Public Policy Newsletter
|Wednesday, March 29, 2017
State of Illinois
While the State budget impasse continues, the legislature has acted on hundreds of bills that concern our members, and the Chamber has been advocating for you.
On April 5, the Chicagoland Chamber will host our annual Springfield legislative reception, which is open to members at the Premier level and higher. Chamber President and CEO Theresa E. Mintle will attend the reception and meetings with key legislative leaders and elected officials. For more information and to RSVP, please contact Michael Reever, the Chamber’s Vice President of Government Relations.
Our work in Springfield over the past month includes:
- On March 9, the Chamber’s Michael Reever testified in support of a bill that would allow AT&T to modernize its telecommunications infrastructure, creating new jobs and investing money in Illinois. The bill is Senate Bill 1381.
- On March 15, Reever, testified in opposition to increasing the statewide minimum wage to $15 per hour during a House Labor and Commerce subject matter hearing. His testimony can be read here.
- The Chamber met with relevant stakeholders to express concerns about House Bill 2603, which would make negative changes to Illinois’ Unclaimed Property Act, including changes to gift cards and merchandise credits that would negatively impact many of our retail, restaurant, and hospitality members. We continue to monitor the bill and express the concerns of our members.
City of Chicago
Commercial Loading Zones
As of March 15, the City of Chicago has started the pilot program conversion of loading zones to user-paid commercial loading zones in an area bounded by the Chicago River on the North, Lake Michigan on the East, Randolph Street on the South, and Michigan Avenue on the West. Tickets will start being issued on Wednesday, March 22. You can view documents with more information here and here.
Judy Frydland, Commissioner of Buildings for the City of Chicago, met with Chamber members in the development and real estate industry on the morning of March 28 to discuss potential changes to the building code. Members were able to share their thoughts with the Commissioner in this invite-only member setting. We thank Commissioner Frydland for all of her efforts and taking the time to talk with Chamber members.
March 28, 2017: Chicago Building Commissioner Judy Frydland speaks with Chamber members about her work to update the city’s Building Code.
Sweetened Beverage Tax
Cook County has updated its website with additional Sweetened Beverage Tax information, which can be read here. The tax goes into effect July 1. All distributors subject to the Sweetened Beverage Tax must register with the Department. We are continuing our conversations with the County as we know not all questions have been resolved. If you still have high priority concerns, please contact the Chamber government relations team so we can work with you to address these concerns.
County Commissioner Morrison has introduced an amendment that would allow distributors or retailers to identify the tax imposed by the ordinance as a separate line item charge on any invoice pertaining to sales of sweetened beverages in Cook County. This amendment is now in the Finance Committee. The ordinance as passed can be found here.
Rules and Regulations: Minimum Wage and Paid Sick leave
The Cook County Commission on Human Rights is drafting regulations for the enforcement of the recently enacted Minimum Wage Ordinance and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance. Both laws take effect July 1. The Chamber is working with the Commissioner to ensure implementation of the laws place the lowest level of burden possible on employers while protecting jobs and economic activity in Cook County. The Chamber is addressing issues such as clarity around rates of accrual and carryover from one year to the next, benefit start date, and on the clarification of definitions. The Chamber is pleased that the County is pursuing a formal rulemaking process, and that it is seeking input from those who will be affected by the law. The Chamber has continually expressed concern about localized labor mandates. We will work with the County to see that the laws are implemented in the most efficient, least burdensome manner possible.