This Week in Springfield – 100-19


This Week in Springfield the Capitol caught fire while lawmakers looked to override or sustain Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto.

As lawmakers returned to Springfield to consider vetoes and other business a rogue space heater started a fire that caused the temporary evacuation of the Capitol. The temporary respite did nothing to stall the inevitable bipartisan overrides that were partially ignited by Governor Rauner’s signature on a ‘state funded abortion’ bill (HB 40) and ‘sanctuary state’ bill (SB 31) that caused much consternation among some lawmakers in the Republican Party.  This consternation was evident as Republican lawmakers in the House joined Democrat lawmakers in overriding the Governor’s veto of several bills which included but are not limited to Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s ‘Debt Transparency’ bill (HB 3649) and Treasurer Michael Frerich’s ‘ Life Insurance’ bill (HB 302)–both of these bill head to the Senate where the same outcome is expected.  Governor Rauner was not without some ‘wins’ of his own. While some Senate Republicans joined Democrats in overriding the Governor’s veto of a bill that would have prohibited right-to-work zones in Illinois (SB 1905), the veto was subsequently sustained by one vote in the House.

None of the aforementioned bills necessarily have a direct impact on retail but are worthy to note in that there are more than the usual political undercurrents in play during this Veto Session.

Republican lawmakers also helped Democrats in overriding the Governor’s veto on the Gender Pay History legislation, HB 2462 (Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin/Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Skokie). The bill prohibits an employer from screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history. The idea is that women are getting paid less than men and this follows them from job to job. In order to stop this perpetual cycle, an employer will not be able to ask about a person’s previous wage therefore, the theory goes, previous inequities cannot be taken into consideration when offered a new salary.

This override was expected as it initially passed the House with 91 votes–20 votes more than the 71 needed for an override. This legislation is prime example of a “wedge” issue propagated by the anti-Trump/anti-Rauner reactionaries. Despite evidence that this initiative would actually hurt employees, including women, Democratic lawmakers wanted to force Republican lawmakers into a vote that would have been marketed as ‘anti-woman’ in a time when the Republican Party is being portrayed as not inclusive. What is surprising is that although the veto was overridden, it only garnered 81 votes, more than needed but less than it initially passed the House.

HB 2462 now moves to the Senate for an override vote. It should be pointed out that although HB 2462 initially passed the House with a veto proof majority. It did not pass the Senate with a veto proof majority.  IRMA expects the Senate to override the veto but it will be closer than first expected.

Additionally, lawmakers sustained the Governor’s veto of a bill that would have created a state run workers’ compensation program. HB 2622 (Rep. Laura Fine, D-Glenview/Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Skokie) would have required $10 million in employer money from the Workers’ Compensation Commission Operations Fund to create a state-run Illinois Employers Mutual Insurance Company to compete with the over 300 private insurance companies already competing in Illinois. HB 2622 passed the House with a partisan vote of 67-51 and the Senate with a vote of 32-20-1. On the override motion, the House Democrats stood alone and could only muster 65 votes–6 votes shy of the requisite 71.

The following vetoes were not considered this week, but still may considered during the second week: Geo-location (HB 3449), Workers Compensation ‘Reform’ (HB 2525), and $15 Minimum Wage (SB 81). IRMA does not believe any of these initiatives have enough support for a veto override.

Finally, lawmakers considered legislation beyond veto motions. This included an unemployment insurance (UI) bill agreed upon by employers and labor. SB 1381 (Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Bellevue/Sen. Terry Link, D-Gurnee) extends the ‘speed bumps’ for another two years. Speed bumps are increases in UI taxes on employers and UI benefit cuts on labor. ‘Speed bumps’ are intentionally inserted to incentivize both sides to return to the table to review the current UI agreement and negotiate any changes that may be necessary or either side, or the Governor’s Office, desires.  In this case, no changes are necessary and it is speed bumps that brings everyone together.  As it is an agreed bill, it passed the House unanimously and IRMA expects the Senate to pass it during the second week of the veto session.