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It’s just a bill

Friday, May 24, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Capitol News Illinois

After years of negotiations and continued opposition from service providers, Illinois appears poised to prohibit employers from using a federal exemption that allows them to pay individuals with disabilities less than the minimum wage.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 established minimum wage law, but created an exemption for businesses, rehabilitation and residential care facilities to pay disabled workers less than minimum wage if they obtain a special certificate permitted in Section 14(c) of the law. This “commensurate wage” is based on the worker’s individual productivity in proportion to the wage and productivity of workers who do not have disabilities but are performing the same or a similar task. […]

House Bill 793, which passed the House 78-30 on Thursday night, would prohibit companies from holding 14(c) certificates beginning in 2030 – a timeline that was extended in a late amendment to garner further support, including from Republicans. […]

It now heads to the Senate, where it will need to be read on three separate days before it can pass. It’s unclear how long the Senate will remain in Springfield before it adjourns its spring session, making it possible that the measure will have to wait until the fall veto session or later until it can be moved to the governor’s desk.

* Brenden Moore

* WAND

A bipartisan group of Illinois senators passed the massive Healthcare Protection Act Thursday night. The legislation, a top priority for Gov. JB Pritzker, could curb predatory insurance practices and protect consumers.

This plan would make Illinois the first state to ban prior authorization for in-patient adult and children’s mental healthcare. The bill would also ban step therapy, or the fail first method, where insurers force people to receive less effective drug treatments before moving to options initially recommended by doctors.

The measure would also require prior approval from the Department of Insurance before large group insurance plans can increase rates and require premiums to align with the actual cost of providing care. […]

House Bill 5395 passed out of the Senate on a 45-14 vote and now heads back to the House on concurrence.

* Capitol News Illinois

The House passed two bills that would regulate battery collection and storage.

Senate Bill 3481 would require automotive parts recyclers that store over 5,000 kilograms of used electric vehicle batteries – or approximately 10 EV batteries – to register with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency by Feb. 1, 2026. […]

The bill passed the House Tuesday on a 77-35 bipartisan vote, but since it was amended in that chamber, it goes back to the Senate for concurrence.

Senate Bill 3686 would create the Portable and Medium-Format Battery Stewardship Act.

Beginning July 2026, battery producers would be required to create and facilitate a battery stewardship plan, and retailers would be prohibited from selling batteries from producers who haven’t submitted plans. Producers would be required to submit an annual report and pay an annual $100,000 fee to the IEPA. […]

It cleared the House Tuesday with bipartisan support in a 77-35 vote. Since it was amended in the House, it will go back to the Senate for a concurrence.

* WAND

The Illinois Senate passed a monumental plan Thursday night to drastically improve maternal healthcare for Black women across the state.

This proposal would require private insurance companies to cover maternal services provided by midwives, doulas and lactation consultants.

Private insurance companies would be required to cover home births, home visits and support during labor, abortion or miscarriage as well. […]

House Bill 5142 passed out of the Senate on a partisan 40-19 vote. It now moves back to the House on concurrence due to a technical amendment.

* Tribune

Just after popping the lid off a new market, hemp beverage makers fear a proposal to ban intoxicating hemp products in Illinois would end their new business. […]

The ban, as originally proposed by state Sen. Kimberly Lightford, would put a two-year moratorium on all intoxicating hemp products, including those sold widely at vape shops and gas stations, until a committee can propose regulations. A newer version, put into an existing bill for fast approval, would allow the sale of products, but only by businesses licensed under the current state cannabis law.

Hemp business owners say that would cause widespread closures of businesses and put many people out of work. Instead, they are calling for restricting products to adults 21 and older, requiring testing and labeling of potency and purity, and imposing a wholesale tax of 10% plus a retail tax of 10%.

State-legal cannabis companies have pushed for the legislation, saying it’s unfair they have to follow tight restrictions while hemp businesses are unchecked.

* Labor leaders send letter of support of Enhancing Equity in Education tax credit scholarship program…

As the final days of the 2024 Spring Session of the 103rd General Assembly begin to wane, we would like to express our support for Enhancing Equity in Education, the new Illinois tax credit scholarship program. Designed to help the most impoverished in Illinois, many parents and children across our State would benefit from this program, and we urge you to act now.

As Labor Unions representing workers across Illinois, we know all too well the importance of a quality education. Electricians, laborers, carpenters, operating engineers, bricklayers, plumbers, and all other skilled tradespeople in the private and public sectors must have a quality education to be successful in their careers. We are fortunate to live in a state that not only provides quality public school options for parents to choose from but also provides options for low-income parents who desire other educational alternatives - including private and parochial schools.

The Enhancing Equity in Education program would not only offer children from low-income families traditional educational options for their individual needs but would also include opportunities for those who may want to attend an approved technical academy to provide coursework and training in career and technical education.

On behalf of those families who would benefit from this new scholarship program, we urge you to support the Enhancing Equity in Education tax credit scholarship program, so those families in need have an opportunity to receive a scholarship to thrive in a school of their choice.

Click here to view the letter.

* Tribune

Chicago Public Schools moved a step closer to finalizing a new school safety policy Thursday, following a Board of Education vote in February to remove uniformed Chicago Police Department officers from all district schools as of the end of the school year.

The board approved a new “Whole School Safety Framework” presented by the district Thursday. But a state bill that could supersede the district’s plans may also be voted on this week. Sponsored by Rep. Mary Gill, D-Chicago, HB5008 would allow high school Local School Councils to contract directly with CPD to employ school resource officers, known as SROs, through February 2027. […]

Proponents have argued that LSCs should continue to vote on whether to keep SROs, given that different schools have different needs.

Lynn Morton of Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI), one of four community-based nonprofits which have partnered with CPS to reshape its safety policies, recognized that removing SROs makes some community members nervous.

* HB5008 passed out of committee and heads to the House floor on Second Reading.

* Press release…

The following is a statement from the coalition of supporters for The Small Business Financing Transparency Act (SB2234 - Belt/Tarver) disputing misinformation from opponents of the bill:

“Unfortunately, high-priced lenders (a.k.a. ‘financing companies’) that oppose the Small Business Financing Transparency Act are circulating misinformation about the supposed impossibility of disclosing an APR for revenue-based financing (a.k.a. ’sales-based financing’).

“APR is simply the price of a loan expressed as an annualized percentage, i.e., the yearly cost of the loan. Lenders obviously know the price of their own products.

“Disclosing an estimated APR based on future revenue is not a new concept. Federal regulations pertaining to consumer loans account for the need to estimate APR under certain circumstances. For example, in income share agreements and refund anticipation loans, the lender knows how much it expects to earn on the loan and calculates the APR based on its expectations of the amount and the timing of the payments.

“A more plausible reason for not disclosing APR is because the opponents don’t want their borrowers to know when they are being charged in excess of 100% APR.

“Not only has this subject already been thoroughly reviewed in the Senate, where it passed 36-19, but it’s already law in California and New York. Furthermore, when merchant cash advance lenders sued after California passed its legislation, a federal judge upheld California’s small-business lending disclosures. The lawsuit was not even based on the Illinois oppositions’ current misinformation, which would have been quickly dismissed; instead, the lenders tried to make a first amendment argument that disclosing the APR would violate their right to freedom of speech. The judge in California shut down this argument by ruling that an Estimated APR disclosure is ‘purely factual, noncontroversial, and significantly related to a government interest.’

“In 2021, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’s Economic Access Pillar significantly elevated Illinois’s standing for consumer financial protection. The Small Business Financing Transparency Act is the natural extension of that work considering that businesses in Black, Brown, and lower income communities are disproportionately driven to the ‘nonbank’ lenders that the bill would cover. Empowering entrepreneurs to make informed decisions about their businesses is good for small business, and thus, good for our state’s economy.”

       

2 Comments
  1. - JS Mill - Friday, May 24, 24 @ 11:06 am:

    I have not followed the CPS SRO issue particularly closely so I may be wrong in my assumptions. But they make the point of stating “uniformed police” specifically. Does that mean they will allow plain clothes? I think removing SRO’s and police from al CPS schools across the board will make some schools (probably high schools) less safe.


  2. - Dotnonymous x - Friday, May 24, 24 @ 4:39 pm:

    70% of the voting public (across the political spectrum) wants cannabis to be federally legal.


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