Legislative News

Help Cook County Serve Voters on Election Day

The Cook County Clerk’s office is recruiting suburban Cook County voters to work as Election Judges in the March 18, 2014 Gubernatorial Primary. Election Judges provide an essential service to their community and ensure their polling place is running smoothly and voters are able to successfully cast their ballot. If you are interested in working in a suburban Cook County polling place on Election Day, visit cookcountyclerk.com to learn more and apply online. You can also call 312.603.0970 for more information. (Election Judges earn $175 for training and serving on Election Day.)







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Hereafter is the status of legislation pending in or passed by the Illinois General Assembly, and other matters which may be of interest to Chamber members.

From the Illinois Chamber of Commerce . . . .

Comptroller Topinka to Hold Legislators' Paycheck
As you may recall on July 10 Governor Pat Quinn line-item vetoed the salaries for state legislators when he signed the final appropriation bill, HB 214, as consequences for legislators not submitting a comprehensive pension reform proposal by July 9.  Comptroller Topinka questioned the constitutional nature of the action; the holding hostage of a co-equal branch of the state's government for inaction, and requested a legal review.

On Thursday, Illinois Comptroller Topinka decided she is legally obligated to withhold Illinois legislators' paychecks starting August 1until an appropriation is authorized by the Illinois General Assembly or by court order.  This decision is in addition to an advisory opinion submitted by Attorney General Lisa Madigan stating a similar finding.

The Comptroller used as the basis for her decision the court case of AFSCME vs. Netsch which ruled on a similar matter, stating that the Comptroller could not pay state employees without an appropriation.  The Comptroller also stated she believes the Governor's actions are no way to run a government and looks forward to additional guidance from the judicial branch.The next steps would be for the Illinois General Assembly to file a lawsuit or override the Governor's veto; however, neither action is popular.  A veto override may set a dangerous precedent as an override would show acknowledgement of the Governor's actions which the Democrat Leaders believe to be unconstitutional. 
In the meantime legislators are still eligible to receiving their health benefits, would be able to receive zero interest loans from Credit Union One for up to half their monthly salary until their pay is restored, but may lose their pension contribution to the General Assembly Retirement System during the period their pay is suspended.

We will keep you posted if or when a lawsuit is filed by the Illinois General Assembly challenging the Comptroller's decision or any action by the conference committee on a proposal to reform Illinois' broke public pension system.


Judge Throws Out Cook County Tax on Out-of-County Purchases; Congrats to Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

On Wednesday a circuit court judge has order Cook County to stop enforcing a tax on purchases made outside of the county.  This ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce earlier this year and we congratulate them on their efforts to defeat this jobs-killing tax.    


The controversial tax applies to tangible goods such as office supplies and furniture used inside the county, but purchased outside of the county to avoid the Cook County sales tax; one of the highest in the nation.  It was institute in 2012 and since then it has been highly criticized as unconstitutional resulting in the lawsuit filed by the Chicagoland Chamber.    


The tax imposed a heavy burden on buyers of large commodities, such as airlines or construction firms, or firms that bought expensive software.  It was implemented to close a budget gap as well as discourage county taxpayers from buying goods outside Cook County, where sales taxes are lower.


The lawsuit was based on the premise that value-based property taxes are not allowed under the Illinois Constitution unless authorized by the Illinois General Assembly.  Cook County believes that its home-rule authority grants it power to implement the tax and the county plans to appeal the judge's decision.      


The Illinois Chamber's Tax Institute, on behalf of our member companies in Cook County, also opposed the tax and watch for updates from our Tax Institute on status of any appeal filed by Cook County.  


Heads Up: Illinois State
Fire Marshal Requests Fire-Sprinklers in Residential Homes and Small Businesses

An item to keep you aware of; the Illinois State Fire Marshal is seeking to amended the Illinois Fire Code to require the installation of fire sprinklers in all newly constructed single-family and two-family homes in Illinois.  The update to the fire code, along with a number of other items, also includes provisions that may require all existing residential high rises to be retrofitted with fire sprinkler systems as well small businesses.   


It is not yet known when the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules will review the new proposed rules, however, we will keep you posted when the item appears on JCAR's agenda or of any action the Chamber considers taking on this issue as we continue to formulate our position.  





CIGARETTE TAX INCREASE (SB0044) proposes to increase cigarette taxes + 50 Mills per cigarette. Passed the Senate in April and has been lodged in the House Rules Committee since May 28th. Probably dead for the session.

TENANTS RADON PROTECTION ACT (HB5224) would require the landlord of any residential rental unit before entering into a lease to provide the tenants with records, or reports of Radon tests, if any, pertaining to the unit, which indicate a radon hazard. Landlord must give prospective tenant a disclosure form informing tenant of potential radon hazards. Tenant must provide landlord with test results within 10 days if tenant has tested unit for radon. Neither tenant nor landlord has an obligation to test for Radon. The Bill passed the House but has been in the Senate assignments committee since May 7th and appears to be dead for the session.

The link to find all of these bills is