After not meeting since leaving the Capitol last May, the 101st General Assembly finally came together officially on Friday, Jan. 8, to handle a little unfinished business. Due to pandemic guidelines, the House met on the floor of the convention center while the Senate met in the capitol.
The 101st General Assembly engaged in a raucous five and a half days of the lame-duck session before adjourning sine die just before noon on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Immediately after, the members of 102nd assembly were sworn in.
Victory! Tax Hike Averted
An effort by Governor Pritzker to decouple from federal loss carry forward tax provisions (SB 1199), failed as House members were under pressure from NFIB other business organizations on passing a half to one billion dollar tax on small business. NFIB issued a Take Action Alert and hundreds of members contacted lawmakers.
That said, we expect to see this resurface in the coming 102nd GA.
Trial Lawyer Payday
Trial lawyer friendly legislators rammed through an egregious bill (HB 3360) which turns Illinois liability law on its head. Several provisions in this trail lawyer “payday” bill will increase litigation costs on the business community if the Governor signs it. NFIB sent a letter to Governor Pritzker outlining our many concerns and requesting a veto. We will willingly sit at the table to negotiate any such measures.
Employment Discrimination Law Regulations
SB 1480 amends the Illinois Human Rights Act and the Equal Pay Act. These proposed changes will impact employer hiring practices and policies regarding the hiring of individuals with criminal backgrounds.
Concerns About Changes to the Equal Pay Act:
Any business of 100 or more full-time employees must obtain an “equal pay certificate”. Prohibits the State of Illinois from contracting with any business of 40 or more full-time employees unless such business has an “equal pay certificate” issued by the Illinois Department of Labor.
Workers’ Compensation COVID Rebuttable Presumption: Also, the General Assembly approved HB 4276, an extension of the COVID rebuttable presumption provision under the Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act has been extended to June 30, 2021. This gives employers grounds to challenge work comps claims regarding Covid-19.
Madigan’s Reign as House Speaker Ends
State Rep. Chris Welch (Hillside) was elected speaker. His election quickly came together as the Democrat caucus rallied around him after former Speaker Michael J. Madigan suspended his run for reelection as speaker. Madigan had been the longest-serving House speaker not only in Illinois but the nation. He served as speaker from 1983 to 2020, other than 2 years (1995-1996). Welch was first elected to the Illinois House in 2012.
Speaker Welch spoke of unity and bipartisan cooperation in his acceptance speech.
Rep. Jim Durkin (Western Springs) was re-elected as Republican Leader. He has served in that role since 2013. Durkin was first elected to the Illinois House in 1994 and has served a total of 11 terms.
Sen. Don Harmon (Oak Park) was reelected as Senate President after leading the Senate since January of 2020. He was first elected as Senate President after the resignation of John Cullerton. Harmon has served in the Senate since 2003.
Dan McConchie (Hawthorne Woods) has been elected as Senate Republican Leader. He takes over after Senator Bill Brady stepped down and retired from his Senate seat. McConchie was elected to the Senate in 2016.