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IML Statehouse Briefing - March 20, 2017

Both the House and Senate were in session last week to move bills through the committee process. This Statehouse Briefing includes an update on bills tracked by the Illinois Municipal League (IML) that were approved by substantive committees in both chambers, as well as a handful of IML-tracked bills approved by the full House. Additionally, the Briefing highlights an IML-opposed bill concerning Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts, an update on the small cell wireless facility legislation, a subject matter hearing on the Economic Development for a Growing Economy Tax Credit and newly-proposed economic development program known as the Transforming, Helping and Reviving Illinois’ Versatile Economy (THRIVE) program.
 
The House convenes on Tuesday, March 21 and is scheduled to remain in session through Thursday, March 23. The Senate will not convene this week.
 
CRITICAL ISSUES UPDATE
The following issues are highlighted because of their significance to municipalities.
 
TIF Limitation Approved by House Revenue and Finance Committee
HB 2964 (Rep. Nekritz, D-Northbrook) was approved by the House Revenue and Finance Committee, but the sponsor indicated she might be willing to entertain an amendment intended to address concerns with the bill. IML has indicated to the sponsor that we oppose this legislation and will continue to engage her on this issue. The bill is also opposed by the Illinois Tax Increment Association (ITIA).
 
In its current form, HB 2964 would provide that when a redevelopment project area has been dissolved, completed or terminated under the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act, property within that redevelopment project area may not become part of another redevelopment project area for 15 years after the date the former redevelopment project area was dissolved, completed or terminated.
 
Small Cell Wireless Facility Legislation Approved by Senate Committee
SB 1451 (Sen. Link, D-Gurnee) was approved by the Senate Telecommunications and Information Technology Committee and is now on the Senate floor. Senator Link has committed that the bill will be held on second reading, and he intends to return to the committee with an amendment. No other testimony was presented. IML remains opposed to the bill as written.  No direct meetings were held last week, but industry representatives and IML staff will participate in a teleconference this week to discuss the working draft amendments to the bill. Please inform your state senators that you oppose the bill as written. Indicate that you will seek their assistance in opposing the legislation absent amendments that resolve the concerns of municipalities. 
 
IML contacts for this legislation are: Patrick Hayes, phayes@iml.org and Jessica DeWalt jdewalt@iml.org.  
 
IML Submits Written Testimony Supporting Illinois Local Government Protection Authority Legislation
On Tuesday, March 21, the House Cities and Villages Committee will consider legislation intended to allow for local governments to receive assistance to solve financial problems that undermine the provision of essential local services. The bill, HB 2575 (Rep. D. Harris, R-Arlington Heights), is known as the Illinois Local Government Protection Authority. Under the bill, local governments could voluntarily submit to a program of oversight and expertise designed to resolve budgetary and financial strains. IML’s written testimony in support of the bill can be found via this link. 
 
NEW ISSUE UPDATE
The following issues are appearing in the Statehouse Briefing for the first time.
 
House Committee Holds Hearing on EDGE Program and Proposed THRIVE Program
The House Revenue and Finance Committee held a subject matter hearing on the Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) program.  The program is due to sunset in April and legislation has been introduced in both chambers to create the Transforming, Helping and Reviving Illinois’ Versatile Economy (THRIVE) program (HB 3556 and SB 2071).  The committee heard testimony that the newly-proposed THRIVE program would modernize EDGE by focusing on job creation as well as addressing job retention and enhanced transparency. Questions and concerns from committee members focused on how the THRIVE program would be marketed to businesses, as well as whether Illinois should be funding tax breaks for private businesses. IML will continue to monitor developments concerning the existing EDGE and proposed THRIVE programs.
 
Legislation Approved by House and Senate Committees
Several IML-tracked bills were approved by substantive committees in the House and Senate last week. These bills are included below:
 
Bills Approved by House Committees
 
HB 496 (Rep. Demmer, R-Dixon) would amend the Township Code to provide that all townships within a coterminous or substantially coterminous municipality may be discontinued (currently, municipalities in which the city council exercises the powers and duties of the township board, or in which one or more municipal officials serve as an officer or trustee of the township; that are located within a county with a population of 3 million or more; and which contain a territory of 7 square miles or more). The bill also repeals an Article of the Township Code regarding discontinuance of specified townships in St. Clair County. The bill was approved by the House Counties and Townships Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 547 (Rep. Zalewski, D-Chicago) would increase the base amount from $20,000 to $25,000 for public improvement or maintenance of public property at which a municipality must enter into a contract by public bid or four-fifths council approval. The bill also amends the Illinois Local Library Act. The bill provides that before the Board of Library Trustees may commence construction, remodeling, repairing or improving of a library building, it shall advertise for bids if the cost of the project exceeds $25,000 (currently, $20,000). Similar changes are proposed to the Public Library District Act of 1991. The bill was approved by the House Cities and Villages Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 291 (Rep. Olsen, R-Downers Grove) would amend the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund Article of the Illinois Pension Code to provide that a person who holds part-time elective office is not a participating employee with respect to that office, unless he or she (i) was elected to that office before the effective date of the amendatory Act and (ii) has elected while in that office to become a contributor. An elective office shall be presumed to be part-time if it normally requires the performance of duty during less than 1000 hours a year for a participating municipality or instrumentality. The bill was approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee. IML has no position on the bill.
 
HB 523 (Rep. Turner, D-Chicago) would amend the Mortgage Foreclosure Article of the Code of Civil Procedure to provide that provisions concerning an additional fee paid by residential foreclosure plaintiffs are operative until January 1, 2020 (instead of January 1, 2018). The bill also provides that provisions concerning an additional fee paid by purchasers at a judicial sale are operative and become inoperative on January 1, 2020 (instead of January 1, 2017). The bill repeals the section on March 2, 2020 (instead of March 2, 2017) and provides that specified actions taken before the effective date of the amendatory Act are ratified, validated and confirmed. The bill was approved by the House Judiciary – Civil Law Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 618 (Rep. Willis, D-Addison) would authorize an active member of a downstate firefighters' pension fund to transfer up to six years of creditable service to that fund from the downstate police pension fund that is administered by the same unit of local government. The bill requires application within six months after the effective date and authorizes reinstatement of service that was terminated by a refund. Additionally, the bill adds a requirement that to transfer the creditable service to the downstate firefighters' fund, the firefighter must not have been subject to disciplinary action when he or she terminated employment with the police department. The bill was approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee. IML was involved in amending the bill and now has no position on the legislation.
 
HB 799 (Rep. Andersson, R-Geneva) would provide that the Department of Transportation and a local governmental agency shall post notice of highway detour locations on their respective websites no later than 10 days before a detour becomes active. The posting requirement shall not apply to an unanticipated emergency as determined by the Department of Transportation, a local governmental agency that does not have a website maintained by a full-time staff or a municipality with one million or more inhabitants. The bill was approved by the House Transportation: Regulation, Roads and Bridges Committee. IML presently has no position on the bill.
 
HB 2428 (Rep. Spain, R-Peoria) would amend the Property Tax Code to provide that the provisions of a section relating to erroneous homestead exemptions apply to all counties (currently, only counties with 3 million or more inhabitants). The bill was approved by the House Revenue and Finance Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 3340 (Rep. Sims, D-Chicago) would create the Racial and Ethnic Bias Training Act to provide that the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board shall adopt model rules for training for law enforcement officers to recognize implicit racial and ethnic bias and racial sensitivity that may be adopted by law enforcement agencies in this state. The bill provides that the Department of State Police shall work in consultation with the Board to adopt model rules for training to recognize implicit racial and ethnic bias and racial sensitivity for officers. The bill provides that training on recognizing implicit racial and ethnic bias and promoting racial sensitivity for individuals who work in the criminal justice system shall be required. The bill was approved by the House Judiciary – Criminal Law Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
Bills Approved by Senate Committees
 
SB 609 (Sen. Morrison, D-Deerfield) would amend the Property Tax Code to provide that if the Property Tax Appeal Board renders a decision after the deadline for filing complaints with the board of review, or after adjournment of the session of the board of review, for any subsequent year in the general assessment period (instead of the subsequent year only), then the taxpayer may appeal the assessment for those subsequent years directly to the Property Tax Appeal Board. The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee. IML opposes the bill.
 
SB 647 (Sen. Collins, D-Chicago) would amend the Mortgage Foreclosure Article of the Code of Civil Procedure to provide that provisions concerning an additional fee paid by residential foreclosure plaintiffs are operative until January 1, 2020 (instead of January 1, 2018). Provisions concerning an additional fee paid by purchasers at a judicial sale are operative and become inoperative on January 1, 2020 (instead of January 1, 2017). The bill repeals the Section on March 2, 2020 (instead of March 2, 2017). Specified actions taken before the effective date of the amendatory Act are ratified, validated and confirmed. The bill was approved by the Senate Financial Institutions Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
SB 679 (Sen. Harmon, D-Oak Park) would amend the Motor Fuel Tax Law to provide that a road district, municipality or county may submit a copy of its approved road budget showing expenses exceeding the motor fuel tax funds received by the road district, municipality or county to satisfy all documentation and reporting requirements relating to the motor fuel tax funds received. The bill prohibits the Department of Revenue and the Department of Transportation from requiring more documentation or reporting requirements if a road district, municipality or county provides the specified budget. The bill was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
SB 1347 (Sen. Biss, D-Evanston) would create the Living Wage Act. Under the bill, the state, its agencies and political subdivisions shall ensure that new contracts and subcontracts include a provision specifying that, as a condition of payment of the contract, the minimum wage to be paid to workers in performance of the contract or subcontract shall be at least $16.36 per hour for new contracts created after January 1, 2018. For every year thereafter, the Department of Labor shall adjust the amount of the hourly minimum wage by the annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index. The bill sets forth provisions concerning enforcement and penalties. The bill creates a private right of action to enforce the provisions of the Act and provides for debarment of certain contractors or subcontractors for violation of the Act. The bill was approved by the Senate Labor Committee. IML is presently opposed to the bill. The sponsor may entertain an amendment to remove the applicability of the bill to local governments.
 
SB 1385 (Sen. Weaver, R-Peoria) would amend the Property Tax Code to provide that the abatement for property located in an area of urban decay also applies to newly remodeled single-family or duplex residential dwelling units (currently, only newly constructed single-family or duplex dwelling units). The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee. IML does not presently have a position on the bill.
 
SB 1437 (Sen. Murphy, D-Des Plaines) would amend the Property Tax Code to remove a provision requiring taxpayers who have been granted a disabled veterans standard homestead exemption to reapply on an annual basis if he or she has been found by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to be permanently and totally disabled. The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee. IML has no position on the bill.
 
SB 1593 (Sen. McConnaughay, R-St. Charles) would amend the Property Tax Code to provide that parking areas owned by religious institutions, when leased or rented to a municipality for the purpose of providing free public parking, are exempt. The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
SB 1598 (Sen. Link, D-Gurnee) would amend the Property Tax Code to provide that the valuation procedures for PPV leases sunset on December 31, 2055 (currently, January 1, 2017). The bill provides that those valuation procedures apply in the absence of a separate settlement agreement. For tax year 2017 and thereafter, for naval training facilities, naval bases and naval support facilities, "net operating income" means all revenues received minus the actual expenses before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (currently, the lesser of (i) 62% of all revenues or (ii) actual expenses before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization). To determine the fair cash value of a PPV Lease, the net operating income is divided by (i) a rate of 12% (currently, 7.75%) plus (ii) the actual or most recently ascertainable tax load factor. The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee. IML has no position on the bill.
 
SB 1700 (Sen. McConnaughay, R-St. Charles) would create the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act to provide that a local unit of government may establish a property assessed clean energy program. To finance or refinance one or more energy projects on the property covered by the program, a local unit of government may impose an assessment pursuant to the terms of a voluntary assessment contract with the record owner of the property to be assessed. A local unit of government may issue bonds to finance energy projects under a property assessed clean energy program. The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
SB 1775 (Sen. Harmon, D-Oak Park) would amend the Illinois Municipal Code to create the Municipal Task Force on Recycling Strategies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions to review the status of municipal policies and programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions nationally and internationally. The bill was approved by the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee. IML does not presently have a position on the bill.
 
SB 1806 (Sen. Syverson, R-Rockford) would amend the Video Gaming Act to provide that the Illinois Gaming Board (Board) shall not grant an application to become a licensed video gaming location if the Board determines that granting the application would more likely than not cause a terminal operator licensed video gaming location to operate the video gaming terminals in two or more licensed video gaming locations as a single video gaming operation. The bill provides factors to be considered by the Board in determining restrictions on licenses in malls. The bill provides that the Board shall presume that the granting of an application to become a licensed video gaming location within a mall will cause a terminal operator to operate the video gaming terminals in two or more licensed video gaming locations as a single video gaming operation if the Board determines that granting the license would create a local concentration of licensed video gaming locations. The bill provides that a municipality, or a county with respect to unincorporated portions of the county, may impose separate requirements on video gaming that provide sources of municipal or county revenue or impose limitations on video gaming that are more restrictive than those provided under the Act. The bill was approved by the Senate Gaming Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
SB 1856 (Sen. Bivins, R-Dixon) would amend the Prevailing Wage Act to provide that if the Department of Labor ascertains the prevailing rate of wages for a public body, the public body may satisfy the Act's notice by newspaper publication and mail requirements by posting on the public body's website a hyperlink to the prevailing wage schedule that is published on the official website of the Department of Labor. The bill was approved by the Senate Labor Committee. IML supports the bill.
 
SB 1887 (Sen. Koehler, D-Peoria) would amend the Property Tax Code. In provisions concerning the homestead exemption for persons with disabilities, the homestead exemption for veterans with disabilities, the senior citizens homestead exemption and the senior citizens assessment freeze homestead exemption, provides that, if the person awarded the exemption subsequently becomes a resident of a Supportive Living Program facility, then the exemption shall continue so long as the residence (i) is occupied by the qualifying person's spouse (in the case of the senior citizens homestead exemption, the spouse must be 65 years of age or older) or (ii) remains unoccupied but is owned by the qualifying person. The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee. IML does not have a position on the bill.
 
SB 1904 (Sen. Silverstein, D-Chicago) would amend the Prevailing Wage Act to require the Department of Labor to publish, by July 15 of each year on its official website, a prevailing wage schedule for each county in the state based upon the prevailing rate of wages investigated and ascertained by the Department during the month of June. The bill was approved by the Senate Executive Committee. IML does not presently have a position on the bill.
 
SB 1905 (Sen. Silverstein, D-Chicago) would create the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act to provide that it is the policy of the state that employers, employees and their labor organizations are free to bargain collectively. The authority to enact laws or rules that restrict the use of union security agreements between an employer and a labor organization vests exclusively with the General Assembly. The bill prohibits local governments from enforcing any such law or rule. The bill was approved by the Senate Labor Committee. IML does not presently have a position on the bill.
 
SB 2023 (Sen. Fowler, R-Harrisburg) would amend the Illinois Enterprise Zone Act. With respect to the application process, provides that the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (Department) may award partial points if the applicant demonstrates job creation and investment levels below the threshold set forth in the statute. The Department may adjust the scoring for applicants that are located entirely within a county with a population of less than 300,000. The bill provides for provisional certification of substantially complete applications. The bill provides that an enterprise zone shall be decertified if the Department finds that 80 percent or more of the businesses receiving tax incentives failed to submit certain information. The bill further provides that the application process for enterprise zones that are scheduled to expire on or after January 1, 2022 shall begin five years (currently, two years) prior to the year in which the zone expires. The bill was approved by the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee. IML does not presently have a position on the bill.
 
SB 2066 (Sen. Righter, R-Mattoon) would amend the State Mandates Act to provide that the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's catalog of state mandates shall also include a statewide cost of compliance estimate. The bill was approved by the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee. IML does not presently have a position on the bill.
 
PREVIOUS ISSUE UPDATE
The following issues have been included in previous Statehouse Briefings and have since undergone a change in status.
 
Legislation Approved by the House
Several IML-tracked bills passed out of the House of Representatives last week. They are as follows:
 
HB 2407 (Rep. Kifowit, D-Aurora) would provide that, for the purposes of annexation of contiguous territory, territory shall be considered contiguous to a municipality notwithstanding that the territory is separated from the municipality by a lake, river or other waterway. The bill provides that when annexing territory separated from the municipality by a lake, river or other waterway, the municipality also annexes the portion of the lake, river or other waterway that would make the municipality and territory contiguous if the lake, river or other waterway is under the jurisdiction and control of another unit of local government, the State or the federal government if allowed under federal law, except for any territory within the corporate limits of another municipality. The bill was approved by the House and will next be considered in the Senate. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 2661 (Rep. Sente, D-Vernon Hills) would amend the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems Act to provide that an EMR, EMT, EMT-I, A-EMT or Paramedic may transport a police dog injured in the line of duty to a veterinary clinic or similar facility if there are no persons requiring medical attention or transport at that time. The bill was approved by the House and will next be considered in the Senate. IML supports the bill.
 
HB 2966 (Rep. Andrade, D-Chicago) would amend the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) Article of the Illinois Pension Code. In a provision that requires an additional contribution from a participating municipality or participating instrumentality for certain increases in reported earnings, changes a reference from "salary" to "reported earnings" and provides that the change is a clarification of existing law and is intended to be retroactive to January 1, 2012 (the effective date of Public Act 97-609). In a provision establishing the board of trustees, the bill provides that no person shall be eligible to become a trustee who does not have the minimum service credit in the Fund to qualify for a pension (instead of at least 8 years of creditable service). The bill was approved by the House and will next be considered in the Senate. IML has no position on the bill.
 
HB 3385 (Rep. Ives, R-Wheaton) would amend the Freedom of Information Act to provide that each public body shall designate one or more public officials or employees of the public body (instead of "one or more officials or employees") to act as its Freedom of Information officer or officers. The bill was approved by the House and will next be considered in the Senate. IML has not yet taken a position on the bill. IML does not presently have a position on the bill.
 
TRACKED BILL LIST AND UPCOMING IML EVENTS
 
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 over 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.
 
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.