trend” of some retailers and restaurants moving away from allowing customers to pay with cash and instead only accepting card and mobile payments. The proposal cites concerns with escalating credit card balances and unnamed studies that suggest that when consumers pay with credit cards they are more likely to spend more. It also refers to a promotion offered by VISA that offered financial rewards to restaurants that met its “Cashless Challenge” by converting exclusively to cashless transactions. The proposal suggests that going cashless is a ploy to help enrich credit card companies while giving merchants access to consumer data with every swipe of the card. This data, according to the proposal, can then be susceptible to a breach, or it can be shared/sold for marketing purposes.

The proposal continues on to suggest that cashless transactions have a disproportionate effect on children under the age of 18 who are unable to apply for credit cards, as well as undocumented immigrants, the homeless and low-income consumers who are un-banked or under-banked. As evidence of this trend, the proposal names several restaurant chains where the price of a cup of tea can run $4.00 and a salad or sandwich averages $10.00. Hardly a place where the homeless or customers on a fixed income are frequenting.

Suggesting that this is a solution in search of a problem, the only other jurisdiction that has passed a law requiring merchants to pay with any acceptable form of legal tender is Massachusetts. That law was passed in 1978, prior to the internet being invented.

CRMA is currently developing its position on this matter.

 

ORDINANCE – EMPLOYEE DISCRIMINATION

Sponsors: Alderman Gilbert Villegas (36th Ward) and Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th Ward)

Committee: Human Relations

This proposal would prohibit employers from discharging, or otherwise discriminating against, an employee for changing or attempting to change their name, SSN or federal employment authorization document. It is unknown at this time if this is related to the city developing its own ID card for use with city services, but this section is being added to that section of the Municipal Code.

CRMA is currently developing its position on this matter.

 

ORDINANCE – ELECTRICAL CODE AMENDMENTS

Sponsor: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Committee: Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards

Most of the changes made here are not substantive and look like an attempt to clean up some of the Code and ensure that the correct citations to other parts of the Code are noted by reference. There is new language governing branch circuits, feeders, PVC, RTRC, luminaires, lampholders and lamps. Please ensure that persons in control of your building operations review the changes.

CRMA takes no position.

 

ORDINANCE – ENERGY PERFORMANCE RATING SYSTEM

Sponsor: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Committee: Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards

This proposal would set in place an energy performance rating system for covered buildings which assigns stars based on performance. A four star rating would be the highest and zero being the lowest. Buildings would be provided their rating on an annual basis and must disclose their score in any advertisement to sell the building. Water usage information could be made readily available to the public.

CRMA takes no position at this time. Please let us know if you have concerns.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 8, 2017.

The next Cook County Board meeting is scheduled for November 15, 2017.

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

121 Report – CRMA – August 2017

CITY COUNCIL ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS

INTRODUCTIONS

 

RESOLUTION – CALL FOR CITY TO FILE REQUEST FOR REVISED PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENTS

Sponsor:  Alderman Anthony Beale (9th Ward)

Committee:  Finance

 A recent Chicago Tribune investigative report raised concerns that property in Cook County was being over-assessed in poor neighborhoods and under-assessed in more wealthy neighborhoods.  Suggesting that the system used to evaluate a property’s value was fundamentally flawed, the report indicated that a more fair and accurate system, developed by professors at the University of Chicago, was never implemented.  The report set off a media blitz questioning the direction of the Assessor’s office, led by Joe Berrios.  Subsequently, the Cook County Board held a meeting to question the Assessor regarding the allegations made in the Tribune report and have vowed to make changes.

This resolution asks for the city to file a request for the Assessor’s office to revise assessments made on Chicago’s homes and businesses if the assessment resulted in a more than 7% negative variance from the market value of the property.  In addition, the resolution requests that the assessor’s office write rules for how it will address the inequities highlighted in the report.  Lastly, it directs the city’s Corporation Counsel to review whether there were any civil rights violations as a result of the current assessment system.

 

ORDINANCE – REGULATION OF AUTOMATIC SHUT-OFF VALVES AT GAS STATIONS

Sponsor:  Alderman Raymond Lopez (15th Ward)

Committee:  Finance

Concerned that gas station owners are not being diligent in ensuring that the automatic shut-off valves in their pumps are in good working order, Ald. Lopez introduced this proposal to require more frequent inspections of gas stations and greatly increasing fines specifically for not having an appropriately operational automatic shut-off valve.  Today the fine is not less than $500 and no more than $1000 for each offense.  The new fine for automatic shut-off valves would increase to $2500 per offense per day until the problem is fixed.

 

ORDINANCE – REVISION TO THE ELECTRICAL CODE

Sponsor:  Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Committee:  Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards

This over 200-page document seeks to update and revise the city’s electrical code.  It is an attempt to bring the code in line with the National Electrical Code.  The city’s code has not been updated in about 14 years, and as you can imagine, much has changed.  We encourage your real estate professionals and building teams to review the changes and contact us with questions or concerns.

The City Council and Cook County Board do not meet in the month of August.  The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 6, 2017 and the Cook County Board is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, September 13, 2017.

 

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

121 Report – CRMA – July 2017

In this issue

  • City Council Updates

More about CRMA

CITY COUNCIL ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS

INTRODUCTIONS

RESOLUTION 

REGULATION OF EMPLOYEE SCHEDULES

Sponsors:  Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward) and Alderman Toni Foulkes (16th Ward)

Committee:  Human Relations

This resolution calls for hearings to help alleviate what the sponsors consider to be unfair employee scheduling and employment practices.  It particularly highlights employees being “forced” to work part-time, employees’ inability to provide input or exercise control over their schedules and employer-initiated changes to schedules.  It concludes that such practices harm productivity.  This issue was originally discussed as part of Mayor Emanuel’s Taskforce on Working Families.  IRMA was a member of that taskforce.  CRMA members will recall that the taskforce ultimately decided not to move forward with a mandate.

ORDINANCE

REGULATION OF EMPLOYEE SCHEDULES

Sponsors:  Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward), Alderman Toni Foulkes (16th Ward), Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th Ward) and 14 additional co-sponsors

Committee:  Committees, Rules and Ethics

The proposal seeks to mandate the following:

• Provide employees with a “good faith estimate” in writing of the employee’s work schedule that would include minimum hours and would presumably include more information such as what days per week an employee would expect to work

• The employee can request to modify the estimated work schedule prior to commencement of employment, and the employer can accept/reject the request as long as the communication is in writing

• Provide employees with a 2-week schedule by either posting it in the workplace or posting electronically as long as all employees are given access to the schedule at the workplace or remotely.  The employee can choose how they want their electronic schedule issued.  Upon initial hire, employers must provide employees an initial schedule to cover until the new schedule is issued

• If the employee changes their schedule after the schedule has been posted, there will be no ramifications under this ordinance

• Employees have the right to decline additional, previously unscheduled hours once the schedule has been issued; if the employee accepts the additional hours the employer must further compensate the employee with an additional hour of pay for the shift, including cases where an employee is asked to extend their current shift

• If an employer subtracts hours from a shift after the schedule has been issued or cancels a shift altogether, with less than 24 hours advanced notice, then the employer must pay the equivalent of 4 hours or the number of hours in the employee’s scheduled shift, whichever is less*

• If an employer moves a shift after the schedule has been issued, then the employee must be compensated*

• Penalty pay is not required when changes to schedules are made as a result of threats to employers, employees, property, or when civil authorities have recommended that work not continue; when the location is closed or business is interrupted due to public utilities’ failure to supply electricity, water or gas; failure in the sewer system; acts of nature, war, civil unrest, strikes or other issues outside of the employer’s control that cause operations to discontinue or mutually agreed upon shift swaps among employees

• Before hiring new employees, the employer must offer existing hours to current employees that are qualified to do the work; an employer is prohibited from not offering the hours because it may cause the employee to become eligible for employer-provided benefits under the ACA

• Employees have 72 hours to accept/decline the hours before the employer can hire for the position; if the offer of additional work is for an expected duration of 2 weeks or less, then the employee will have 24 hours to accept/decline the offer; all offers must be in writing or posted wherever schedules are posted; acceptance must be in writing; such writings and acceptance must be kept for 3 years

• If an employee works during the 11 hours following the end of a shift, the employee must agree to such a schedule in writing and must be compensated one and a half times the employee’s regular rate for the hours that are scheduled less than 11 hours from the end of the last shift

• Employees have the right to request numerous adjustments to their schedules, whether it be changes in hours, job sharing arrangements, or even part-year employment.  The employer cannot retaliate against the employee for exercising this right

• A notice of employee rights in the ordinance must be posted at the workplace and written notification must be given at time of hire along with the employer’s name, address and telephone number

• Private right of action is included and fines will be assessed

A covered employee does not include anyone who is paid on a salary basis and whose rate of pay per week is greater than the 40th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time non-hourly workers in the Midwest Census Region as determined by the USDOL.  Regardless, it will include all employees making less than $50,000/year or less than $962 per week.

CRMA is opposed.

DRUG PRICING TRANSPARENCY

Sponsors:  Alderman Edward M. Burke (14th Ward) and Alderman Sophia King (4th Ward)

Committee:  Finance

Citing the rising costs of prescription drugs and recent cases of drug manufacturers involved in what some consider to be price-fixing and/or price-gouging, this proposal seeks to establish a Chicago Prescription Drug Price Review Board convened by the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health.  The Board would review trend anomalies in the list price of medications and highlight those trends in an annually published report.  That report might also suggest the need for legislative action on certain issues as informed by the data.  The Board will also issue public advisory opinions on its findings and establish a Pharmaceutical Price Watch Hotline for consumers to report increased prices.

The proposal would compel manufacturers that allow their products to be sold in Chicago to report all brand-name and generic drugs sold, and for brand-name drugs, the must report any WAC increase of 10% or more, or a 12-month price increase of $10,000 or more or a drug that has a 12-month WAC of $30,000 or more.  For generic drugs, WAC increases need to be reported if they are 25% or more, have a 12-month increase of $300 or more, or for new drugs, have a 12-month WAC of $3000 or more.  The city must be notified at least 90 days before a new drug is introduced to the market or before a price increase is instituted.  Justification for the price increase must also be produced.  Manufacturers found to be in violation of the ordinance shall have their names posted publicly by the department.

CRMA is developing its position.

 

ADOPTED ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS

PUBLIC COMMENTS AT COUNCIL MEETINGS

Sponsors:  Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th Ward), Ald. Michelle Harris (8th Ward), Ald. Patrick O’Connor (40th Ward) and 3 additional co-sponsors

The city is amending its Rules of Order and Procedure to allow for the public to comment on any matter being considered at any full City Council meeting.  Comments will occur at the beginning of the meeting immediately after the roll call and invocation.  All persons requesting to speak must be physically present within the Council Chambers and must keep comments focused on a subject that appears on the agenda.  Remarks will be limited to 3 minutes.  The public comment period will last for 30 minutes.  This comment period will be in addition to the public comments period already in place for committee meetings.  Written comments can also be submitted to the full Council through the Sergeant-at-Arms.

EFFECTIVE DATE:  The ordinance will be in effect for the July City Council meeting.

 

MAINTAINING THE PREPAID WIRELESS 911 SURCHARGE

Sponsor:  Budget Director

As the May 31st deadline for the end of the legislative session came and went without passing a budget, the city received word that unless it proactively passed its own ordinance, it would no longer be able to collect revenue from the 911 surcharge.  The 7% tax on cell phones was scheduled to increase to 9% and the landline surcharge was scheduled to increase from $3.90 to $5.00 but the increases were tied up in the budget bill.  The Mayor moved to pass an ordinance to preserve the surcharge before the deadline of July 1st, so that the city could continue to collect the revenue regardless of whether the legislature passes a budget.  The legislature has since passed a budget that was vetoed by Governor Rauner and later overridden by both houses.

EFFECTIVE DATE:  Increases will occur beginning on September 1st. 

 

LICENSING OF MASSAGE ESTABLISHMENTS

Sponsors:  Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th Ward), Ald Michelle Harris (8th Ward), Ald. Michael Scott, Jr. (24th Ward) and 5 additional co-sponsors

This ordinance will require businesses that offer massage services to obtain a regulated business license in addition to their limited business license.  The license, approved by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, requires each applicant to submit information on the types of massages offered, proof that employees are at least 18 years old, employment history of each applicant for the 3 years preceding the application, the previous experience of each applicant in the massage business, evidence of any previous business licenses for massage establishments revoked in any other jurisdiction, history of criminal violations and any lease information (if applicable).  Licenses will be denied to any person found to have violated certain sections of the Municipal Code, offenses involving sexual misconduct with children, trafficking of persons, other sexual offenses or any other felony not excused by the Commissioner.

As a condition of the license, licensees must keep the premises clean and sanitized, display prices in a written price list, require employees to wear nontransparent clothing of all sensitive areas, require clients to cover sensitive areas, launder sheets and towels after each use, refrain from touching any client in a sexual/genital area, keep physical facilities in good repair, keep a year’s worth of records of services rendered, have clear glass entrances to the establishment, separate entrances/exits from residences, post a sign identifying the name of the establishment, post an advisory notice for the benefit of customers, disinfect all massage tables, lavatories and floors, provide a toilet facility and provide closed cabinets for storage for towels and linens.

Massage therapists must be licensed by the state in order to work in the establishment, and licensees must keep a list of all employed massage therapists along with a copy of their license and state-issued photo ID.  The license must be displayed in the establishment and any advertisements must also show the city license number.  Licenses cannot be transferred.

EFFECTIVE DATE:  October 13, 2017

The next City Council meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 26, 2017.

CONTACT

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