In This Issue:
This Week In Springfield, committee action was light as both chambers focused on floor consideration of bills that had previously been considered in committee. Some amendments are being sent to committee for further discussion before floor consideration, while others are made directly on the floor and considered there. We expect that with next week’s floor action deadline looming, the House and Senate will have long session days as the bulk of bills are debated on each the floor of their respective chambers.
BUSINESS DAY MAY 6th
Register today to attend Business Day 2015 on Wednesday, May 6th in Springfield. Business Day is the largest gathering of employers in Illinois. This is an opportunity to network with your peers throughout the state and jointly share your concerns directly with lawmakers. Governor Bruce Rauner will keynote the opening luncheon and likely share his Turnaround Agenda. The day concludes with the not-to-be-missed Party Under the Tent – a unique opportunity to continue the conversations of the day in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Act now to ensure you have a spot!
On a unanimous vote, HB 3898 (Rep. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago) passed the House and has now been sent to the Senate for consideration. The bill clarifies that employers must withhold child support from non-employees such as vendors and independent contractors. The Department of Human Services claims that federal law requires such withholding, although to date, IRMA has not been able to get clarification that this is actually a federal mandate and not merely an attempt to set forth procedure for withholding if an employer decides to withhold from a non-employee. It is also unclear what happens when/if an employer receives notification from the state to withhold from a non-employee who is no longer under contract with the employer. IRMA is working with the Department to get clarification on what the federal government actually requires so that employers are both informed and able to comply.
RETAIL THEFT – BOND
IRMA has had several conversations this legislative session with legislators interested in making changes to how retail theft cases are pursued and adjudicated, and the remedies that are available. In addition, IRMA was contacted by the Cook County Sheriff’s office regarding their legislative proposal to adjudicate retail theft cases within a 30 day period. HB 2919 (Rep. Michael Zalewski, D-Riverside) passed unanimously out of the Judiciary Criminal committee with the support of IRMA. The bill would allow individuals accused of misdemeanor and low-level felony retail theft to bond out of jail on their own recognizance after 30 days if a judgment has not been rendered in the case. The Cook County Sheriff is attempting to control costs as they currently are housing people in jail for long periods of time who are awaiting trial for non-violent offenses.
IRMA supports the efforts of Rep. Zalewski and the Cook County Sheriff’s office to find reasonable solutions to jail overcrowding and to using taxpayer money wisely in the process without undermining Illinois’ retail theft laws.
USING CRIMINAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION IN MAKING EMPLOYMENT DECISIONS
SB 567 (Sen. James Clayborne, Jr., D-East St. Louis) passed out of the Criminal Law committee this week on an 8-3 vote. The bill seeks to address the concern regarding the employment rates of individuals with criminal backgrounds. It would add to the IL Human Rights Act that if an employer makes an adverse employment decision based on an applicant’s criminal background, that the decision must be based on whether the background was job-related and consistent with business necessity. In addition, the bill would prohibit individuals from pursuing a remedy in more than one forum. The language of this bill will be amended to adequately include the arrest and conviction information that Title VII already permits. We should note that the EEOC issued guidance in 2012 for employers and applicants on how Title VII is being interpreted regarding the use of criminal backgrounds in making hiring decisions. This language does not seek to adopt or interpret that guidance, but rather clarify how case law is treating criminal background information in employment decisions.
We would like to thank Sen. Clayborne for agreeing to make the changes necessary so that the Illinois law does not conflict with federal law. This amendment is expected to be heard in committee next week before the measure is considered by the full Senate.