In this Issue:
This Week In Springfield
This Week In Springfield the President of the United States Barack Obama spoke to the Illinois General Assembly about political civility; Representative Jack Franks legislation to reduce the vendor collection allowance, among other provisions, was posted to a committee but was not called for a hearing; and the Governor prepares for his Budget Address next week.
On the nine year anniversary of his speech upon the Old State Capitol steps announcing his Presidential bid, President Obama returned to Springfield to address a Joint Session of the Illinois General Assembly where he had served as a State Senator from 1997 until his election to the US Senate in 2004. It was the first time a sitting President addressed the General Assembly since President Jimmy Carter in 1978. The theme of the speech was to “build a better politics” where civility and patience outweighs extreme partisan posturing so that common ground can be found amid polite discourse.
The President’s message of political civility comes at a time when Illinois is entering its 8th month without a budget and both parties are gearing up for contentious March primaries and November general elections. As such, the President offered both parties talking points for the upcoming election. The President reiterated his support for redistricting but fell short of addressing term limits. He reminded the audience that he is a progressive Democrat who supports collective bargaining, minimum wage increases, campaign finance reform and voter registration reform. The President proclaimed that despite the continuous deadlock in Washington, and by inference Illinois, he “still believes in the politics of hope.”
President Obama finished his Springfield visit by hosting 250 of his friends at the Hoogland Center for the Arts.
Vendor Collection Allowance
As TWIS readers are aware, during the summer, Representative Jack Franks, (D-Woodstock) filed HB 4300 seeking to impose over $2 billion in tax increases primarily on Illinois employers. Most egregiously, his proposal includes reducing the vendor collection allowance which is a partial reimbursement for the expenses retailers experience for administering and collecting the sales tax on behalf of the state and units of local government. One of the other more egregious provisions would impose a 1% tax on every health insurance claim. In response, IRMA and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) informed voters of the negative impacts of this proposal. HB 4300 has been posted to the House Revenue and Finance Committee where it could be heard at any time.
IRMA is actively opposed to HB 4300 and continues to educate members of the Assembly as to the truth underlying the vendor collection allowance as well as the negative impact of many of the other provisions.
Budget Address Preview
On the heels of the State of the State Address on January 27th, Governor Bruce Rauner will be presenting his much anticipated Budget Address next week. This address comes at a time when the impasse over Illinois’ fiscal 2016 budget has stretched into the eight month and has pushed Illinois $6.2 billion deeper into debt. With revenue down $5 billion due to the January 1, 2016 sunset of the temporary income tax rates imposed during the Quinn Administration in 2011, and courts requiring some health and social service spending at fiscal 2015 levels or higher, the impasse is eroding Illinois’ already deteriorating finances. It is estimated that Illinois’ bill backlog will grow from $7 billion currently to as much as $12 billion when fiscal 2016 ends on June 30th. The Governor has continued to push for reforms he believes are necessary to ensure Illinois doesn’t continue to simply tax-and spend before he will entertain a tax increase for the budget.
This week was the deadline for House bill introductions. As such there has been a flurry of new introductions this week. Below is a snapshot of initiatives that will have a direct impact on retail.
Workplace Privacy—HB 4999 (Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago) makes it unlawful for an employer or prospective employer to (1) request or require an employee or applicant to authenticate or access a personal online account in the presence of the employer, (2) to request or require that an employee or applicant invite the employer to join a group affiliated with any personal on line account of the employee or applicant, (3) or join an online account established by the employer. Additionally, it prohibits retaliation against an employee or applicant.
Employee Sick Leave— HB 6162 (Rep. Andrew F Skoog, D-Spring Valley) creates the Employee Sick Leave Act and provides that employees may use personal sick leave benefits provided by the employer for absences due to an illness, injury, or medical appointment of the employee’s child, spouse, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent, for reasonable periods of time as the employee’s attendance may be necessary, on the same terms upon which the employee is able to use sick leave benefits for the employee’s own illness or injury.
Retail Theft—HB 6192 (Rep. Michael J. Zalewski, D-Riverside) relaxes the penalties for retail theft by increasing the threshold for enhanced penalties. Specifically, it increases the threshold amounts for enhanced penalties for theft (from over $500 to over $1,000) and for retail theft (from over $300 to over $500). Additionally it provides that enhanced penalties for theft and retail theft apply to third or subsequent convictions rather than for second or subsequent convictions.
Animal Abuse Registry— HB 5005 (Rep. Christine Winger, R-Bloomingdale) requires the Department of Agriculture to create and maintain an Animal Abuse Registry that is funded by an Animal Abuse Registry Fund. Any person 18 years of age or older that has been convicted of cruel treatment, aggravated cruelty, or animal torture shall register with the Department of Agriculture within 30 calendar days after the date of conviction to be placed on the Animal Abuse Registry. The registry will be publicly accessible. The bill also prohibits a registered person from owning a companion animal or being employed at an animal shelter, pound, pet shop, zoo, or other business where companion animals are present.
Biometric Data Collection—HB 6025 (Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake) provides that except to the extent necessary for an employer to conduct background checks or implement employee security protocols, a private entity may not require a person or customer to provide his or her biometric identifier or biometric information as a condition for the provision of goods or services. The new provisions do not apply to: (i) companies that provide medical services; (ii) law enforcement agencies; or (iii) governmental entities.
Medicine Locking Bottle—HB 5949 (Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside) would extend the medicine locking bottle pilot program from 2017 to 2018. The original legislation created a pilot program where pharmacies had the option of use a prescription locking bottle for new or refilled Schedule II prescription that contains hydrocodone. The legislations funding is subject to appropriation and is aimed at supporting one company.
Pharmacy Dispensing Error Mandate—HB 6180 (Rep. Michael P. McAuliffe, R-Chicago)r
equires pharmacies to establish and maintain a quality assurance program designed to prevent dispensing errors as well as a process designed to detect and identify dispensing errors. It also requires pharmacies to commence an investigation into any detected dispensing errors within 2 days after the date the dispensing error is discovered. Requires that if an investigation into a dispensing error indicates that the dispensing error is attributable, in whole or in part, to the pharmacy or its personnel, that a quality assurance review be performed. Provides requirements for the quality assurance review and its records. Provides that the records of the quality assurance review shall not be subject to discovery in any arbitration, civil, or other proceeding, except in certain circumstances. Effective 12 months after becoming law.
E-Vaping – HB 2404 (Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Northlake) originally banned e-vaping indoors everywhere cigarettes are prohibited. She has amended the bill to ban e-vaping in schools/child care centers as well as government buildings only.
“Beer Garden” Smoking Clarification—HB 5029 (Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Edwardsville) provides that smoking is allowed in facilities (such as outdoor beer gardens, patios, decks, etc.) constructed prior to August 14, 2015 for the purpose of compliance with the Act. It requires that such facilities have signs clearly stating that the building or area is used for smoking.
E-Cigarette Marketing Limits—HB 6026 (Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Northlake) limits the advertising and marketing of electronic cigarettes and electronic cigarette liquids targeted at persons under the age of 18 by manufacturers and retailers of such products. It also discontinues and prohibits the outdoor advertising and transit advertising of electronic cigarettes and electronic cigarette liquids by manufacturers and retailers of such products.
Egg Lot Consolidation—HB 6287 (Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Buffalo Grove) provides that no eggs may be offered for sale for consumer use 45 days or more after candling (rather than after the original 30-day candling date). It extends the expiration date labeling requirement for grade A and AA eggs to no later than 45 days after candling. Additionally, it provides that eggs may be repackaged only when the retailer performs a lot consolidation where the lot consolidation is performed by or under the supervision of a registered lot consolidator. It requires that eggs be consolidated in a manner consistent with the specified training, every lot consolidation shall be documented using an Egg Lot Consolidation Log form, and that registered lot consolidators shall work at one physical location only.
Meat Labeling Act—HB 5526 (Rep. Mike Smiddy, D-Port Byron) creates the Meat Labeling Act and requires that any person selling meat in this State must package the meat with a label indicating the country in which the meat was produced.
Local Food Scrap Mandate—HB 6029 (Rep. Carol A. Sente, D-Vernon Hills) requires that county waste management plans shall include a food scrap composting program. The program shall provide for separate collection and composting of leaves and food scrap, shall include a report to the Environmental Protection Agency about the capacity and availability of food scrap composting infrastructure in or near the county, and shall include a plan for access to food scrap composting by all county residents within 5 years.
Plastic Bag Recycling—SB 2224 (Sen. Terry Link, D-Gurnee) creates the Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Act and has been assigned to the Environment and Conversation Committee. It requires manufacturers of plastic carryout bags to register with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and pay to the Agency an initial registration fee and annual registration renewal fee. It prohibits a manufacturer from selling or offering to sell plastic carryout bag in the State unless the manufacturer is registered with the Agency and its name is printed on the plastic carryout bags it manufactures. Additionally, it requires each manufacturer to develop, and submit to the Agency, a plan to support the collection and recycling of plastic carryout bags and plastic film product wrap and prohibits retailers from purchasing plastic carryout bags from manufacturers under certain circumstances.
Coal Tar Ban— HB 5578 (Rep. Laura Fine, D-Glenview) prohibits the sale and use of a coal tar sealant product in the State of Illinois. Specifically, it prohibits the application of a coal tar sealant product on any surface, except for highway structures, in the State of Illinois including but not limited to a driveway, parking area, playground, sidewalk, bike trail or roadway. It also allows a city or county to adopt an ordinance to enforce the requirements of the legislation in prohibiting the sale of coal tar sealant.
Consumption Gross Receipts Tax—HB 6208 (Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Champaign) requires
when a retailer who is engaged in the business of selling seeds or plants sells those seeds or plants to a purchaser who uses the seeds or starter plants in raising lawn grass, vegetables, fruits, nuts, crops, or other plants which they will use or consume and not resell, those retailers are engaged in the business of selling tangible personal property to purchasers for use or consumption and are required to remit the tax imposed under the Act on those gross receipts. Requires a retailer who sells seeds or plants to a purchaser who uses those seeds or plants in raising vegetables, fruits, nuts, crops, or other plants for sale is selling those seeds or plants to purchasers for purposes of resale and is not required to remit the tax imposed under the Act on those gross receipts.
Retail Property Assessment
(Rep. Michael P. McAuliffe, R-Chicago)
provides that, for the purposes of the definition of 33 1/3%, the fair cash value of property is determined by the lesser of: (1) the Department of Revenue’s sales ratio studies for the 3 most recent years preceding the assessment year; or (2) the valuation of the property in the year immediately preceding the assessment year (under the current law, the fair cash value is based on the sales ratio studies).