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IML Statehouse Briefing - March 6, 2017

The Illinois Senate convened in Springfield last week from Tuesday, February 28 through Thursday, March 2. The House did not meet.
 
The most significant storyline to emerge last week was the failure of the Senate “grand bargain” package of revenue and reform legislation to gain enough political traction to pass. The Senate managed to pass component bills concerning local government consolidation (SB 3), Chicago teacher pension funding (SB 5), appropriations (SB 6), gaming (SB 7) and procurement (SB 8). As previously reported, each of the bills included within the “grand bargain” are bound together with a clause that would negate the entire package should even one bill fail to be enacted into law.
 
Passage of the entire package of bills was always going to be a heavy lift, and the withdrawal of Senate Republican votes prompted Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) to refrain from holding additional votes on the package. Senate Democrats leveled blame at Governor Bruce Rauner for pulling votes off the package, while Senate Republicans indicated the votes were absent because the revenue and reform package requires further modifications to garner their support. 
 
A compromise bipartisan state budget remains elusive as the spring session marches onward. The failure of the current “grand bargain” legislative package to advance does not, however, preclude further efforts to reach a bipartisan budget and reform agreement in the coming weeks.
 
Other legislative activity that occurred last week centered on Senate committee hearings. The Senate has established 28 substantive committees and 25 subcommittees. Each bill that advances through the Senate is first approved by the Assignments Committee and then considered by one of the 28 substantive committees.
 
Both chambers will resume legislative activity on Tuesday, March 7 and work through Thursday, March 9. A total of 72 committee hearings have been scheduled between the House and Senate for the week.
 
Small Cell Wireless Facility Legislation Update
On Thursday, March 1, the Illinois Municipal League (IML) General Counsel and Assistant Counsel attended a meeting about SB 1451 with the sponsor, Senator Terry Link (D-Gurnee) and telecommunications industry representatives. The industry continues to promote a permit review process that will address a greater volume of requests over a shorter period of time and low cost access to local government rights-of way. IML staff continues to advocate for a permit system that is practical from an operational perspective and is promoting changes to the bill that would preserve municipal authority and provide for full cost recovery. The bill is not likely to be called this week and additional meetings are being arranged. IML contacts for this legislation are: Patrick Hayes, phayes@iml.org and Jessica DeWalt jdewalt@iml.org .  
 
Senate Committee Action
Several IML-tracked bills were approved by substantive committees in the Senate last week. These bills are included below:
 
SB 51 (Sen. Bivins, R-Dixon) would provide that the maximum length of a truck tractor in combination with a semitrailer may not exceed 65 feet (rather than the current 55 feet) overall dimension on all non-state highways. The requirement that truck tractor-semitrailer combinations must have no more than a maximum 55 feet overall wheel base on Class III roadways and other non-designated state highways is removed. This legislation limits the distance between the kingpin and the axle of a semitrailer longer than 48 feet, in combination with a truck tractor to 42 feet 6 inches; however, this limitation does not apply to any trailer or semitrailer that is used for the transport of livestock.  This legislation also provides that the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) or unit of local government may seek recovery for the cost of the repair of damaged or destroyed highways, highway structures or traffic-control devices that result from operating, driving or moving a truck tractor-semitrailer combination exceeding 55 feet in overall dimension. There is no requirement to widen or otherwise alter a non-state highway, Class III highway or other non-designated state highway constructed before the effective date of the bill to accommodate the increase in dimension of a truck tractor-semitrailer combination. The bill was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee. IML opposes the bill.
 
SB 611 (Sen. Bennett, D-Champaign) would create the Mahomet Aquifer Protection Task Force to address the issue of maintaining the clean drinking water of the Mahomet Aquifer. The bill contains provisions concerning the appointment of members, compensation and the duties of the Task Force. It provides that on or before July 1, 2018, the Mahomet Aquifer Protection Task Force shall report findings and recommendations to the General Assembly and Governor and also provides for the Act's repeal on July 1, 2019.  The bill was approved by the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee. IML supports the bill. 
 
SB 680 (Sen. Althoff, R-Crystal Lake) would provide that used, expired or unwanted pharmaceuticals collected by a city, village or municipality under the Act may be destroyed in a drug destruction device by a law enforcement agency. Any county may authorize the use of a county facility as a location for a container suitable as a receptacle for disposal of used, expired or unwanted pharmaceuticals.  This legislation provides that any facility of a county, city, village or municipality may provide for the disposal of unwanted or expired pharmaceuticals. Regular notice to the public shall be provided regarding the availability of the city, village or municipality's receptacle for used, expired or unwanted pharmaceuticals. The bill expands the definition of "drug evidence" in the provision for drug destruction by a law enforcement agency to include any used, expired or unwanted pharmaceuticals collected under the Safe Pharmaceutical Disposal Act.  The bill was approved by the Senate Criminal Law Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
SB 701 (Sen. Morrison, D-Deerfield) would amend the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) Article. For a person who first becomes a participating employee on or after the effective date of the amendatory Act, vehicle allowances are excluded from the definition of "earnings".  The bill was approved by the Senate Government Reform Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
SB 789 (Sen. Sandoval, D-Chicago) would expand the use of local motor fuel tax funds to include the operation costs of any public transportation service or capital improvements designed to improve or enhance pedestrian, bicycle or transit mobility, or for infrastructure used to support publicly or privately owned electric vehicles. The bill was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee. IML has the bill under review.
 
SB 896 (Sen. Althoff, R-Crystal Lake) would amend the Illinois Pension Code to provide for the forfeiture of benefits for any person who otherwise would receive a survivor benefit who is convicted of any felony relating to or arising out of or in connection with the service of the member from whom the benefit results. It also provides that all participants entering service after the effective date of the amendatory Act shall be deemed to have consented to that provision and that the changes under the amendatory Act shall not impair any contract or vested right acquired by a survivor before the effective date of the amendatory Act. The bill was approved by the Senate Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee. IML supports the bill. 
 
SB 1289 (Sen. McConchie, R-Hawthorne Woods) would create a uniform statement of economic interest form that must be completed by all persons required to file that form under the Act. The bill changes the nature of the required disclosures that must be made. The bill was approved by the Senate Government Reform Committee. IML has no position on the bill.
 
SB 1345 (Sen. Mulroe, D-Chicago) would amend the Chicago Firefighter Article of the Illinois Pension Code to specify that certain excess municipal contributions may be used only for reducing the amount that the city would otherwise be required to contribute for duty disability, occupational disease or the administrative costs of the fund. The bill was approved by the Senate Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee. IML opposes the bill.
 
SB 1417 (Sen. Althoff, R-Crystal Lake) would amend the Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act to provide that a retailer may collect a fee for each covered electronic device or eligible electronic device collected. It also provides that municipalities, townships and other units of local government acting as collectors can collect a fee for each covered electronic device or eligible electronic device collected and removes provisions providing that individual consumers shall not be charged a fee for bringing covered electronic devices or eligible electronic devices to collection sites. The bill provides that a retailer shall be considered to have complied with specified provisions prohibiting the sale of computers, computer monitors, printers or televisions if certain conditions are met. The bill was approved by the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee. IML supports the bill. 
 
SB 1489 (Sen. Rezin, R-Morris) would provide that the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) may charge reasonable fees for attendance at IEMA-sponsored conferences and training events to enable IEMA to carry out required duties. The fees shall be deposited in the Emergency Planning and Training Fund and used by IEMA, subject to appropriation, for planning and training activities. The bill was approved by the Senate State Government Committee. IML has no position on the bill.
 
SB 1546 (Sen. Mulroe, D-Chicago) would amend the Illinois Insurance Code to provide that every policy of accident and health insurance amended, delivered, issued or renewed after the effective date of the amendatory Act that provides coverage for prescription drugs shall provide for synchronization of prescription drug refills on at least one occasion per insured per year provided that certain conditions are met. It requires insurers to provide prorated daily cost-sharing rates when necessary. The bill was approved by the Senate Insurance Committee. IML has no position on the bill.
 
IML Tracked Legislation
Digital access to a list of introduced bills that affect or are of interest to municipalities is available on our legislative webpage. IML is presently tracking almost 700 bills out of the more than 6,500 bills, resolutions and constitutional amendments that have been introduced to date.
 
IML tracked legislation is searchable by number or by issue category. Another great way to track bills of interest is by downloading our legislative app. If you do not yet have the app, it is available for iTunes and Android users. If you have questions or information about any of our tracked bills, please contact the IML staff member through the e-mail link available within the digital bill page and app, or e-mail us at IMLLegislation@iml.org.
 
Join Us at the Municipal Attorney Seminar
Register today for the IML’s 2017 Municipal Attorneys Seminar. The event will be held Friday, March 31 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington. A $175 registration fee includes breakfast, lunch and a copy of IML’s Sunshine Laws manual, as well as 6.25 hours of MCLE. Topics covered include Land Use Exactions & Takings; Mandatory Topics of Bargaining; Appellate Practice; Professional Responsibility/Ethics; Sunshine Laws; Employment Law; and Section 1983 and Municipal Liability. Register online at iml.org/seminar.
 
RSVP for Lobby Day April 26, 2017
You are invited to attend IML’s Lobby Day on Wednesday, April 26 in Springfield. The Lobby Day briefing will begin at 9 a.m. at the IML office, followed by an opportunity to visit legislators at the Capitol (be sure to make your appointments in advance). A reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. Additional information, including online registration for both events, is available online at iml.org/lobbyday.