Illinois This Week in Springfield 99-02

In This Issue:



The General Assembly convened this week and much of the attention centered on Governor Rauner’s State of the State address.  After he delivered his speech, which included an outline to increase the minimum wage, the Senate passed their own minimum wage increase.


This week, Gov. Rauner delivered his first State of the State address to the General Assembly.  The much anticipated speech laid out the issues that Gov. Rauner wants to tackle during his term.  He will focus on growing the economy and attracting jobs, ensuring that children in all income levels receive a quality education, reform the way taxes are used and structured, and change the way government operates and interacts with citizens.  But he cautioned listeners that returning Illinois to its rightful place as one of the best places to live and work in the country is a long-term goal.  Gov. Rauner stated that his focus will not be on the next election, but on doing what’s best for the state.  Citing competitiveness as his watchword and opportunity and compassion as his goals, Gov. Rauner laid out a tough and ambitious agenda.

Of particular interest to the retail community, he laid out a specific plan for the minimum wage by supporting an increase of 25 cents per year for the next 7 years.  He tied his support for a minimum wage increase to reforms in the workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance systems.

As he did during the campaign, the Governor will make Worker’s Compensation reform a priority.  He claimed Attorney General Lisa Madigan as an ally based on her past expressions of support for addressing how causation is interpreted.  Additionally, he also expressed a desire to make the unemployment insurance system work better for both employers and employees.  It remains to be seen how potential reforms to the unemployment system will be addressed. The system is currently under an ‘agreed bill’ process which was negotiated by representatives of employers and labor. The current agreement has returned Illinois Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to solvency ahead of schedule. However, it also contains ‘speed bumps’ (aka benefit cuts for laid off workers and tax increases for employers). These ‘speed bumps’ are designed to force both parties back to the negotiating table to review the agreement and ensure it is having its desired effect. These speed bumps must be addressed this year or the aforementioned benefit cuts and tax increases will take effect.

Governor Rauner put a good deal of emphasis on education reform – a topic that is near and dear to his heart and a subject area in which he has long been involved. In order to have a highly trained and educated workforce, his administration will focus on ensuring that each child in Illinois has access to a quality education form an early age.  Since not every child will want or have the means to attend a four-year university, Gov. Rauner stressed that community colleges should be better equipped with technical and vocational training so that everyone has a real shot at the middle-class.  Gov. Rauner mentioned that he wanted to eliminate unnecessary testing so that teachers have more time to teach, and he wants to create incentives to attract the best and brightest teachers to Illinois.

As part of the reforms he wants to achieve, the Governor suggested giving local citizens greater power over the collective bargaining processes of their local governments and school districts including the right to create by referendum local empowerment zones. As described by the Governor, employees in these zones would have the right to decide whether or not to join a union. Additionally, the Governor stated that Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti would be directly involved in finding ways to consolidate government and rid itself of unfunded mandates.

During his speech, the Governor made passing reference to the need to reform ‘our out-of-date tax code’ pointing out that the ‘base it too narrow, and that makes us uncompetitive.’ While the speech itself contained no other details, his staff distributed additional details after the speech. As it relates to taxes, those details included:

    • Modernizing the sales tax to include service taxes;
    • Increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit;
    • Make income taxes low and competitive with other states;
    • Restructure the motor fuel tax to appropriately invest in infrastructure.


Those interested in viewing the additional details can find them here. You can read the speech here and watch the video of the speech here.

Governor Rauner has laid out an ambitious plan for the state. As always, IRMA will engage with all parties in the days to come on those issues of interest to retail. Everyone now awaits the Governor’s budget address on February 18th.

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The first bill heard in the Senate Executive Committee of the 99th General Assembly was a proposal by Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Westchester) to increase the minimum wage.  Sen. Lightford, who has been the champion for this issue, introduced a bill that addresses minimum wage in light of recent changes in Chicago and concerns about how a mandated increase would affect small businesses.  SB 11 proposes to raise the current minimum wage from $8.25 to $11.00 over a four-year period – a 25% increase in employers largest or second largest expense item.  In addition, it would preempt home rule units from imposing their own minimum wage with the exception of the recently enacted ordinance in the City of Chicago. In the case of Chicago, they would be allowed to increase their minimum wage to the $13 per hour called for in their ordinance but would be preempted from raising it beyond $13.  Lastly, in recognition of the fact an increase would have negative financial implications on employers, this proposal would establish a limited tax credit for businesses with 50 employees or less.  This is a significant development as it is an admission that minimum wage increases negatively impact employers and discourage employment – something the proponents have long denied.

IRMA President & CEO Rob Karr testified in opposition noting that no employer can afford a 25% increase in costs as no employer, certainly in the retail space, is experiencing sales and profit increases of 25%. Moreover, these increases are just on labor and do not include or take into account the ever-increasing costs of inputs, property taxes, etc. IRMA noted that the day before a noted and popular bookstore in San Francisco, CA, whose owner was among the leading advocates when San Francisco enacted their minimum wage which currently stands at $11.05, is closing this year citing the unsustainable minimum wage.

SB 11 does nothing to change the economic perception of Illinois. It does nothing to create jobs and grow the economy – something every economist agrees is the only prescription for significantly lowering unemployment and raising wages. Further, it continues to economically disenfranchise young workers who are experiencing unemployment over 50% in Illinois and over 90% in large portions of the City of Chicago.

After a short debate, the measure passed out of committee on a party-line vote of 11-5-0 and was sent to the Senate floor for additional consideration.  Wednesday, Senate Bill 11 passed the full Senate by a vote of 36-18-0.

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The Transportation for Illinois Coalition (TFIC), a coalition co-chaired by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois AFL-CIO, has been trying for several years to garner support for additional taxes to fund a new capital infrastructure campaign. The State’s largest infrastructure program in history of $30 billion expired two years ago and was plugged last year by a $1.1 billion program.

The coalition is trying to raise at least $1.8 billion in annual revenues – $1.5 billion would be used for a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGo) program and another $300 million to finance $3 billion in bonds.

Presently, the TFIC is laying out four funding scenarios. TWIS readers can view those scenarios here. The current centerpieces of their tax proposals are:

  1. Increase the Motor Fuel Tax by 13-cents. This would give Illinois the fourth highest state imposed motor fuel tax in the nation. (estimated to raise $780 million)
  2. Increase the state sales tax by .1%. (estimated to raise $154-$198 million)
  3. Double the sales tax on food from the current 1% to 2%. (estimated to raise $329 million)

Other proposed revenue sources to be paired with one or more of the above include increases in vehicle registrations, certificates of titles, driver’s licenses, and various fund transfers.

It is important to note that Governor Rauner’s administration, via Capitol Fax, a highly-read political blog focused on Illinois government and politics, is denying any connection stating: “The administration has not launched behind-the-scenes talks with legislators to raise the gas tax, or any other taxes or fees to fund a capital program. What’s being circulated by some advocacy groups is not the governor’s plan and does not have his blessing.”

IRMA will continue to monitor the discussion.

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Last year, an IRMA initiative to return fairness to the refunding of sales tax on bad debt passed both chamber of the Assembly unanimously. Former Governor Pat Quinn decided to use the bill as a vehicle for meaningless political posturing in literally his final moments in office effectively killing the bill. The initiative has been reintroduced in the form of HB 498 (Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D- Chicago Heights) and has already attracted 13 co-sponsors. The proposal has no known opponents. As a refresher, if a consumer does not pay for the merchandise they purchase on credit, and efforts to collect fail, a bad debt is declared and sales tax is refunded to the retailer. This happens because in the eyes of the law, a sale is deemed not to have occurred.

Several years ago, the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) issued a controversial opinion that this did not apply to private label credit cards (PLCC’S). PLCC’s are cards emblazoned with the logo of a store and can only be used at that store unlike multipurpose cards (e.g. cards that may carry a logo but can be used anywhere) or general use cards (e.g. VISA, MasterCard, etc.). Over the course of last year, IRMA worked with IDOR to address their procedural concerns to ensure proper documentation would be available and lines of accountability would be clear.

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Illinois – This Week in Springfield – 99-1

January 16, 2015


This Week In Springfield witnessed the inauguration of Governor Bruce Rauner, the Sine Die adjournment of the 98th General Assembly, and the opening days of the 99th General Assembly. With the opening of the 99th Assembly, legislative introductions also began.



In a speech brimming with optimism over the daunting challenges ahead and extolling the virtues of Illinois, Governor Bruce Rauner used his inauguration speech to call for cooperation to restore the confidence of Illinoisans and restore Illinois to greatness. “We need a booming economy that is pro-growth, pro-business, pro-job creation or we won’t have the money to solve any of our other problems. Our state must become competitive again. In the weeks ahead, I’ll be asking the legislature to work with me to pass a comprehensive jobs and economic package that will get Illinois working again. Let’s get our sons and daughters to return home!”

His inaugural speech included creating a competitive economy; creating world class educational opportunities; and enhancing accountability and transparency. Governor Rauner appeared to extend an olive branch by noting that the problems the State is facing have been building for decades and the blame falls on both Republicans and Democrats.

Leading up to the inauguration, Governor Rauner and his team assessed the State’s financial condition which includes, billions in unpaid bills, one of the worst credit rating in the nation, $100 billion pension shortfall, and a multi-billion dollar budget deficit—which his team has described as a phony budget filled with gimmicks.

He highlighted that Illinois’ financial uncertainty, bad management and bad practices created by both parties has hampered Illinois’ competitiveness. This uncertainty has discouraged businesses and people from locating in Illinois while at the same time encouraging people and businesses to leave Illinois. Much like his campaign, he touted creating an economy that is pro-growth, pro-business and pro-job creation that makes Illinois competitive while creating revenue to solve other problems. To begin this process of revitalization, he urged lawmakers to work with him to pass a comprehensive jobs and economic package that will make Illinois competitive and get Illinois residents back to work.

Rauner made it clear that in order for Illinois to thrive, it needs to prepare the next generation for success.  This includes supporting and developing world class educational opportunities.  He explained the need to invest in all areas of schooling including K through 12, vocational and technical training. He stated that to become competitive Illinois needs to reform the education bureaucracy, roll back costly mandates, support teachers, and give students better access to great schools.

Rauner warned that achieving his goals for Illinois would take sacrifice.  “Sacrifice by all of us – politicians and interests groups, business and labor, those who pay for government and those who depend on government’s services.”

Illinois elected a Governor who is a self-proclaimed nobody that nobody sent and he pledges bi-partisan cooperation to solve bi-partisan issues to move Illinois forward.  In the months to come, IRMA looks forward to working on the specifics with Governor Rauner and his administration and the General Assembly.



As is always the case at the end of an Assembly, we want to say goodbye to those members of the House and Senate who served during all or a significant portion of the 98th Assembly who will not be serving in the 99th Assembly. On behalf of the members of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, we extend our gratitude for your service and sacrifice and wish you the best in your new endeavors!


Mike Bost (R-Carbondale) – elected to U.S. Congress

Tom Cross (R-Plainfield)

Keith Farnham (D-Elgin)

Brad Halbrook (R-Charleston)

Josh Harms (R-Watseka)

Kay Hatcher (R-Yorkville)

Naomi Jakobsson (D-Champaign)

Charles E. Jefferson (D-Rockford)

Renee Kosel (R-Mokena)

JoAnn Osmond (R-Gurnee)

Dennis Reboletti (R-Addison)

Darlene Senger (R-Naperville)

Jil Tracy (R-Quincy)


Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) – elected as State Treasurer

Mike Jacobs (D-Moline)




At Noon on Wednesday, January 14th, the 99th General Assembly convened and organized. The 99th brings with it substantial changes. There are 19 new members in the Assembly including 16 new members in the House and three new members in the Senate. The Democrats continue to hold veto-proof majorities in both chambers with 39 members in the Senate and 71 in the House.

Over the course of the last several years as the Democrats have held both chambers of the Assembly and the Governor’s Office, Republican votes on the state budget have been non-existent. During his opening remarks to the 99th General Assembly, House Speaker Madigan welcomed the Republican’s back to active participation of the State government and signaled his expectations that with the election of Governor Rauner Republican votes would be required to pass a state budget. .  Speaker Madigan believes the budget is the number one priority facing the new General Assembly. During the budget negotiations, Speaker Madigan has vowed to protect the working class. Additionally, he commented that the State must focus on education, from early childhood education to higher education.  With the election of Governor Rauner, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin noted the citizens of Illinois have voted for a change in the direction of Illinois. He also pointed out that the issues that face the State are profound but they are not Republican nor are they Democrat and the people of Illinois expect the General Assembly to come together to demonstrate they can implement changes that will make Illinois prosperous again.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, Senate President Cullerton was straight forward when he called for an immediate increase in the minimum wage. To ease the burden on Illinois businesses he pledged to streamline the often maligned start up paperwork. Finally, he mentioned that it was time for lawmakers to back up their rhetoric on education and work to create a positive change in policy. Senate Minority Leader, Christine Radogno urged members of both parties to listen to one another’s ideas and warned the Assembly should not to fall back into the comfort of partisan rhetoric and run for the cover of special interests when there are obstacles or disagreements.



Below is a listing of the members in each chamber who are new to their respective chamber or were appointed to fill an unexpired term and were elected to a term in their own right last November – not necessarily new to the Assembly. On behalf of the members of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, we welcome these new members, wish them every success, and look forward to working with them as the 99th Assembly unfolds.


Carol Ammons (D-Champaign)

Steve Andersson (R-Geneva)

Mark Batnick (R-Plainfield)

Thomas Bennett (R-Gibson City)

Peter Breen (R-Lombard)

Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro)

Randy Frese (R-Paloma)

Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago)

Sheri Jesiel (R-Gurnee)

Margo McDermed (R-Mokena)

Anna Moeller (D-Elgin)

Reginald Phillips (R-Charleston)

Pamela Reeves-Harris (D-)

Litesa Wallace (D-Rockford)

Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville)

Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego)

Christine Winger (R-Wood Dale)


Neil Anderson (R-Rock Island)

Scott Bennett (D-)

Chris Nybo (R-Westmont)



The four leaders have announced their respective leadership teams for the 99th General Assembly. IRMA congratulates these leaders.

Senate Democratic Caucus

Senate President  –  Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago)

Majority Leader   –   Sen. James Clayborne (D-East St. Louis)

Assistant Majority Leader  –    Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago)

Assistant Majority Leader   –   Sen. Terry Link (D-Gurnee)

Assistant Majority Leader   –   Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Westchester)

Assistant Majority Leader    – Sen. Antonio Munoz (D-Chicago)

Assistant Majority Leader   –  Sen. John Sullivan (D-Quincy)

Majority Caucus Chair  –   Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago)

President Pro Tempore  –  Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park)

Majority Caucus Whip   –   Sen. William Haine (D-Alton)

Majority Caucus Whip   – Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago)

Majority Caucus Whip  –  Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago)


Senate Republican Caucus


Senate Republican Leader  –  Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont)

Deputy Leader –  Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine)

Assistant Leader –  Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington)

Assistant Leader   –  Sen. Dave Luechtefeld (R-Okawville)

Assistant Leader   –  Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Peru)

Assistant Leader   –  Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford)

Caucus Chair –  Sen. Pam Althoff (R-McHenry)

Republican Whip  –  Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Champaign)


House Democratic Caucus

Speaker of the House – Rep. Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago)

Majority Leader  –  Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago)

Deputy Majority Leader  – Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie)

Deputy Majority Leader – Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley)

Assistant Majority Leader – Rep. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago)

Assistant Majority Leader – Rep. Dan Burke (D-Chicago)

Assistant Majority Leader –  Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago)

Assistant Majority Leader  – Rep. Al Riley (D-Hazel Crest)

Assistant Majority Leader   – Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago)

Assistant Majority Leader – Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria)

Assistant Majority Leader – Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion)

Assistant Majority Leader   – Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Buffalo Grove)


House Republican Caucus

House Republican Leader – Rep Jim Durkin (R-Burr Ridge)

Deputy Leader –  Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Westmont)

Deputy Leader – Rep. David Leitch (R-Peoria)

Assistant Leader – Rep. Dan Brady (R-Normal)

Assistant Leader  – Rep. Chad Hays (R-Danville)

Assistant Leader – Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Decatur)

Assistant Leader – Rep. Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein)

Assistant Leader  – Rep. Mike Tryon(R-Crystal Lake)

Two remaining House Republican Caucus leadership positions will be appointed at a later date.

IRMA would like to congratulate these leaders and we look forward to continuing to work with them as the 99th Assembly unfolds.


A new General Assembly brings old, new and developing initiatives. The following are samples of legislative proposals of interest to retail introduced to date. Assuming they are not changed, the deadline to introduce legislation is February 20th in the Senate and February 27th in the House. Legislation may be introduced on any regular session day or perfunctory day. A perfunctory day is a day when a chamber is not meeting formally but is in session to process paper.


HB 124 (Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago) increases the minimum wage to $15 per hour on October 1, 2015.

HB 166 (Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago) creates the family leave insurance program. The legislation requires the Department of Labor to establish and administer a Family Leave Insurance Program that provides family leave insurance benefits to eligible employees who take unpaid family leave to care for a newborn child, a newly adopted or newly placed foster child, or a family member with a serious health condition.

SB 9 (Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Plainfield) prohibits any person from selling, offering to sell, giving away, or providing free samples of powdered pure caffeine to any person under age 18 located in the State or to any person under age 18 making the purchase from within the State.

SB 11 (Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Westchester) increases the minimum wage from $8.25 to $9.00 beginning July 1, 2015 and increases it by $0.50 each July 1 until July 1, 2019, at which point the minimum wage will be $11.00. The legislation provides that the establishment of a minimum wage that employers must pay their employees is an exclusive power and function of the State and is a denial and limitation of the home rule powers and functions, except that the limitation on home rule powers does not apply to a specified ordinance adopted by the City Council of City of Chicago. Additionally, the legislation creates a credit against the withholding tax liability of employers with fewer than 50 employees, calculated based on the increase in the minimum wage. Effective immediately.


HB 132 (Rep. Mike Tryon, R-Crystal Lake) and SB 49  (Sen. David Koehler, D-Peoria) provides that the provisions and rules set forth in a Section concerning farmers’ markets only apply to that Section (currently, the entire Act).

HB 133 (Rep. Andre Thapedi, D-Chicago) provides that any label of fresh, frozen, or processed fish or shellfish, wild or farm raised, offered for sale at wholesale or retail shall be clearly identified. It also requires that a retail food facility that sells or offers for sale any fresh, frozen, or processed fish or shellfish, wild or farm raised, may not knowingly misidentify or misbrand the product.

SB 46 (Sen. Iris Martinez, D-Chicago) provides that any individual seeking a food service sanitation manager certificate or a food service sanitation manager instructor certificate must receive a passing score on the examination set by the certification exam provider accredited under standards developed and adopted by the Conference for Food Protection or its successor organization (rather than a score of at least 75% on the examination).

SB 67 (Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago) provides that no person shall sell, offer for sale, or deliver, receive, or purchase for resale in this State any product consisting of or containing powdered alcohol. It defines “powdered alcohol” as any powder or crystalline substance containing alcohol produced for human consumption.


SB 61 (Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Cicero) provides that the tax on diapers and baby wipes shall be imposed at the rate of 1%. Makes changes concerning the distribution of the proceeds from the tax imposed on diapers and baby wipes.


SB 66 (Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago) creates the Smart Phone Theft Protection Act and requires wireless communications device dealers to maintain a written record of every purchase or acquisition of a used wireless communications device for resale. The legislation provides that a law enforcement agency that has probable cause to believe a device has been stolen or is evidence of a crime may place an investigative hold on or confiscate the device. Additionally, the legislation requires the installation of video security cameras at a dealer’s physical location.


SB 68 (Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago) provides that a person may not operate a motor vehicle while wearing a mobile computing headset. It provides limited exceptions to this prohibition for (1) law enforcement officers or emergency vehicle operators in the performance of their official duties; (2) drivers using a mobile computing headset to communicate with emergency personnel; and (3) drivers that are parked on the shoulder of a roadway.

SB 32 (Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield) provides that a person under 18 years of age shall not possess an alternative nicotine product.

HB 125 (Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago) removes a provision requiring the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to impose limitations on prescriptions drugs such that the Department shall not provide reimbursement for more than 4 prescriptions, including 3 brand name prescriptions, for distinct drugs in a 30-day period, unless prior approval is received for all prescriptions in excess of the 4-prescription limit; and removes certain exemptions to the 4-prescription limit.

HB 108 (Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago) creates the Illinois Universal Health Care Act and provides that all individuals residing in the State are covered under the Illinois Health Services Program for health insurance. Creates the Pharmaceutical and Durable Medical Goods Committee to negotiate the prices of pharmaceuticals and durable medical goods with suppliers or manufacturers on an open bid competitive basis. Sets forth provisions concerning patients’ rights.


SB 35 (Sen. Pamela Althoff, R-McHenry) provides that, if manufacturers meet their recycling goals prior to the end of the year and recyclers no longer pick up CEDs and EEDs without charge, municipalities, townships, and other units of local government that are acting as collectors shall be allowed to collect a fee from consumers who drop off CEDs and EEDs for recycling.

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