This Week in Springfield – 101-14

IN THIS ISSUE:

CAPITOL PLAN PROPOSED
BAG TAX
DATA PRIVACY
DOOR-TO-DOOR SALES PROTECTION
VIDEO INTERVIEW RESTRICTIONS
“SESAME” LABELING MANDATE
HUMAN RIGHTS “EXPANSION”
SNAP RESTAURANT MEALS PROGRAM
REBATE CARD DORMANCY FEES
BULK FOOD CONTAINERS
BPA
RESTAURANT FOOD ALLERGEN NOTICE
BABY CHANGING STATIONS

This Week In Springfield a capitol plan was unveiled along with proposed funding, data privacy was discussed, and the budget discussions intensified. The Assembly will return on Monday afternoon and is scheduled to be in session through May 31. Things will be very fluid.

CAPITOL PLAN PROPOSED

A Capitol plan is finally taking shape in Springfield. This week, the Governor’s office released a preliminary plan dubbed Rebuild Illinois that includes $41.5 billion in spending over six years.

The proposed plan is to be funded by the following taxes:

 

Source Proposal New Annual Revenue ($ millions)
 

Motor Fuel Tax

Current base motor fuel taxis19 cents per gallon for gas and diesel.This proposal would increase the rate by 19cents,effective July 1,2019. Base motor fuel taxes have not been increased since 1990. Along with $560 million in new annual state revenue, this proposal would increase local motor fuel tax revenues by over $650 million annually ($4 billion over the six years of the plan).  

$560

 

Vehicle Registration Fees

Current vehicle registration fees are $101 per vehicle. This proposal would increase fees at-tiered approach based on vehicle age. Annual fees for vehicles 3 years or newer would increase to $199, 4-6 years to $169,7- 11 years to $139, and vehicles 12 years and older to $109.

 

$490

Vehicle Registration Fees

-Electric

Current vehicle registration fees for electric vehicles are $34 per vehicle,every other year.  This proposal would increase the fees to $250 per year to help contribute to the maintenance of the state’s transportation network.  

$4

Real Estate Transfer Tax-Non-Residential Transactions Only Current taxis 50 cents per  $500 in market value of property transferred. This proposal would increase the tax to $1 per $500 for non-residential transactions only.This rate has not been changed since 1989.  

$34

Ride-Share Tax Ride sharing is not currently taxed at the state level.This proposal would introduce a per-ride fee of $1statewide. $214
 

Liquor Gallon age Tax

Current liquor gallon age taxes are 23.1 cents on beer and cider,$1.39 on wine and $8.55 on distilled liquor.  This proposal would increase the rate per gallon by 4.6 cents, 66 cents and $4.05, respectively.  

$120

Cable,Satellite and Streaming Tax Cable,satellite and streaming services  are not currently taxed at the state level. This proposal would introduce a 7% tax on these services,in line with the taxes charged to telecommunications.  

$150

Parking Garage Tax Parking garages are not currently taxed at the state level.This proposal would introduce a 6% tax on daily and hourly garage parking and  a 9% tax on monthly and annual garage parking. $60
 

Traded-In Property Exemption

Currently traded-in property provides a sales tax exemption on the purchase of property up to the value of the property traded-in.This proposal would introduce a $10,000 capper trade-in transaction.  

$60

 

Video Gaming Terminal Tax

Current video gaming terminal taxis 30% of net terminal income (gross revenue minus prizes paid). The structure for this proposal is to be determined,but a portion of the revenues from the current discussion store structure this industry can be allocated to the capital budget,on top of operating budget needs.  

$90

 

The $41.5 billion includes $28.6 billion in transportation projects, $5.9 billion in education projects, $4.4 billion in state buildings, $1 billion in environmental and conservation projects, $420 million in broadband deployment projects, $711 million in Economic and Community Development, and $440 million in Healthcare and Human services.

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BAG TAX

Back in 2011, IRMA and a coalition of business groups reached an agreement with the Environmental Community to implement a plastic film recycling statute in Illinois. The legislation would have helped keep over 400 million pounds of plastic film from the landfills, waterways, and farmland. After the legislation passed both the House and the Senate, Governor Pat Quinn vetoed the legislation. In a reversal, the environment community switched their position to oppose the legislation and as a consequence the legislation failed to reach the required votes to override the veto. Since 2011, only three municipalities in Illinois have addressed plastic bags and no state law or municipal law has addressed plastic film which constitutes 85% of the plastic waste stream. As a result, 400 million pounds of plastic film, a year since 2011 has entered the Illinois waste stream.

Once again Sen. Terry Link crafted a bill to address plastic waste-this time plastic bags. SB 1240 (Sen. Terry Link, D-Gurnee) places a $0.07 tax on paper and plastic bags in Illinois. Three cents would go to the State General Revenue Fund. Two cents goes to the retailer and two cents get sent to the municipality. The wholesaler is responsible for remitting the fee to the State. The two cents that goes to the municipality must be used to fund the collection household hazardous waste products that include but is not limited to mattresses, needles, paint, bags, batteries, bulbs, carpet, etc. Additionally, the legislation would preempt local municipalities from taxing or regulating bags. Oak Park, Evanston and Chicago currently have taxes or bans in place. It would also preempt any local municipality from taxing or regulating “auxiliary containers” in any manner.

A plastic bag tax was included in one of the Governor’s Transition Committee Reports, the Budget Presentation and is currently in the budget discussions. The legislation passed the Senate Revenue Committee after the sponsor agreed to hold it on the floor while the stakeholders continued discussions. The legislation did not meet the deadlines for actions and was re-assigned to the Assignments Committee. This week it was sent straight from Assignments to the Senate floor where discussion continue.

DATA PRIVACY

A proposed Illinois law would allow consumers to see or prohibit the use of their data by “big tech” companies that aggregate and sell consumer information. As drafted, HB 3358 (Rep. Art Turner, D-Chicago/Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park) creates the Data Transparency and Privacy Act and provides that an entity that collects personal information about individual consumers through the Internet 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. The bill passed the House by a 72-37-1 vote and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. The sponsor agreed to bring back an amendment to committee after more discussions with stakeholders took place.

The legislation takes into account that retailers are required by state and federal law to collect, share, or process consumer information in order to complete a consumer transaction at retail, to submit sales taxes to the state, process a consumer transaction using a debit or credit card, provide Medicaid, WIC, or SNAP benefits, protect pharmacy patient information, develop a manifest to transport, ship or deliver goods, etc.  For instance, retailers are governed by no less than 43 different Illinois statutes that either require or specifically regulate the ability of a retailer to collect, process, or disclose a consumer’s personal information.  Please keep in mind this number does not include individual articles within those statutes or federal laws, rules, or regulations.

Due to reasonable questions and concerns from lawmakers, IRMA agreed to narrow the language to encompass ‘transactions’ rather than ‘entities’. An amendment including IRMA’s changes will most likely be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.

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DOOR-TO-DOOR SALES PROTECTION

 

Every year thousands of Illinois residents are victim to home repair schemes. Oftentimes, “home repair contractors” will visit a town recently devastated by violent weather and go door-to-door offering to repair the victims homes. Seniors, especially those who live alone, are prime targets for home repair scams. In some cases, con artists pose as inspectors, city officials or police and use scare tactics to force elders to have unnecessary repairs made to windows, furnaces, chimney, water heater or the electrical wiring, etc.

HB 2643 (Rep. Joyce Mason, D-Gurnee/Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake) gives individuals 65 years or older a 15 day cooling off period with a door-to-door home repair contract.  IRMA worked with lawmakers to provide protection for seniors who enter expensive home repair contracts unwittingly. This would not apply to a contract that was executed proactively by an individual who entered into a contract at the contractor’s physical place of business.

The initiative passed the House with a 96-9 vote and has been sent to the Senate for consideration. The legislation was amended in the Senate to make clear that the bill only applies to those contractors who appear uninvited to a senior’s home to solicit a contract. With the clarification the legislation passed the Senate with a vote of 51-0-2 and now goes back to the House for concurrence.

IRMA would like to thank Rep. Mason and Sen. Bush for working with IRMA on this important issue.

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“SESAME” LABELING PROTECTION

Food allergen labeling is governed by the Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). FALCPA requires the labels of domestically manufactured or imported pre-packaged goods to include the eight major food allergens: milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and crustacean shellfish. Together these foods cause the majority of allergic reactions in the U.S. Due to the rise of sesame seed allergen the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering adding sesame seed to the food allergen labeling requirements. The majority of the largest manufactures already include sesame seed labeling on prepackaged food.

HB 2123 (Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook/Sen. Emil Jones, D-Chicago), as introduced, requires a state specific Illinois label to be placed on packaged food as well as ready to consume food. In the modern restaurant, there is no such thing as ‘standardized’ meal. Every offering can be customized to the customer’s desire and 75% of restaurant customers customize their orders. Using a coffee shop as an example, there are over 80,000 different ways to order a cup of coffee. Due to the movement of the FDA and manufacturers changing their current labeling practices to include sesame seed, Representative Carroll amended his bill to apply to prepackaged foods. As amended, the initiative passed the House with an unanimous 114-0-0. This week HB 2123 passed the Senate Agriculture Committee and the legislation has been sent to the Senate floor for consideration.

IRMA would like to than Rep. Carroll and Sen. Jones for their work on this important issue.

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HUMAN RIGHTS “EXPANSION

Currently, the Illinois Human Rights Act only applies to businesses with 15 or more employees. HB 252 (Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago/Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin) would expand the coverage of the Act to apply to any business with one or more employees. This bill passed both Chambers last year before being vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 74-40. It was amended in the Senate to implement a delayed effective date and subsequently passed the Senate by a vote 36-18. The legislation is now back in the House for a concurrence vote.

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SNAP RESTAURANT MEALS PROGRAM

HB 3343 (Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago/Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago) expands Illinois’ 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.

The legislation passed the House by a 75-18 vote and the Senate by a vote of 48-1 and now heads to the Governor for his consideration.

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REBATE CARD DORMANCY FEES

HB 2146 (Rep. Theresa Mah, D-Chicago/ Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin) passed the House by a vote of 67-47. The bill is intended to prohibit the issuance of product rebate cards that charge dormancy or other post-issuance fees. The legislation only applies to rebate cards that can be used at multiple merchants. It exempts those closed-looped merchant cards that are distributed and used at one retailer-also known as “store cards”. The language only applies to multi-store cards utilized for rebates after the consumer completes the rebate submission process. The legislation was amended in the Senate to address the concerns of the Community Bankers Association. As amended it passed the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee and now is on the Senate floor for consideration. If it passes the Senate, the legislation will be required to head back to the House for concurrence. 

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BULK FOOD CONTAINERS

HB 3440 (Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago/Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago) permits retailers to allow consumers to fill personal containers with dry bulk foods and prohibits counties and municipalities from disallowing the practice. This practice is already allowed in Illinois but is currently prohibited in Chicago. IRMA is neutral on the legislation because it is permissive and maintains the current status quo of allowing retailers either to implement or prohibit the practice on their premises.

Most retailers do not currently allow the practice for many different reasons. Currently, Illinois law does not define what may be used for a personal container or who is liable if the consumer gets sick from an unsanitary personal container brought from home. Additionally most retailers provide a uniform variety of single use containers in the store and the tare weights are pre-programmed into the point of sale and scale system. It would be impracticable to allow a consumer to bring a random personal container for which the retailer does not have the weight pre-programmed into the point of sale. Moreover, if the retailer cannot accurately ascertain the weight of the personal container prior to the consumer adding bulk food, then the retailer cannot accurately charge the correct price or proper tax for the item. This opens retailers up to frivolous lawsuits for imposing an improper tax. Similar to the plethora of the lawsuits filed during the short run of the ill-fated sugar sweetened beverage tax in Cook County. Hence, the importance of allowing retailers to decide whether or not to allow the practice.

HB 3440 passed the House by a 91-6-0 and passed the Senate by a vote of 54-0-0. While in the Senate the Illinois Department of Public Health requested an amendment to clarify the bill in consideration of current regulations. With the adoption of the amendment HB 3440 heads to the House for a concurrence vote.
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BPA

Environmentalist contend that bisphenol-A (BPA) found in receipts cause adverse reactions to those individuals who handle the receipts. HB 2076 (Rep. Karina Villa, D-Batavia/Sen. Ann Gillespie, D-Arlington Heights) prohibits the use of business documents, including receipts that contain BPA. The majority of Illinois retailers stopped using receipts that contained BPA many years ago. This decision was not based on any scientific studies but public opinion and capitalism. Retail sales of “BPA free” products increased so therefore retailers offered and used more “BPA” free products including paper products.

IRMA worked with the Sierra Club to craft language that reflects the current practices while filtering out the usage of BPA in business documents. The legislation prohibits the manufacturing of thermal paper when BPA is added to the coating by January 1, 2020. Because thermal paper with BPA is in current circulation businesses would be allowed to use, sell, or transfer thermal paper that was manufactured prior to January 1, 2020. The legislation previously passed the House with a 76-37-1 vote. With the amended language, the legislation passed the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee and now heads to the Senate floor for consideration.

IRMA would like to thank the Sierra Club, Rep. Villa, and Sen. Gillespie for addressing IRMA’s concerns.

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 RESTAURANT FOOD ALLERGEN NOTICE

IRMA worked with lawmakers to produce legislation that continues to advance Illinois as a leader in addressing food allergies. Researchers estimate that 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under age 18. Eight major food allergens – milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and crustacean shellfish – are responsible for most of the serious food allergy reactions in the United States. Illinois is one of the few states that require a restaurant to have a person who has had additional allergen training to be on duty at all times. Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island and Virginia also require notices to consumers to make sure they notify the restaurant that they may have an allergy to a certain food. HB 3018(Rep. Joyce Mason, D-Gurnee/Sen. David Koehler, D-Peoria) provides the same notice to consumers.

The legislation allows those restaurants that already have a notice as required by another state, internal policy, or national standard to continue to use that notice. Additionally, the legislation requires the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to create a sign for those restaurants that do not currently use a notice. The notice will be provided as a downloadable document and free of charge to restaurants. Finally, the legislation creates a flexible notice while requiring the employee who receives an allergen warning from a consumer to communicate that warning to the person in charge or the certified food protection manager on duty. This legislation provides flexibility for the retailer without creating regulatory hurdles while also providing an extra layer of protection for the consumer who suffers from food allergies.

The legislation passed the House by a vote of 110-0-1 and passed the Senate Public Health Committee this week. The legislation now moves to the Senate floor for further consideration.

IRMA would like to thank Rep. Kifowit, Rep. Mason, and Sen. Koehler for working with IRMA on this important issue.

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BABY CHANGING STATIONS

Representative Delia Ramirez/Sen. Rahm Villavalam, D-Chicago 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 consisted with other states’ requirements and current Illinois law, conform with the American with Disabilities Act, and the current building codes of each jurisdiction. In the House, the sponsor adopted 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 that includes a bathroom open and accessible to the public;
  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.

The new language only applies to renovations of 50% or more of a building or new construction that is completed AFTER the passage of the legislation and meet the aforementioned requirements. HB 3877 passed the House by a vote of 110-0-0 and is in the Senate Public Health Committee by a 11-0-1 vote. The legislation is now on the Senate floor for further consideration.

IRMA would like to thank Rep. Ramirez and Sen. Villavalam for addressing IRMA’s concerns.