This Week in Springfield – 101-10

March 29, 2019

RETAIL THEFT
PLASTIC STRAW BAN EXPANDS TO A STRAW, UTENSIL AND CONDIMENT BAN
COVENANTS NOT TO COMPETE
RETAIL RESTROOM BABY CHANGING PLATFORM
ANTI-THEFT WAGE THEFT AND STATE CONTRACTS
DATA PRIVACY ADVANCES
SECURITY OF CONNECTED DEVICES
BUSINESS FINANCIAL INFORMATION
INTERNET LOTTERY
CARPET
PBM TRANSPARENCY
SNAP

This Week in Springfield the first House Committee Deadline was reached touching off the usual stampede to advance legislation prior to adjournment for the week.

RETAIL THEFT

A bill (HB 1614 Rep. Justin Slaughter, D-Chicago) to increase the retail felony threshold to $2000 passed out of the House Judiciary Criminal Committee on a partisan vote after the Sponsor agreed to bring an amendment back that reflects a compromise with IRMA and the advocates.

As we have in the past, IRMA is willing to consider additional criminal justice reforms to the retail theft statute.  IRMA’s request in return for changes to the retail theft statute is to provide protection for retailers from organized retail crime.

IRMA looks forward to the continuing discussion regarding the issue. Additionally, IRMA would like to thank Chairman Justin Slaughter, Assistant Majority Leaders Art Turner, and Jay Hoffman for discussing the issue with IRMA and providing an avenue to a reasonable compromise.

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PLASTIC STRAW BAN EXPANDS TO A STRAW, UTENSIL AND CONDIMENT BAN

HB 3379 (Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg) as introduced, would prohibit a retailer from providing a single use straw to a consumer unless requested by the consumer. Prior to committee there had been discussions with IRMA and the advocates to reach a compromise that addressed IRMA’s concern with the bill as introduced while meeting the environmental intent of the advocates.

During committee, the advocates testified that they intended on filing an amendment that would expand the ban to “single-use utensils” and “single-use condiments”. “Single-use utensil” means a fork, knife, spoon, cocktail pick, chopsticks, splash sticks, and stirrers. “Single-use condiment” means plastic packaging used to deliver single-serving condiments to customers. Condiment packing included, but is not limited to, single-serving plastic packaging for ketchup, mustard, relish, mayonnaise, hot sauce, coffee creamer, salad dressing, jelly and jam, and soy sauce. Obviously, the subsequent amendment is well beyond the stated intent of the bill as introduced and the discussions that occurred between IRMA and the advocates.

Despite this last minute development, the House Energy and Environment Committee agreed to allow HB 3379 to advance to the House floor but only with the sponsor’s assurances that an agreed amendment would return to committee.

IRMA is opposed to the bill as drafted and the potential amendment as suggested. IRMA would like to thank Representative Michelle Mussman for agreeing to hold the bill on Second Reading to bring an agreed amendment back to the committee for consideration.

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COVENANTS NOT TO COMPETE

Legislation that would prohibit legal covenants not to compete in the state of Illinois passed the House Labor and Commerce Committee.  Last year, lawmakers passed an agreed bill that prohibited covenants not to compete between and employer and an employee who is making minimum wage.  The rational was to remove a potential barrier for low wage workers from moving from job-to-job.

HB 2569 (Rep. Anne Stava-Murray, D-Downers Grove) would expand the prohibition to ALL employers and employees in Illinois.  The sponsor testified that a covenant not to compete restricted the ability of a family member to transfer from a job where she was being illegally mistreated by a supervisor.  The legislation was voted out of committee after the sponsor agreed to consider to restrict the legislation to covenants not to compete be voided upon the illegal conduct of a supervisor.

IRMA is opposed to the bill as drafted.

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RETAIL RESTROOM BABY CHANGING PLATFORM

Representative Delia Ramirez introduced HB 3711 in response to complaints prompted by viral videos of a father attempting to change the diaper of a child on the floor of a bathroom.  As drafted, HB 3711 would require a “retailer” or “restaurant” that serves on average more than 50 people to have a baby changing platform in both the women and men’s restroom.

After IRMA discussed the practical issue of the requirement as drafted, the sponsor agreed to work with IRMA to make the legislation consistant with other states’ requirements and current Illinois law, conform with the American with Disabilities Act, and the current building codes of each jurisdiction.  The sponsor will bring back an amendment that:

  1. Requires a baby changing station in a bathroom accessible to women, one that is accessible in a bathroom accessible to men, or a publicly accessible baby diaper changing station that is accessible to both men and women;
  2. Restricts the changes to new buildouts or renovations of restaurant and retailers that exceed 50% of the building;
  3. Restricts the changes to a retailer of more than 5,000 square feet and has a bathroom that is open to the public;
  4. Restricts the changes to a restaurant with an occupancy of at least 60 people as determined by the fire marshal that has a bathroom open to the public;
  5. Exempts a retailer that does not allow minors on the premise; and
  6. Allows a building inspector to determine that the installation of a baby diaper changing station is not feasible or would not comply with applicable building standards governing the right of access for persons with disabilities.

With the adoption of the aforementioned changes, IRMA will be neutral with the legislation.  IRMA would like to thank Rep. Ramirez for working with IRMA on this important issue.

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ANTI-THEFT WAGE THEFT AND STATE CONTRACTS

HB 1653 CA#1 (Rep. Celina Villanueva, D-Summit) would prevent any employer who is convicted of wage theft from contracting with the state for five (5) years.  The intent of the legislation is to address the issue of temporary and seasonal employers who underpay their workers.  It is a rare instance for most mainstream retailers to be convicted of wage theft. Additionally, retailers are authorized to provide Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children (WIC) benefits to consumers in Illinois. If a mistake were to occur in a statewide workforce, a retailer that has hundreds of locations throughout the state would be prohibited from providing Medicaid, SNAP, or WIC benefits for five (5) years. The legislation as introduced would prevent the ability of the state from reliably distributing state and federal benefits to consumers in Illinois. HCA#1 addresses the aforementioned concern by exempting entities that have contracts with the state to provide Medicaid, SNAP, or WIC benefits to Illinois consumers from the requirements of the bill.

With the adoption of the amendment, IRMA is neutral on the legislation.  IRMA would like to thank Rep. Villanueva for bringing IRMA, AFSCME and LiUNA together to reach this agreement

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DATA PRIVACY ADVANCES

HB 3358 CA#2 (Rep. Art Turner, D-Chicago) creates the Data Transparency and Privacy Act and provides that an entity that collects, through the Internet, personal information about individual consumers must make disclosures to the individual regarding the collection of the information. It also establishes that a consumer has a right to opt out of the sale of the consumer’s information. Leader Turner testified that he intends on bringing an amendment back to the committee for its consideration.

IRMA met with the sponsor and advocates of the bill and they committed to addressing all of IRMA’s concerns. Upon the filing and adoption of language that addresses IRMA’s concerns, IRMA will remove its opposition.

IRMA would like to thank Leader Art Turner and the advocates for working to address IRMA concerns.

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SECURITY OF CONNECTED DEVICES

HB 3391 (Rep. Diane Pappas, D-Bloomingdale) creates the Security of Connected Devices Act and requires manufacturers of connected devices to equip the device with security features that are designed to protect the device and any information the device contains from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure.

As drafted, IRMA is currently opposed. Manufacturers are already required to secure connected devices pursuant to federal industry standards.  IRMA would be neutral to the legislation if these standards were adopted in the legislation. Otherwise, manufacturers would be required to produce different products specifically for sale in Illinois. The sponsor made no commitment to address the concerns of the opponents

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BUSINESS FINANCIAL INFORMATION

For three years, a debate has been taking place over whether or not to allow third-parties access to the financial information of businesses that local governments receive. Local governments claim access to this information will help them. However, after three years of debate, they are still unable to provide a single example that is not addressed by simply having the geolocation information. Geolocation information is not sensitive and is readily available free-of-charge from the Illinois Department of Revenue. The debate came to a head last year when it was discovered the primary backer of the proposal, a company named Azavar, had worked with a number of municipalities to try and circumvent existing law. IRMA continues to lead a broad coalition in opposition to allowing third-party access.

This year, they are back. HB 2947 (Rep. Michael Zalewski, D-Riverside) would allow units of local government to provide company-specific financial information to unregulated and unaccountable third-parties. Rep. Zalewski, who also chairs the House Revenue & Finance Committee, announced that HB 2974 would be held on the House floor and would not advance unless there is an agreed amendment. IRMA is in the midst of discussions with the representatives of local governments. IRMA appreciates the approach Rep. Zalewski is taking to the issue.

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INTERNET LOTTERY

Currently, subscribers can play the three big jackpot lottery games (i.e. MegaMillions, Powerball, and Lotto) via the Internet. There has been a desire for some time to expand the Internet offerings and allow play as-desired as opposed to via subscription. As introduced, HB 3661 (Rep. Chris Welch, D-Westchester) would have allowed the Illinois Lottery to offer not just the draw (i.e. jackpot) games but all games the Lottery offers via the Internet. This would have applied to scratch-off as well. After discussions with Rep. Welch, IRMA, the private lottery manager, and others, HB 3661 will be amended on the House floor to allow only draw games to be offered via the Internet. IRMA appreciates the receptivity of Rep. Welch to the limitation.

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CARPET

Senate Amendment #1 to SB 557 (Rep. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake) seeks to require producers to impose a 4-cent fee on every yard of carpet (nylon, polypropylene, and wool) and a 6-cent fee on every yard of PET, PTT, and blended carpet sold in the state of Illinois to pay for the collection and recycling of carpet. A producer is anyone who has legal ownership of the brand, brand-name, or co-brand of the carpet or the importer if the producer has no physical presence in Illinois. The legislation seeks to create a clearinghouse to operate the program. The clearinghouse who not only administer the entire program, set goals. Additionally, the clearinghouse would discuss and could provide recommendations on a number of fronts including carpet design. Retail participation as a take-back location is voluntary but if the retailer is an importer or has a private-label brand that retailer would be a producer. IRMA met with the sponsor regarding concerns.

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PBM TRANSPARENCY

HB 3187 (Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, R-Westmont) empowers any party contracting with a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) to obtain a contract compliance audit of the PBM including full disclosure of rebate amounts secured, actual amounts paid by the PBM to the pharmacy, and any consideration the PBM receives from the manufacturer for dispensed medications. HB 3187 was approved unanimously by the House Prescription Drug Affordability & Accessibility Committee and now moves to the full House for additional consideration.

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SNAP

HB 3343 (Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago) seeks to expand Illinois’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to permit individuals who are elderly, persons with a disability, and homeless individuals to redeem their SNAP benefits at restaurants. The restaurants would have to contract with the Illinois Department of Human Services and the eligible meals would have to be discounted. The discount will vary restaurant to restaurant and will be determined in the restaurant’s application. If signed into law, this program would become effective January 1, 2020. HB 3343 passed the House and now moves to the Senate for additional consideration.

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