NAIFA Illinois Legislative Update


    By: Evan Manning, Lobbyist
    November 18, 2019

    End of Veto Session
    Last night the House and Senate wrapped up the final days of the FY2020 session, which have been considered by many to be one of the most historical sessions on record. Soon after adjourning, Senate President John Cullerton announced his intention to retire sometime in January. The Senate President cites that his wife asked him to retire and spend more time with her and his family. President Cullerton is now over 70 years old and for the past eleven years has been leader of the Illinois Senate.

    The Senate will reconvene during the second week of January to vote in a new Senate President. It will certainly be interesting to find out who they elect and who will by vying for the job. Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) has already said she will be running for the job. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see Sen. Heather Steans, Sen. Tony Munoz, Sen, Don Harmon, Sen. Andy Manar, Sen. Melinda Bush, and Sen. Elgie Sims to be campaigning internally for the position. It really might just be the first person to get two votes.

    Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) has said she has begun contacting Democratic ward committeemen about the appointment to replace President Cullerton’s soon to be vacant seat. It will certainly be a shakeup across both chambers.

    In other news, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot suffered a big loss this week. She came down Tuesday to lobby for changes to the casino bill, which passed at the end of the Spring Session, but to no avail. SB 222, which was planned to carry Lightfoot’s language ended up only carrying a couple minor tweaks at the behest of the Illinois Gaming Board regarding fingerprinting.

    The General Assembly approved SB 1639 (Steans/Villanueva) requiring more public disclosure about lobbyists Thursday in response to a federal bribery charge against a since-disgraced representative but pushed the heavy ethics-reform lifting off to a newly created commission that will report recommendations after next spring's primary election. The 109-5 vote in the House came on the General Assembly's last scheduled day of work in Springfield this year and was hotly debated by Republicans who complained it doesn't address the efforts they have introduced in legislation that has languished without action for weeks or months.

    In separate votes, the House and Senate approved a resolution, HJR 93, (Harris/Castro) to create the ethics commission, 16 members appointed by the governor, House and Senate Democrats and Republicans, the attorney general's office, the secretary of state's office. The governor gets four appointments, but no more than two may be from the same political party.

    The General Assembly passed a trailer bill to the State's soon-to-be-implemented recreational marijuana law that goes into effect January 1, 2020. The House passed SB 1557 (Steans/Villanueva) as amended 90-20-1 and the Senate quickly concurred by a vote of 41-6-1. Under the bill, which is expected to be signed by the Governor, employer rights in the recreational marijuana law are reinforced by further clarifying that employers are able to maintain a drug free work workplace by being able to test employees and then terminate employees who fail to adhere to drug policies.

    Last week, Representative Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) intended to move SB 471 in the House Labor & Commerce Committee this week. The bill requires all Illinois employers regardless of size to offer paid leave to every employee - full and part time - up to 40 hours per year. After hearing the suggestions from business groups that the bill be amended to exempt companies that already provide at least 40 hours of PTO, provide preemption of similar local ordinances, and allow flexibility in how hours or time is provided, the Representative agreed to move her bill through committee but not move it on the House Floor. With that promise, SB 471 advanced out of the House Labor Committee 18-7-0 and was held on the floor on Second Reading. The bill will be worked on with the sponsor and business groups on developing better protections to employers before being reintroduced in the spring.

    SB 1300 – (Castro/Hoffman) A bill to consolidate hundreds of local public safety worker retirement systems in Illinois to ease funding pressures on municipalities won final approval in the state legislature on Thursday. Ballooning pension liabilities for some cities in the nation's sixth most populous state have led to budget cuts, tax increases, asset sales and credit rating downgrades. The measure consolidates about 650 police and firefighter pension funds into two statewide funds in an effort to reduce administrative costs and boost investment returns. It passed the Senate in a 42-12 vote, following the House's 96-14 vote on Wednesday. The link to the bill only encompasses Amendment 5 but Amendments 5,6,7 become the bill.

    Insurance

    SB 670 – (Manar/Jones) A bill capping out-of-pocket insulin costs at $100 a month is up for Gov. J.B. Pritzker's signature. The Senate voted 43-1 to give final approval to the bill. The chamber had to approve a couple of minor changes made to the legislation in the House. The House added a provision to have the cap increase as inflation increases. It also called for the Department of Insurance to conduct an investigation into why insulin prices here are so much higher than in other countries. The original bill called for the Attorney General's office to conduct the review.

    SB667 – (Munoz/Jones) The bill creates the Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure Law and has been sent to the Governor. Requires insurers to disclose corporate governance structure, policies, and practices to the Director of Insurance. Makes corporate governance disclosures confidential and privileged. Revises the Freedom of Information Act to conform to the statutory exemptions found in the Illinois Insurance Code. The bill passed both chambers yesterday and is effective immediately.

    SB 1756 – (Manar/Morgan) The bill, which passed both chambers yesterday amends the Illinois Insurance Code to require certain insurance companies to comply with prohibitions under the Managed Care Reform and Patient Rights Act. Amends the Health Maintenance Organization Act. Changes the term "managed care organization" to "health maintenance organization" in a provision concerning an assessment imposed under the Illinois Public Aid Code. Effective immediately, except that provisions under the Illinois Insurance Code are effective January 1, 2020.

    SB 671 – (Bennett/Hoffman) Though the Senate on Thursday approved additional reform measures to a coal ash removal law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker earlier this year, the House did not take any action on the legislation before adjourning until next year.  The bill amends the Environmental Protection Act. Requires insurance to be used as a financial assurance to meet specified criteria. Provides that rules by the Pollution Control Board must specify that any and all contractors, subcontractors, and installers utilized to construct, install, modify, operate, or close a CCR surface impoundment must be participants in specified training programs. It can be reconsidered when the General Assembly reconvenes Jan. 28, 2020, for its next regular session.

    SB 665 – (Fine/Morgan) As all of you know by now this bill is the health insurance rate review bill. The bill was not heard this week. This will undoubtedly be brought back in the Spring Legislative Session.

    I know that is a lot, but I believe I covered everything of note this past week. This wraps up my first year with the association and year one of the 101st General Assembly. I feel very confident going into next year that we can make a significant impact (in a positive way) for our members. There is still a lot of work to be done before the General Assembly reconvenes January 28, 2020. We are committed to working with the General Assembly and the Department of Insurance in creating a better and more professional landscape in Illinois and not just in the insurance industry. If year one of the new GA is any indication, we are going to be very busy.

    Please save the date for January 17, 2020 for our DuPage and Lake County Legislative Updates. DuPage will again be a breakfast beginning at 7:30 AM and Lake will be a lunch beginning at NOON.

    Illinois Insurance Industry Legislative Day will be held March 18, 2020. Please save this date as well to come down to Springfield for the event. Details will be coming but it the program will be held at the Wyndham City Centre and reception to follow at the Illinois State Library.

    Senate Legislative Calendar
    http://www.ilga.gov/senate/schedules/2020_Session_Calendar.pdf

    House Legislative Calendar
    http://www.ilga.gov/house/schedules/2020_Session_Calendar.pdf