October 31, 2011
Public Policy Advocacy Report
Smart Grid Approved: Legislature Overturns Governor's Veto
The Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday October 26, voted to overturn Governor Pat Quinn's veto of the Senate Bill 1652, legislation to modernize the state's electricity grid utilizing new smart grid technology.
Prior to voting on the Governor's veto, both chambers of the legislature approved a separate bill, Senate Amendment 1 of HB 3036, to add additional consumer protections to SB 1652. The additional consumer protections will be sent to the Governor for approval.
With the veto overridden, the legislation allows ComEd to begin plans to modernize the Chicagoland region's electricity grid.
The Chicagoland Chamber fully supported SB 1652 as a means for creating jobs and moving the region's infrastructure into the 21st century to foster the development of technology industries.
City and County Budget Hearings Scheduled This Week
Both the City of Chicago and Cook County have scheduled public hearings on their proposed fiscal year 2012 budgets.
The City of Chicago's public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, November 2nd at 11:00 am in the City Council Chambers. The Chicagoland Chamber will testify at the hearing in support of the budget's inclusion a phase out of the city's head tax.
For more information on Chicago's 2012 Budget click here.
Cook County's public hearings also begin this week starting Tuesday, November 1st in Skokie. The Chicagoland Chamber will testify on the county's budget at the downtown hearing scheduled for Thursday, November 3rd at 1:00 pm in the Board of Commissioners' Chambers.
For more information and to register to testify for a Cook County hearing click here.
Springfield Veto Session Update
Chamber in Springfield for Legislative Veto Session
The Illinois General Assembly's wrapped up the first week of veto session on Friday taking action on important legislation followed by the Chamber, but leaving several other important bills for the second week of veto session scheduled to begin November 8th.
Below is a list of the top issues the Chamber is pursuing during the veto session:
Taylorville Energy Center Fails to Garner Enough Support
Proponents of Tenaska's Taylorville Energy Center, seeking legislative authorization to build a "clean coal" electricity generating plant using unproven science and technology, failed to receive enough votes to clear the Senate. This is the third time supporters of the project have failed to receive legislative support. The Chamber opposes the project and is a member of the Stop Tenaska coalition on the grounds the project will shift burdensome costs onto consumers with no protections. The bill was placed on reconsideration in the Senate after it failed to receive enough votes.
Legislation Expected to be Addressed in Second Week of Veto Session
Casino Gaming Expansion (Senate Bill 744)
The Chamber continues to work with legislators and the Governor's office to advocate economic development benefits for approving a land-based casino in Chicago. To date, Senate President John Cullerton has not released Senate Bill 744 to Governor Quinn for his action. The Governor has made it clear that he will veto the bill as it was passed by the legislature in the spring. There are some indications that the legislature will run a bill that includes some of the Governor's proposals during the veto session. Details will follow as they become available.
Health Care Cooperatives (House Bill 3236)
The health care cooperatives bill sponsored by Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg remains in the Senate's Rules Committee. The Chamber will push for a vote on the bill in the Senate. The bill passed out of the House of Representatives led by Representative Karen May in the spring.
The legislation will provide authorization for health benefit purchasing cooperatives to be organized by one or more persons in geographic areas.
Click here for details on HB 3236.
Pension Reform (Senate Bill 512)
The call for pension reform of existing government employees has gained some traction in the media. House Republican Leader Tom Cross has indicated a willingness to introduce legislation that will address pension programs for current state government employees.
Legislation introduced in the spring session to address pension reform, SB 512, remains on hold in the House. The Chamber is working with business industry partners in support of legislation that will improve the state's pension system.
The Chamber has participated in negotiations with other business industry partners and representatives of the state's labor unions to address the state's unemployment insurance system funding shortfall. The state's system is no longer solvent and is expected to be fined nearly $1 billion by the federal government if no changes are made to improve the system. The Chamber supports working within the agreed bill process to find a long-term solution to ensure the sustainability of the unemployment insurance system in Illinois.
We will share details as they emerge.
CME/CBOE Tax Credit
Legislation is expected to be introduced to address the tax concerns of the CME Group and CBOE to ensure their continued presence in Illinois. The legislation could include an extension of the state's research and development tax credit as well as other business tax fixes. Details on the final bill are still being negotiated. The Chamber supports the effort of the state to reduce the tax burden on business, but a comprehensive approach to providing business incentives is needed to help Illinois remain competitive and attract jobs.
If you have any questions, please contact the Government Relations Department.
Government Relations Staff
John Carpenter, Senior VP Public Policy
Michael Mini, Director
Christopher Johnson, Manager
Last Updated on 2011-10-31 15:34:52.206