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The business of Illinois

Thursday, Apr 10, 2014

* “Quit your job or lose your baby,” is what Rosaura Villanueva said a supervisor told her

After repeatedly unloading trucks, lifting and carrying heavy boxes and packages, Villanueva, who couldn’t afford to quit her job at a shipping company, did lose her unborn child.

* So, Rep. Mary Flowers proposed a bill…

In an expansive rewrite of the state’s Human Rights Act, Flowers sponsored a bill that would make it a civil rights violation if an employer fails to provide “reasonable accommodations” for all working pregnant women, including part-time and full-time employees.

“This would allow any pregnant woman to have the same breaks that a man would have if his back were hurting,” Flowers said. “They’d have the same consideration — nothing special, nothing added.” […]

However, these requests, and those like it, cannot cause “undue hardship” to a company under Flowers’ bill; accommodations cannot be “unreasonably expensive or disruptive” to the business.

* But Jay Shattuck, executive director of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s Employment Law Council, is opposed…

He said pregnant women already have protection under state and federal law and that adding more “legalese” would hurt employers, who would see “lawsuits galore” over the broad wording in Flowers’ bill. […]

“The premise of this bill is that employers are bad, evil people: That’s the kind of attitude that drives employers out of the state,” Shattuck said. “This is just another proverbial straw on the camel’s back. It’s one more thing, one more thing, one more thing.”

* Getting tougher on employers in one bill, but going easier on landlords who want to evict tenants in another. Mark Brown writes about a legislator fed up with attempting to evict tenants from a building she owns

Rep. Monique Davis has fought since 2009 to forestall being evicted from a Chicago Board of Education building she has used rent free as her legislative office for the past 11 years.

But when the shoe is on the other foot, the Chicago Democrat takes a dim view of tenants who she says “game the system” to thwart landlords—such as her—in eviction court.

At Davis’ urging, an Illinois House committee on Wednesday approved a measure she sponsored to make it easier for Cook County landlords to evict problem tenants.

The bill would impose a 45-day limit for the Cook County sheriff to carry out any eviction after a final order from a judge.

If the sheriff fails to complete the eviction in that time period, the landlord would be free to turn the job over to any legally-recognized “peace officer.”

Make sure to go read the whole thing. Great column by Brown.

* In other news, Sen. Biss’ retirement savings bill passed the Senate yesterday

Illinois senators voted to create a retirement savings plan for many workers who do not have access to a retirement plan where they work.

The Illinois Secure Choice Savings Plan was approved on a 30-22 vote, the bare minimum for it to pass.

Under the plan, workers at companies that have more than 25 employees and that do not offer a retirement plan could participate in the program.

* And a proposal that might sound good on its face could also backfire

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Mike Smiddy, D-Hillsdale, would forbid state agencies from purchasing or leasing vehicles assembled outside of the United States.

“What this means is that the state of Illinois would have several manufacturers to choose from that employ American workers,” Smiddy said. “We have close to 14 manufacturers that currently assemble vehicles here in the United States.” […]

Ron Ewing, a spokesman for General Motors, said the legislation is misguided. He argued that Canada assembles many GM vehicles that contain union-made parts manufactured in the United States.

“Somewhat ironically, given the genesis of this amendment, it would send a signal that the state of Illinois would rather by a non-union Volkswagen Passat made in Tennessee than a union-made Chevrolet from GM,” he said.

* Meanwhile, Mayor Rahm Emanuel ruled out a city lease tax and a city income tax to fund pension payments

“The city income tax, office lease [tax are both] non-starters. I’ve addressed what I think is a responsible way to meet a challenge that I want to remind didn’t just creep up on us….Our employees are contributing more. They’re making changes. We’re stepping up in a way that does it in a methodical and systematic way.”

* But Toni Preckwinkle is keeping all options open

Hoping to ward off another credit rating downgrade, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Wednesday that she will soon present a plan to reform the county’s underfunded pension system.

And she’s leaving the door open to hiking property, sales and other taxes.

When asked repeatedly about the possibility of tax increases, Preckwinkle responded: “We’re looking at all the options. Everything is on the table.”

* Related…

* House calls for student loans to be forgiven in bankruptcy

* George Lucas eyes Chicago for art, ‘Star Wars’ museum

* Sneed: Is Toni testing the waters?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - RNUG - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    Tough to buy a completely US made car or truck today. As the article rightly points out, some foreign vehicles are assembled here (of both foreign and domestic components). And some vehicles built in other countries, such as Canada or Mexico, actually have a higher amount of US made components in them. For example, I’ve owned American branded vehicles built in Mexico using parts imported from the US, and German vehicles assembled in the US using parts imported from Germany.

    I’d feel better about the bill if it specified a percentage of the vehicle that must be domestic content (actually US made). Not sure what would be reasonable these days with global manufacturing, but it seems something like 70% or 80% domestic content would be a desirable goal.

  2. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    Wow, Monique Davis.

    Just… wow.

  3. - Soda pop - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    Bash the NRA guy for lobbying to change a law he feels is overreaching after he has been ticketed. But, Rep. Davis proposes a law that will personally benefit her (and others)…

  4. - Smoggie - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 12:24 pm:

    Soda pop,

    Why include “but”?

    Shouldn’t that be “and” in your comment?

  5. - Pete - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    Some specialized vehicles may not be American made. Do Helicopters count? How about boats or forklifts?

  6. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    The Monique bill is unbelievable. Can’t Madigan save her from herself on this? Of course, the great irony is she’s trying to gut legal protections that are in place for poor renters, most of whom are minorities — people she pretends to champion.

  7. - illinifan - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    I think it is ridiculous that Flowers needs a bill for employers to make common sense decisions, but unfortunately employers and big business do not always make good decisions….unfortunately there will always be bad businesses just like there will always be bad employees, but here is where government oversight is important. It is sad a mother had to choose between her baby and her income and that the employer forced her to make the choice (I hope this employer was not a right to life advocate because their actions would be a “little” hypocritical)

  8. - Montrose - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    The thing about Monique’s bill is that a ton of legislators have some rental property they own, so they focus in on their personal situation with a problem tenant as opposed to what is good, humane policy. That and the realtors have a ton of money they spread around.

  9. - Jake From Elwood - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    How many extra employees will the Sheriff’s office need to hire to fast-track these evictions. Monique strikes again. The Jeanne Ives of the Democratic Party.

  10. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 2:03 pm:

    ==The thing about Monique’s bill is that a ton of legislators have some rental property they own==

    Unless they are from Cook County this bill won’t do anything for them. That’s the really amazing thing to me about this bill. It’s crystal clear that she is writing this for her own benefit, otherwise why limit it to Cook County?

  11. - Jeff Trigg - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 2:13 pm:

    Does Monique have a bill concerning public college statues mysteriously vanishing from a college and then showing up in legislators’ rent-free offices? If the college, Chicago State for example, doesn’t notice the theft and report it to the police within 45 days then the state rep. gets to keep the statue?

    Monique Davis gets her district office cash from the state.
    Monique Davis refuses to pay rent for years on that office to the owners of her offices, the Chicago Public Schools.
    Monique Davis then rents out the office to a big state grant receiving organization, Brainerd, that asks for rent money as a part of their state grant. And now this bill? Sheesh.

    “The Jeanne Ives of the Democratic Party.” That’s funny, but I think Monique Davis is a lot worse.

  12. - Hans Sanity - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    Anyone considering a run for Mayor next time around ought to follow David Sirota’s and the Pandodaily twitter feeds….assuming they’re not already.

  13. - Jack - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 2:42 pm:

    Precwinkles proposed reform package calls for no cuts to already retired employees.

  14. - Hans Sanity - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 3:07 pm:

    “…Preckwinkle declined to discuss specifics, but she did say that any plan that goes before the Legislature will not have property tax increase language written into the bill…”

    Where the heck is this table that “everything” is or is not on?

  15. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 5:32 pm:

    RNUG, the State fleet is gonna get interesting in a few heard if this bill passes. Adding this to the flex-fuel, electric, and other mandates already on the books the eligible universe of cars will get smaller and smaller.
    I agree a content requirement, which is already tracked, is a fairer approach. Our favorite US car would.make the cut either way.

  16. - RNUG - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 10:22 pm:


    We can only hope Rep. Mike Smiddy is a regular CapFax reader and considers changing the criteria from assembled to percentage of domestic content.

  17. - RNUG - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 10:28 pm:

    If they narrowing the rules enough, about the only choice could end being a $60K Tesla Roadster. Imagine how well a high performance sports car in the motor pool will go over with the taxpayers.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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