IMA Education Bills Advance
A four-bill package authored by the IMA Education Foundation designed to expand apprenticeship opportunities for Illinois manufacturers advanced in Springfield this week, led by the unanimous passage of HB 5247 (Pritchard, R-Sycamore). The package is being greeted by bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate.
HB 5247, which passed on a vote of 111-0, requires the State Board of Education to initiate rulemaking to waive non-academic mandates that will allow those aged 16 or older to be hired by employers as apprentices. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. In addition, two other bills, SB 3047, legislation creating a “Grow Your Own STEM/Vocational Education Teacher Act” and HB 4858/SB 3033, which allow high schools and community colleges to obtain grants from the state to purchase updated manufacturing equipment, are at passage stage. Two final bills, SB 2501/HB 5133 which provide sizable tax credits for employers paying college tuition for their Registered Apprentices remain in committee for the time being.
House Passes Bill to Restrict Drug Pricing
This week, the House advanced HB 4900 (Guzzardi, D-Chicago) that creates the Generic Drug Pricing Fairness Act. Under the contents of the bill, companies that increase drug prices by certain amounts would be subject to invasive new reporting requirements and potential civil penalties. The bill passed the House by a vote of 65-38-01 with the support coming almost entirely from Democrats. During the bill’s debate, the House Republican Floor Leader, Representative Breen (R-Lombard), stated that the bill was an attempt at “price fixing the free market”, and warned that such a measure could be carried to other industries and products. The bill moves over to the Senate for consideration. The IMA will be opposing the bill in the Senate as it did in the House.
House Advances Bill to Give Communities Support for Water Infrastructure
Republican Representative Sauer (R-Libertyville) passed HB 4508 out of the House to extend the sunset on the System Viability Act. The extension of this Act would allow municipalities to receive fair market value if they choose to sell water or wastewater assets in order to maintain and upgrade their systems. This measure is important to manufacturers who rely on a strong infrastructure from the communities where they reside and who depend on a community’s ability to maintain their water systems. After a vote of 69-37-02, the bill moves over to the Senate.
Penalties for Moving Call Centers Out of State
Democrat Representative Mike Halpin’s (D-Rock Island) call center legislation, HB 4081, was passed in the House on a partisan vote of 61-49-0. This union-backed bill would penalize any employer that moves all or a portion of its call center out of Illinois. The employer would lose tax incentives and be subject to 120 day notification requirements and fines of up to $10,000. The bill sparked much debate on the House Floor and has set up what will be lively discussion in the Senate. The IMA opposes this legislation.
Senator Castro Makes Attempt at Mandated Scheduling
With a lack of support to move Representative Chris Welch’s (D-Westchester) HB 5046 out of the House Labor and Commerce Committee, Senator Castro (D-Elgin) has taken the language of the bill and added it as an amendment to SB 202. With the amended language, the bill requires all employers to provide at least 72 hours of notice to employees. If a schedule is cancelled or reduced, the employer will still be liable for paying one-half of the employee’s pay on their next check. Schedules must be posted and provided to all employees electronically. The IMA played an important role as part of a coalition to stop Representative Welch’s bill from making it out of the House and is continuing to play that same role in stopping Senator Castro’s SB 202.
House Republicans Introduce Blue Collar Jobs Act
Representative Keith Wheeler (R-North Aurora) filed a new bill to create the Blue Collar Jobs Act. HB 5864 looks to incentivize new construction in the state. The bill applies a tax credit to incremental income tax attributable to laborers/workers employed at: (1) construction sites located in enterprise zones, (2) construction sites associated with EDGE projects, and (3) construction sites in a River Edge Redevelopment Zone. While these areas already apply incentives, this bill would provide additional benefits to labor costs.