Public Policy Advocacy Report
May 24, 2012
Chamber-Backed Healthcare Cooperatives Bill Passes; Goes to Governor
This week the Illinois House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 2885 (May/Raoul) on a 118 - 0 vote. This legislation embodies a long-time initiative of the Chicagoland Chamber to provide the access to health insurance and health care services for small business employees that they otherwise do not have today.
The Chamber applauds Representative Karen May and Senator Kwame Raoul for their efforts and continued support of this Chamber-lead initiative. Representative May worked very closely with the Chamber during the past two years on the legislation.
SB 2885 clarifies the definition of employer under the Health Care Purchasing Group Act to include sole proprietors and to raise the limit on covered employees from 500 to 2500. SB 2885 also provides that if an HPG is formed by any two or more employers with no more than 2,500 covered employees each, it shall utilize a licensed insurance producer to negotiate, solicit, market, obtain proposals for, and enter into group or master health insurance contracts on behalf of its members and their employees and employee dependents.
The bill now goes to the Governor. The Chamber anticipates Governor Quinn will sign the legislation into law.
Pension and Medicaid Reform Discussion Continue
Efforts continue in the General Assembly to craft legislation to address the state's pension and Medicaid systems to ensure their future sustainability and stabilize the state's budget without negatively impacting the business community and service providers.
The Chamber supports the efforts to pass pension and Medicaid reform prior to the end of the legislative session on May 31st and our support was noted by Governor Quinn in a press release calling for action on the reforms.
Both the House and Senate are expected to work through the Memorial Day weekend to address these critical issues.
The business community needs to include its voice in support of action on reform. Click here to send an email to your elected officials demanding action.
Chamber Supported Gaming Expansion Bill Passes House; Chances of Success High in Senate
This week the Illinois House of Representatives passed a gaming expansion bill, House Amendment 2 & 3 to SB 1849, on a 69-47-2 vote, two votes short of a veto proof majority. SB 1849 includes a provision for a Chicago land-based casino. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Based on comments made by Governor Quinn this week to the media, he remains concerned with some provisions of the bill. The Chamber will communicate with the Governor and his staff to highlight the economic benefits of gaming expansion.
The Chicagoland Chamber supports the authorization for land-based casino in Chicago as a way to spur economic development and job creation.
Tax Tribunal Bill Advances Out of Committee
The Illinois Independent Tax Tribunal bill, HB 5192, advanced out of the House Revenue and Finance Committee on a unanimous vote.
The bill will create the Illinois Independent Tax Tribunal, which was a key component of the Chamber-backed business tax reform legislation passed in the fall. The law is intended to give the Tribunal jurisdiction over determination of questions of law and fact arising from certain decisions of the Department of Revenue.
The Chamber supports the creation of the Independent Tax Tribunal.
Tenaska's Revised Plan Scheduled for Hearing
The House Public Utilities Committee is scheduled to hear the revised Tenaska plan on Monday, May 28. Supporters of Tenaska's "clean coal" technology project in downstate Taylorville are now trying to advance a bill to build an ordinary natural gas plant instead.
Tenaska's new plan would cost $1.2 billion but still require a state subsidy, long-term guaranteed power contracts, and electric rate increases for residents and businesses. It would create far fewer jobs than the original proposal and do nothing to help the Illinois coal industry.
As part of the STOP (Stop Tenaska Overpriced Power) Coalition, the Chicagoland Chamber remains opposed to the Tenaska project.
Click here for a STOP Coalition fact sheet on the revised Tenaska project.
Chamber Member Confirmed by Senate for Illinois Commerce Commission Seat
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce congratulates long-time member and colleague Anne McCabe on her confirmation as a Commissioner of the Illinois Commerce Commission.
Anne has been a leader in the environmental and energy regulatory industry in Illinois. The State of Illinois and the Illinois Commerce Commission will be well served with Commissioner McCabe.
Special Public Policy Event
The Public Employee Pension Crisis in Illinois: A Discussion About Reforms, Impact on the Economy, and Why Businesses Should Care
Join the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce for a discussion on the future of public employee pensions in Illinois. The guest panel of pension and budget experts will talk about the challenges facing not only the State of Illinois, but also Cook County and the City of Chicago to address the pension funding short falls and the impact they have on current and future budgets and the need to take correct action now to avoid raising taxes.
Panel Discussion with:
- Laurence Msall, President, The Civic Federation
- Bridget Gainer, Cook County Commissioner
- Lois Scott, Chief Financial Officer, City of Chicago
- James Kane, True Partners Consulting (Moderator)
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
11:30 am - 1:30 pm
True Partners Consulting
225 West Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
The Chamber encourages the business community to participate to learn more about the impact the public pension issue has on the state and regional economy's environment and how the business community can engage in the process for change.
Click here to register for the event
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce has been the leading voice of business since 1904 and is a strident advocate for sensible government policies and services to ensure that Chicago is the most business friendly region in the nation.
Last Updated on 2012-05-25 12:01:01.538