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A few that I missed Friday

Monday, Aug 14, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I posted a ton of bill-signing press releases on Friday, but I did miss a few. Here’s Kathy Byrne, President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association on HB219…

This important law will help deter reckless decisions and conduct that puts the lives of Illinoisans in danger and make Illinois a safer place to live and work.

For decades, Illinois law has allowed living plaintiffs to seek punitive damages in cases where a defendant’s reprehensible conduct causes injury. Punitive damages, while rare, serve to punish defendants for their reckless or intentional conduct, and deter others from engaging in similar conduct. It is up to the courts, on a case-by-case basis, to determine whether the misconduct warrants jury consideration of punitive damages.

The enactment of House Bill 219 provides that punitive damages are now also available when a defendant’s reprehensible behavior results in a victim’s death and are subject to the same burden of proof and standards of review applicable to punitive damages in injury cases. Now the inequity that perversely rewarded the reprehensible behavior of a defendant for killing the plaintiff versus “merely” injuring them has been removed. This law is fair and makes common sense.

We applaud Governor Pritzker for signing this important consumer safety measure, and thank Senate President Don Harmon and Leader Jay Hoffman for championing the bill through the legislative process. We also thank House Speaker Welch, Representative La Shawn Ford, and the many co-sponsors and supporters in the General Assembly that helped get the bill across the finish line.

On the other side of this issue is Andrew Perkins, regional vice president – Great Lakes at the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies…

Unfortunately, Governor Pritzker has chosen to protect special interests and add more regulation to Illinois businesses. HB 219 will have a significant impact on Illinois businessowners and consumers by increasing litigation costs through punitive damages. Opportunistic lawyers can now take advantage of these increased costs, opening the current legal system to excessive, unpredictable awards and to fraud and abuse that has been avoided for decades in Illinois. Further, this law unfairly prevents other entities, including state government, from facing similar damages. It makes no sense for state agencies to be excluded from requirements applied to businesses that create jobs and foster economic opportunity for Illinoisians.

ITLA also hailed a bill-signing Friday removing the loophole which allowed rideshare companies to avoid being classified as common carriers.

* On to a different topic…

The Illinois Pharmacists Association and the National Community Pharmacists Association are applauding a new law in Illinois that prohibits retaliation by pharmacy benefit managers against pharmacists and pharmacies for disclosing information to courts, hearings, legislative commissions, law enforcement or other government agencies if there is reasonable cause to believe the disclosed information is evidence of violation of a state or federal law, rule, or regulation. HB3631, which was led by Rep. Hoan Huynh (D) and Sen. Mike Simmons (D), was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker (D) on Aug. 4, 2023. It has an effective date of July 1, 2023.

The top three PBMs control 80 percent of the market, and decide what medicines patients can take, where they must get them, and how much they pay. In recent years, they have leveraged their market power to implement abusive policies and practices that pad their profits at the expense of patients and pharmacies. Pharmacists who speak out oftentimes experience retaliation measures from PBMs that can include an exponential increase in audits, refusal to access future contracts and removal from preferred provider networks, among other punishments.

“PBMs for too long have been weaponizing contracting and auditing tactics to essentially force pharmacists into silence,” says Garth Reynolds, RPh, executive director of IPhA. “There’s more work to do to truly rein in these middlemen, but with HB3631, we can more freely share with government representatives how PBM policies harm pharmacy practice and our patients. IPhA is grateful to Rep. Huynh and Sen. Simmons for their leadership and support, and to Gov. Pritzker for signing this important bill into law.”

“For a marketplace to be free and healthy, there must be competition and transparency. PBM-insurers are fighting against both, even as policymakers at all levels of government look to crack down on business practices that stifle patient choice and disadvantage independent pharmacies,” says Joel Kurzman, director of state government affairs at NCPA. “This legislation is a great step forward in Illinois. Further PBM reforms and aggressive enforcement of policies like this one will be crucial if patients and taxpayers are to see the difference.”

* Women Employed…

Women Employed, which has been creating fundamental, systemic change for working women for 50 years, today applauded Gov. Pritzker for signing the salary transparency bill into law. The law amends the Illinois Equal Pay Act, and continues the state’s commitment to ensuring equal pay for all workers.

Sponsored by Rep. Mary Beth Canty and former Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, the new law requires businesses with 15 or more employees to publicly post the wage or salary and description of benefits offered for a job, promotion, transfer or other employment opportunity beginning January 2025. It also requires employers to provide employees their current wage or salary range along with a general description of benefits upon that employee’s hiring, promotion or transfer, upon the employee’s request.

“We are grateful to Gov. Pritzker, Rep. Canty, Sen. Pacione-Zayas and all the partners we have worked with to advance pay equity across our state,” said Cherita Ellens, President and CEO of Women Employed. “Today we take a major step forward in closing the racial and gender pay gap for Illinois workers, and ultimately creating more fair and inclusive workplaces for working people across the state.”

In Illinois, closing the gender wage gap would translate into a 16 percent increase in women’s earnings, totaling $20.5 billion, a huge boost for the state’s economy. It also means 1.1 million children would benefit from equal pay, potentially reducing the poverty rate for children with working mothers by 43 percent.

Pay range and benefits information helps prospective employees accurately assess job opportunities and negotiate in an informed manner. Disclosing the salary or salary range for a position helps keep employers accountable, levels the negotiating playing field, and gives applicants, employees, and enforcement agencies information to identify and remedy any unjustified pay disparities.

Pay range transparency also helps businesses of all sizes more efficiently and effectively find and match candidates who are interested and would take the position. This helps save costs and gives small businesses without an HR team an edge, which is why many small businesses already include pay ranges in job announcements. Earlier this year, Adobe’s Future Workforce Study found that the vast majority of recent and upcoming college graduates want to know how much a role will pay before even applying.

Recently, Women Employed was the lead partner for the Illinois FARE Grant project, spearheaded by the Illinois Department of Labor and funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau, which sought to ensure that women across the state, especially those in low-paid jobs, are aware of their equal pay rights, remedies, and resources. The effort reached millions of women across the state, helping them to better understand and advocate for their workplace rights.

In addition to advocating for the salary transparency law, Women Employed has advocated for all of the equal pay laws currently on the books in Illinois, including the No Salary History bill that passed in 2019. The law banned asking job applicants their previous salary and eliminated a practice that had perpetuated racial and gender wage gaps.

Illinois joins Colorado, Washington, and New York City with laws that require pay ranges be included in job postings.

* Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition on Governor Pritzker’s AV of HB 2878…

“We applaud Governor JB Pritzker for his amendatory veto of HB 2878, calling for greater public input into project planning and implementation. The transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gases and past transportation projects have not adequately considered impacts on communities, and especially environmental justice communities already overwhelmed by pollution from big trucks and other vehicles. That input should, at a minimum, include a greenhouse gas analysis of the project and whether there are alternatives that provide more efficient and affordable transportation options.”

* And I had a release or two Friday on this topic, but this is from the local park district, which has been fending off attacks from the Tinley Park mayor…

The Board of Commissioners of the Park District of Tinley Park today applauded Gov. JB Pritzker’s signing into law House Bill 3743 to transfer the site of the former Tinley Park Mental Health Center to the Park District to finally begin cleanup and redevelopment of the long-vacant land.

Gov. Pritzker’s signature of HB 3743 begins the process of transferring the blighted property to the Park District for $1, saving Tinley Park taxpayers over $4.5 million to purchase the site, which the Village of Tinley Park had previously offered, in addition to an estimated $12-$15 million in cleanup costs to be provided by the state. Now that the bill is signed into law, the Park District can work with the state in the coming weeks to begin the process of effectuating the land transfer to officially own the property.

“After many years of inaction, we are incredibly grateful for Gov. Pritzker’s support to finally begin the process of remediating and revitalizing this eyesore in our community,” said Lisa O’Donovan, Park District Board Commissioner and Chair of a new committee being established to oversee the project. “We are excited and ready to move forward with the many steps it will take to clean up the property and redevelop the site. We look forward to engaging with Tinley Park residents, schools, community organizations, and all stakeholders to create new opportunities for our community and the entire southland area to love our Tinley parks.”

“Transferring the Tinley Park Mental Health Center to the Tinley Park-Park District was one of the best decisions the State of Illinois made this year,” said Sen. Michael Hastings, Senate bill sponsor. “They have a track record of working together with everyone in our community and the south suburban region. More importantly, they are capable and have a plan ready to demolish and redevelop the property when it is ultimately transferred to them.”

“Today is a great day for Tinley Park and all of our southland communities,” said Rep. Robert Rita, House bill sponsor. “I’m proud to have sponsored this bill to allow the Tinley Park-Park District to turn this eyesore into a destination for people across the region, and I thank Gov. Pritzker for his support.”

With today’s action by the governor, the Park District is now taking its first steps as part of the process of cleaning up the property. The Park District is engaging Tetra Tech, which will conduct an updated environmental assessment of the site to determine the extent of remediation


  1. - Homebody - Monday, Aug 14, 23 @ 11:43 am:

    I have a really hard time feeling bad for businesses having to pay punitive damages for reckless or intentional conduct that kills someone. Punitive damages are absolutely a necessary tool for the courts to discourage behavior which otherwise would turn the death into a “cost of doing business” calculation.

  2. - Perrid - Monday, Aug 14, 23 @ 1:56 pm:

    Do you want to side with the blood sucking, ambulance chasing lawyers or the slave driving businesses? That’s what I see when I read releases like this, a pox on both their houses.

    But, as detestable as the parties involved are, it does make sense to have as high or higher possible punishment for death as injury. And it’s harder to “fake” death than injury, so I doubt it will be as easily abused.

  3. - May soon be required - Monday, Aug 14, 23 @ 2:00 pm:

    There are bills that were signed on Friday that still don’t have Public Act numbers on the ilga site. I don’t think I’ve seen it take this long.

  4. - Homebody - Monday, Aug 14, 23 @ 4:10 pm:

    @Perrid - … yes? Bad behavior needs to be punished. I wouldn’t be against a law that says punitive damages have to go to the state or something, but if the state isn’t doing enough to actually go after bad actors, then you have to use the other tools available. And often that means civil suits.

    Deflection to blame trial attorneys is just a fancy way of saying “I want bad actors to get away with being bad.”

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