This Week in the General Assembly

The Illinois legislature was in session this week for week one of the two-week fall veto session. Traditionally, veto session is a time for the legislature to take up action on vetoes by the Governor. The legislature can either override a governor’s veto or concur with a governor’s recommendations to amendatory vetoes. However, the fall veto session can also be used to take up non-veto legislative matters. Historically speaking, the legislature does take advantage of this session to pass legislation before the new General Assembly is sworn in on January. For a bill to pass during veto session, it must receive a three-fifths majority in each chamber. See below for a recap of the legislative week.

WEEK 1: FALL VETO SESSION RECAP

Employment Law

The Illinois Senate overrode the amendatory veto for SB 904 (Hastings/Hoffman) on a 55-1-1 vote. Prior to the override vote, the Senate also passed modifications to SB 904, HB 3452 (Soto/Hastings), and HB 200 (Hoffman/Hastings) by unanimous roll calls. The measures now move to the Illinois House to be considered when they return after Thanksgiving. SB 904 makes significant changes to the medical billing process.

Also pending further action by the House is SB 1737 (Munoz/Hoffman). The Governor’s total veto also was overridden by the Senate 52-0. SB 1737 made changes to the workers’ compensation insurance rates overseen by the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI).

The Governor’s amendatory veto of HB 4743, (Ford/Lightford) was overridden on a 75-17 vote. Twelve House Republicans joined 63 Democrats to provide the minimum 71 votes to override. The legislation amends the Equal Pay Act providing that no employer may discriminate between employees by paying wages to an African-American employee at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays wages to another employee who is not African-American for the same or substantially similar work on a job that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility and is performed under similar working conditions. Unjustified pay differential based on race exists as a form of discrimination under the Illinois Human Rights Act.

No action was taken on the Governor’s amendatory veto of HB 4163, (Moeller/Castro) this week. It is our understanding that Governor-elect Pritzker requested it be held until 2019. Similar to legislation passed in 2017 and vetoed by Gov. Rauner, the legislation amends the Equal Pay Act to prohibit an employer from inquiring about salary and wage history. The greatest concern about the legislation was the diminishing of employer defenses and adding new compensatory and punitive damage remedies on businesses who violate the Act.

Another issue being held over for 2019 is HB 4572, (Guzzardi/Castro), which redefines “employer” under the Illinois Human Rights Act to include any person employing one (currently 15) or more employees within Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks within the calendar year of or preceding the alleged violation.

Environment

There were two hearings this week that dealt with proposals to regulate ethylene oxide (EtO). The chemical used in a variety of uses has come under pressure from lawmakers due to the potential risk of cancer if exposed.

The House Environment Committee advanced both HB 5983 (Durkin) and HB 5985 (Yingling). The bills seek to limit the use of EtO to medical sterilization and look to prohibit its use altogether in the coming years. Both bills advanced out of committee with the understanding both would be held on 2nd reading and will receive an amendment. The committee chair indicated that she wants to pass legislation on EtO before the new General Assembly is sworn in. This issue remains fluid.

he Senate Environment and Conservation Committee also held a hearing on EtO. However, the Senate hearing did not advance any legislation. Instead, the hearing held subject matter hearing from stakeholders.

Business Regulation

SB 2332 (Morrison/Lilly) was overridden by the Senate 36-19. This bill would raise the age to purchase tobacco products to 21. The bill also eliminates the penalties for underage possession of tobacco products. Tthis legislation punishes businesses for the decisions of individuals.

New Amendments/Bills Filed

There are a handful of bills and amendments that were filed this week:

  • SB 3646 (Bertino-Tarrant) creates the Occupational Board Reform Act.
  • HFA 1 to SB 203 (Lightford/Davis) amends the Prevailing Wage Act.
  • SB 3643 (Barickman) amends the Civil Practice Law of the Code of Civil Procedure to add a Part concerning asbestos trust claims.
  • HFA 2 to SB 1226 (Bennett/Slaughter) amends the Energy Efficient Building Act and renames it “Energy Efficient Building and Green Construction Act”.
  • SFA 2 to SB 515 (Haine/D’Amico) creates the Statewide Relocation Towing Licensure Commission Act of 2018.

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