* “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.”
* 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?