NFIB to 'Key Vote' Attempts to Override Vetoes of Minimum Wage, Workers' Comp

Date: October 18, 2017

The General Assembly will return to Springfield this week for veto session.

The veto session is highly important to the small business community as there are several bills that Governor Rauner vetoed that are detrimental to business and Illinois’ economic climate. NFIB is committed to working with lawmakers to ensure they understand the importance of sustaining these vetoes.

Complicating the matter is considerable tension between the governor and the Republican caucus, due partly to votes from a group of House Republicans overriding his veto of the income tax increase and budget bill. Seeing that vote as disloyal, the governor had fewer qualms about signing into law a measure that authorizes taxpayer funding of abortions. That decision was a full reversal of an earlier pledge he made to the caucus.

However, Governor Rauner must rely on House Republicans to sustain his vetoes. To override any of his vetoes requires 71 votes in the House and 36 votes in the Senate. The makeup of the House is 67 Democrats and 51 Republicans. The Senate has 37 Democrats to 22 Republicans.

The measures listed below are extremely important to the small business community. NFIB will inform lawmakers that these are “key votes” which can be used in our end-of-session voting record:

SB81 (minimum wage), sponsored by Sen. Kimberly Lightford (Chicago) and Rep. Will Guzzardi (Chicago), would phase in increases to the minimum wage over 5 years to $15 per hour on Jan. 1, 2022. The legislation also creates a convoluted credit against the withholding tax liability of employers with 50 or fewer employees, calculated based on the increase in the minimum wage.

HB 2462 (equal pay), sponsored by Rep. Anna Moeller (Elgin) and Sen. Daniel Biss (Skokie), would prohibit an employer from screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history; prohibit requiring an applicant’s prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria; and prohibit requesting an applicant disclose prior wages and benefits. It also prohibits an employer from seeking the salary and benefit history of a job applicant from any current or former employer. In addition and most troubling, the bill would undermine employer defenses and expand civil penalties and litigation.

HB 2525 (workers’ compensation), sponsored by Rep. Jay Hoffman (Swansea) and Sen. Kwame Raoul (Chicago), is a bill promoted by the sponsors as real workers’ compensation reform. It really isn’t but instead, it’s a red herring. It would codify current case law for “causation” and “traveling employee” that goes against employers. It also prevents employers from achieving changes in case law from future courts. What little benefit relief included in the bill is negated by increased regulation and litigation costs contained in the measure.

HB2622 (State Mutual Insurance Co.), sponsored by Rep. Laura Fine (Glenview) and Sen. Daniel Biss (Skokie), would use employer and insurer tax dollars to capitalize the creation of a state government-based mutual insurance company to compete with 330 insurers that already provide workers’ compensation coverage. The $10 million in startup costs would come from tax dollars that currently go running the operations of the Workers’ Compensation Commission. The legislation provides that the funds are a “loan” to be paid back with interest. Given the track record regarding finances of Illinois state government, it is difficult to believe the loan would be paid in a timely fashion if at all. Furthermore, removing resources meant to support the operations of the Commission jeopardizes the entire adjudication of workers’ compensation for injured workers as well as employers.

SB1720 (Wage Payment & Collection Act), sponsored by Sen. Biss and Rep. Lisa Hernandez (Chicago), would increase criminal penalties for violations of the existing WPC Act. It also bars contractors for 5 years from bidding on state procurement opportunities if they violate Illinois employment laws, any comparable laws in other states or the federal FLSA.

SB1905 (local restrictions on collective bargaining), sponsored by Sen. Ira Silverstein (Chicago) & Rep. Marty Moylan (Des Plaines), would restrict local governments from installing ways to regulate collective bargaining agreements. Apparently, it is okay for local governments to mandate minimum wage hikes and paid leave benefits on private sector employers but it’s not okay to adopt ordinances to manage collective bargaining agreements to keep property taxes in check.

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