IN THIS ISSUE:
The House was in Session Wednesday and Thursday of this week, while the Senate members spent the week in their districts. The deadline for Senate bill introductions concluded last Friday and the House deadline for bill introductions concluded this Friday. These deadlines are for stand-alone introductions. At any time, introduced bills may be amended. Committee hearings for both the Senate and the House will begin in earnest next week. The next substantive deadline is Friday, March 27th which is the House and Senate committee deadline for bills to be passed out of standing committees.
ENERGY DEBATE BEGINS
Two energy proposals were introduced recently in Springfield that purport to expand Illinois’ reliable and diverse energy grid. The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, which is comprised of environmental groups, renewable energy companies, and some unions have touted a renewable energy initiative in the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill (HB 2607). Meanwhile, Exelon, which owns and operates six nuclear plants in Illinois, has introduced a low-carbon emissions initiative in the Low Carbon Portfolio Standard (HB 3293). Both initiatives have attracted bipartisan support.
The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition believes the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill will create 32,000 new clean energy jobs per year. This will be accomplished by removing cost caps and increasing the share of power coming from renewable sources, like wind and solar, to 35 percent by 2030; mandating energy efficiency standards to reduce electricity use in Illinois by 20 percent by 2025; and initiating a market based Cap and Trade system to redistribute carbon emissions.
Meanwhile, Exelon introduced a Low Carbon Portfolio Standard initiative that would bring Illinois in compliance with the federally mandated rules that require all states to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants. Exelon argues that the legislation would also would help ensure the continued operation of their nuclear power plants in Illinois. Specifically, the Low Carbon Portfolio Standard would require Ameren and ComEd to purchase low carbon energy credits to match 70 percent of electricity used from qualified sources such as solar, wind, hydro, nuclear and clean coal. Ameren and ComEd would be allowed to recover through rates all of the costs associated with the purchase of these credits. The annual customer increases would be capped at 2.015 percent compared to 2009 rates.
IRMA is in the process of reviewing both initiatives. Obviously, utility costs and reliability are of utmost importance to the Illinois retail sector. Therefore, IRMA will be heavily involved in the discussions regarding these proposals and looks forward to working with the advocates and sponsors of both proposals.
As TWIS readers are aware, a great many bills touch the retail sector. In order to avoid inundating the readers with a flood of introductions, the following bills are a highlight of introductions that are of greater interest to retail.
SB 1833 (Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Skokie) and HB 3188 (Rep. Ann Williams, D-Chicago) expands the scope of information to be protected to include medical, health insurance, biometric, consumer marketing, and geolocation information. It requires notice of breaches of security to be provided to the Attorney General. Requires privacy policies to be posted.
ENVIRONMENT AND UTILITIES
SB 1433 (Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake) creates the Carpet Stewardship Act. It requires consumers to pay a 3.33 cents tax per square foot of carpet purchased in order to fund the collection, transportation and recycling of carpet in Illinois. It requires manufacturers—and some retailers—to join a representative organization and create a plan to implement and finance the program through Carpet America Recover Effort (CARE). CARE may raise or lower the tax with very little oversight from the State. Finally, it provides that the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency must approve each carpet stewardship plan for the plan to be valid. It requires retailers to list the tax separately on the receipt, remit the tax to the representative organization; and allows retailers to be voluntary collections points.
SB 1485 (Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park) requires the Planning and Procurement Bureau to establish a long-term renewable resources procurement plan that includes all renewable energy credits necessary to meet specified goals (replacing the current renewable portfolio standards). It makes changes concerning nondiscrimination, energy efficiency and demand-response measures, natural gas efficiency programs, real-time pricing, infrastructure investment and modernization, the Illinois Smart Grid test bed, and on-bill financing programs for electric and gas utilities. It also provides that upon promulgation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of a final rule regulating carbon dioxide emissions from existing electric generating units, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency shall be authorized to implement a cap and trade program or similar market mechanism to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.
HB 3293 (Rep. Larry Walsh, D-Joliet) requires the Planning and Procurement Bureau to include in procurement plans and competitive procurement processes the procurement of low carbon energy credits (LCE credits) for all of the utilities’ retail customers. The procurement plans shall include cost-effective low carbon energy credits from low carbon energy resources in an amount equal to 70% of each electric utility’s annual retail sales of electricity to retail customers in the State during the planning year immediately prior to the development of the procurement plan. Renewable energy credit, carbon emission credit, or LCE credit can only be used once to comply with a single portfolio standard and cannot be used to satisfy the requirements of more than one portfolio standard. It allows the electric utility to recover through tariffed charges all of the costs associated with the purchase of low carbon energy credits from low carbon energy resources. It requires electric utilities to procure low carbon energy credits from low carbon energy resources for all retail customers in its service area in accordance with provisions concerning the low carbon energy portfolio. It requires electric utilities and alternative retail electric suppliers to provide to its customers on a quarterly basis a pie-chart that graphically depicts the quantity of low carbon energy credits from low carbon energy resources procured as a percentage of the actual load of retail customers within its service area.
HB 3570 (Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion) requires providers of prepaid calling services to permit customers to transfer any telephone number used by that customer to any other telephone used by the customer.
HB 3584 (Rep. Silvana Tabares, D-Chicago) provides that a cable or video providers shall cease charging customers for internet modems rented to the customer when the customer has paid to the provider the cost of the modem and the customer requests that the rental charges be discontinued. Cable and video providers shall provide notice regarding the discontinuance of rental charges to customers in each billing statement. The notice shall include a disclosure of rights and responsibilities relating to the maintenance of the modem.
HB 3495 (Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston) requires restaurants to be aware of food allergy recalls from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It also requires restaurants to indicate on a placard, poster, or menu that consumers with food allergies to inform a waiter or waitress of the restaurant of their allergy.
HB 3237 (Rep. Sarah Feigenholtz, D-Chicago) requires in provisions that prohibit liquor distributors and manufacturers from giving, and retail licensees from receiving, anything of value, provides that a manufacturer, distributor or importing distributor may furnish free social media advertising to a person having a retail license if the social media advertisement does not contain the retail price of any alcoholic liquor.
SB 1836 (Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Chicago) creates the Healthy Workplace Act and requires employers to provide 7 paid sick days to part-time and full-time employees each year they are employed with the employer. Paid sick leave shall accrue at the rate of one (1) hour of leave for every thirty hours (30) of work up to the maximum of 56 hours of paid sick leave per year.
HB 3554 (Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago) provides that employees must be given notice of the shifts to be worked 2 weeks in advance of the scheduled shift. And establishes requirements for minimum pay for working shifts outside of scheduled shifts.
HB 3619 (Rep. Cynthia Soto, D-Chicago) expands the Equal Pay Act of 2003 to include all employers rather any employer with 4 or more employees. Also, it increases the maximum civil penalty for all violations of the Act or a rule from $2,500 to $5,000.
SB 1611 (Sen. Antonio Munoz, D-Chicago) provides that a pharmacist may substitute a prescription biological product for a prescribed biological product only if specified criteria are met. It requires that, within a reasonable time following the dispensing of a biological product, the dispensing pharmacist or the pharmacist’s designee shall communicate to the prescriber the specific product provided to the patient, including the name of the product and the manufacturer. Additionally, it requires the pharmacy to retain a record of the biological product dispensed for a period of 5 years. Finally, the legislation requires the State Board of Pharmacy to maintain a link on the Department’s Internet web site to the current list of all biological products determined by the United States Food and Drug Administration to be interchangeable with a specific biological product.
HB 3321 (Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago) stipulates that health care providers shall not, as a result of their acts or omissions, be liable for civil damages under the Department of Human Services’ Drug Prevention Program who, acting in good faith, directly or by standing order, prescribes or dispenses an opioid antidote to a patient who, in the judgment of the health care professional, is capable of administering the drug in an emergency.
SB 1811 (Sen. Iris Martinez, D-Chicago) provides that any pharmacy with more than one retail location operating in this State shall collect and discard unused prescription medications, including, but not limited to, controlled substances, from residential sources in accordance with State and federal laws, including the federal Controlled Substances Act and any regulations issued pursuant thereto.
SB 1466 (Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago) allows a licensed pharmacist to dispense an opioid antagonist in accordance with written, standardized procedures or protocols developed by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, in consultation with the Department of Public Health, if such procedures or protocols are filed at the pharmacist’s place of practice and with the Board of Pharmacy before implementation. If a pharmacist want to dispense an opioid antagonist, the pharmacist to complete a training program approved by the Department of Human Services under the Drug Overdose Prevention Program authorized under Alcoholism and Other Drug Abuse and Dependency Act.
HB 3219 (Rep. Michael Zalewski, D-Chicago) creates a pilot program beginning January 1, 2016, requiring that every new or refilled prescription for a Schedule II controlled substance containing hydrocodone shall only be dispensed in a non-reusable medicine locking closure package. It provides that medicine locking closure package must be dispensed by the pharmacy with instructions for patient use. Additionally, it provides that the manufacturer of the medicine locking closure package must make available assistance online or through a toll-free number for patient use.
HB 3627 (Rep. Marcus Evans, D-Chicago) allows pharmacists to administrate vaccinations to patients ages 10 through 13 pursuant to a valid prescription or standing order (was, limited to Influenza (inactivated influenza vaccine and live attenuated influenza intranasal vaccine) and Tdap (defined as tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis) vaccines).
HB 3774 (Rep. Monique Davis, D-Chicago) states that before mailing or shipping a prescription medication to a patient’s residence, a pharmacy or nonresident pharmacy must telephone the patient, informing the patient of the type of prescription medication and its purpose and giving the patient the option to cancel delivery of the prescription medication.
REGULATION AND LICENSING
SB 1755 (Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Sokie) creates the Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act and provides that an employer that intends to relocate a call center or portions of a call center to a foreign country must provide notice to the State Treasurer at least 120 days before the relocation. It requires the Treasurer to compile and post on the Treasurer’s website a list of employers that have relocated call centers. Additionally, it requires employers that relocate call centers to foreign countries to repay grants, loans, and tax benefits that may have been received. Finally, it authorizes a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 for violations of the Act.
HB 3462 (Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez), D-Cicero provides that no person or business shall sell or offer to sell any cleaning product that contains triclosan and is used by consumers for sanitizing or hand or body cleansing. This prohibition does not apply to individual products for which specific United States Food and Drug Administration approval for consumer use has been secured. Each violation of this prohibition is a business offense with a fine of $10,000.
HB 3773 (Rep. Silvana Tabares, D-Chicago) 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.
HB 3168 (Rep. David Leitch, R-Peoria) provides that the Department of Revenue may furnish certain financial information to municipalities and counties (now, only municipalities) if the municipality or county agrees in writing to the Act’s confidentiality provisions. The Department of Revenue is authorized to provide the information to municipalities or counties by electronic means.
SB 1675 (Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Chicago Heights) would permit the state to issue an RFP for digital cigarette tax stamps in IL and Would allow a stamp to be considered “affixed” if it’s at least 90% affixed to the package
HB 2513 (Rep. Marcus Evans), D-Chicago and SB 1919 (Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield) provides that a person who is both a licensed distributor and a licensed retailer shall be issued a single license number by the Department of Revenue. It also provides that records may be kept electronically and may be kept at an out-of-state location so long as those records are made available upon reasonable notice for the purpose of investigation and control by the Department of Revenue. In provisions that provide for increased penalties for retailers that do not have training programs, provides that those training programs may be conducted electronically. If a retailer has a training program in place prior to the effective date of the amendatory Act, has a training program approved by another state, or follows the guidelines set forth by the federal Food and Drug Administration, then that training program shall be deemed to meet the minimum standards in this State.
HB 3362 (Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Northlake) creates the offense of unlawful sale of flavored electronic cigarettes or flavored cigarette liquids. It provides that a person commits unlawful sale of flavored electronic cigarettes or flavored cigarette liquids when he or she knowingly sells flavored electronic cigarettes or flavored cigarette liquids, or causes, permits, or procures flavored electronic cigarettes or flavored cigarette liquids to be sold from his or her premises or establishment.
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