Last week, the House was in session Wednesday and Thursday. The deadline for bill introductions in the House was Friday. Senate members spent the week in district. Senate-bill introductions concluded last Friday. The next substantive deadline is Friday, March 27, which is the deadline for bills to be passed out of standing committees.
Deadlines are for stand-alone introductions. As such, introduced bills may be amended at any time. Committee hearings for both houses will begin this week.
Here is a brief listing of some of the recent introductions.
SB 1836 creates the Healthy Workplace Act and requires employers to provide seven paid sick days to part-time and full-time employees each year they are employed.
HB 3554 provides that employees must be given notice of the shifts to be worked two weeks in advance of the scheduled shift. In addition, it establishes requirements for minimum pay for working shifts outside of scheduled shifts.
HB 3619 expands the Equal Pay Act of 2003 to include all employers rather any employer with four or more employees. It increases the maximum civil penalty for all violations to $5,000.
HB 3336 provides a sales tax exemption for building materials, machinery, and equipment used in the construction and operation of data centers. It includes an electricity excise tax exemption to help offset some of the high-power costs incurred in the operation of data centers.
SB 1863 would encourage new investment in several infrastructure areas including public buildings, transportation assets, and other public assets that are in dire need of improvements.
SB 1660 focuses on the EDGE Credit sale or transfer. The EDGE credit is a credit against the Illinois Income Tax Act awarded for a combination of investment and new job creation in Illinois. This legislation provides that a company that is unable to use the credit against its own income taxes because it has no income may sell or transfer the credit to another company.
SB 1737 amends the Illinois Income Tax Act to allow small businesses to immediately expense property that must be depreciated for federal income tax purposes.
HB 3888 addresses the sunset of the Manufacturers’ Purchase Credit by modifying the definition of manufacturing machinery and equipment to include production-related, tangible personal property used in a manufacturing operation.
Minimum wage legislation SB 11 seeks to raise the minimum wage from $8.25 to $9.00 beginning July 1 and increases it by $0.50 each July 1 until July 1, 2019, at which point the minimum wage will be $11.00. It creates a $1,500 per employee income tax credit for employers with fewer than 50 employees.
HB 166 creates the Family Leave Insurance Program Act, which requires the Illinois Department of Labor to establish and administer a Family Leave Insurance Program that provides family leave insurance benefits to eligible employees who take unpaid family leave to care for a newborn child, a newly adopted or newly placed foster child, or a family member with a serious health condition. The program is financed by a $2.50 per month fee paid by employees of employers of 50 or more employees.
HB 432 proposes employers would be required to pay overtime to any employee earning less than $69,000 per year. The weekly or monthly equivalent will increase annually by the percentage of increase in the consumer price index.
R.C. Wegman Construction Company requests Bid Proposals on behalf of the Aurora Public Library for the construction of the New Main Library. Bid Proposals will be received at the Main Branch of the Aurora Public Library 1 East Benton Street, Aurora, IL. 60505 – Lower Level. Hand delivery or mail to the attention of the Aurora Public Library by 1:00 p.m. local time on Friday February 20, 2015 for Bid Packages BP3-01. At this time, the Bid Package Proposals will be publicly read aloud. Any proposals received later than 1:00 p.m. Friday February 20, 2015 shall not be accepted. It is the responsibility of the Bidder to guarantee delivery either by mail or hand prior to the appropriate times and dates listed in this Advertisement for Bids.
Bid Proposals must be sealed in an opaque envelope with Bidder’s Name on the outside of the envelope and designated as follows:
Aurora Public Library
Attention: Aurora Public Library
New Main Library – Bid Package No. 3
Bid Category: (insert Bid Package Number and Name)
Contractor Name, Address, Phone Number
Proposals shall be based on the requirements set forth in the Bidding Documents prepared by the Construction Manager and the Architect/Engineer for the following Bid Categories:
All Bidders will be required to furnish bid security in the form of a bid bond, bank cashier’s check or cash in the amount of (10%) of the base bid amount and shall be submitted with the Bid Proposal.
REJECTION OF BIDS: The Aurora Public Library reserves (i) the right to reject any or all bids, (ii) the right to waive irregularities or informalities in bidding procedure, and (iii) the right to award any portion or award on basis of total bid. Any such decision shall be considered final.
All Bidders must comply with applicable Illinois Law regarding the payment of prevailing wages by all labors, workmen and mechanics working on public funded projects. If during the time period of work, these rates change, the Bidding Contractor shall be responsible for any associated additional costs without any change to the proposed contract amount.
The proposed contract is subject to the requirements of the Equal Employment Practices Commission and the Illinois Human Rights Act (HRA) Illinois Revised Statute, CH. 69, Par. 10102, etc.
Minority Business Enterprise Participation: Minority business firms are encouraged to submit bids for this project. The successful contract bidder(s) are encouraged to utilize minority businesses as subcontractors for supplies, equipment, services and construction.
BID DOCUMENTS: Bidding documents will be available after 1:00 p.m. on Thursday February 5, 2015. Please contact the Construction Managers R. C. Wegman Construction Company for information on obtaining Bid Documents. Phone: 630-844-3000 – Fax: 630-844-3003 – E-Mail: LisaG@rcwegman.com
Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner and Chamber President Joseph Henning will join Congressman Bill Foster for a panel discussion on Illinois’ “Payer State” problem. Business and community leaders are invited to join the discussion Friday, Feb. 6, in Aurora City Council Chambers at 44 E. Downer Place. The event begins at 1:30 p.m.
Other panelists include Illinois Deputy Treasurer Jay Rowell and Illinois Poison Center Medical Director and MCHC Physician Michael Wahl, MD.
In a typical year, $20 billion leaves Illinois because we are a “payer state.” In fact, we pay $1.36 in Federal taxes for every dollar of Federal spending returned to the state. Illinois ranks in the bottom three nationwide when it comes to return on the Federal dollar. What could Illinois do with that money?
To attend, register at foster.house.gov/payerstate.
The City of Aurora, in collaboration with other Fox River Valley communities, will be hosting Greentown Aurora-Fox River Valley on February 26 at Two Brothers Roundhouse. This event will bring together the public and private sectors to facilitate the sharing of ideas and promote the collaborative implementation of ongoing sustainability initiatives.
The conference will feature a presentation and an associated panel discussion on the state of the Fox River and breakout sessions covering a variety of topics under the headlines of Green Infrastructure, Resource Conservation, and Healthy Communities & Mobility. Topics will be presented by various planning professionals from across Kane County. To see the agenda for the conference, click here. The conference will kick off with a networking event at Two Brothers Roundhouse which will run from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. on February 25, the night before the main event.
The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Women’s Business Development Center to support economic growth and job creation among small businesses.
The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) has opened an office in Aurora to support economic growth and job creation with the ScaleUp Aurora program. The SBA recently launched ScaleUp America to support development of entrepreneurship ecosystems that assist high-potential, growth-oriented entrepreneurs, and small businesses that have revenues between $150 -750,000. The focus is on taking established businesses to the next level. Upon completion of the program participants will have the tools to grow and access to a professional support network and mentors. All services are provided at no charge.
The ScaleUp Aurora program consists of our proven entrepreneurial education curriculum for growth-oriented business owners and various types of technical assistance, including:
There are 4 requirements for a business to qualify for a cohort:
Male and female entrepreneurs are eligible to participate.
The application and program information are on our website. Applications for the next cohort which begins on March 12, 2015 are being accepted through 5:00pm, February 27.
Judith Dawson, ScaleUp Aurora Project Coordinator
Reposted from the January 28, 2015, Daily Herald:
by Susan Dibble
Joe Henning says he’s a shy guy who finds it hard to talk about himself.
But his work on behalf of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce for the past decade has made him well-known among businesses in the Fox Valley area, local elected officials and educational institutions, and chamber officials on the state and even national levels.
Henning, president and CEO of the Aurora chamber that he has led since 2005, was named the 2014 Illinois Chamber Executive of the Year late last year by his peers in the Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
“I was completely surprised. It was a great honor,” said Henning, who serves with the Aurora chamber full-time. “It’s something I love doing.”
A Kendall County native and Aurora resident since 1998, Henning didn’t seek out the chamber job. He had a background in organizational development, had worked in health care for 15 years and was employed with a nonprofit school in Elgin when he received a recruiting call.
Henning said he wasn’t ready to relocate, but might be interested if there were a position in his own backyard. “It is your backyard. It’s Aurora,” the recruiter said. Henning agreed to talk, and the rest is history.
“I absolutely love the community,” he said.
During the 10 years Henning has been with the Aurora chamber, he has led it through national accreditation twice, reached out to elected officials to push for business-friendly legislation in Springfield, and worked with employers, local high schools and Waubonsee Community College so students can be better prepared for the workforce.
In the process, he’s built collaborative partnerships with dozens of other organizations. Henning said when he started, the Aurora chamber had about a dozen partners and last year it counted 58.
One is the Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce that has about 150 members in DuPage, Kendall, Kane and Will counties.
Clifton E. Mason, executive director of the Quad County Chamber, said Henning has served as a mentor and coach. The two chambers cooperate in holding a monthly Before Hours/Business Diversity Network, holiday celebration, bimonthly Coffee Connections and Leadership Academy.
Mason said one reason the partnership works so well is that Henning doesn’t feel a need to take credit for himself.
“He’s an advocate for all businesses. He’s a collaborator,” Mason said. “He’s well-known in the community, the Fox Valley region and highly regarded.”
The Aurora Regional Chamber serves as the primary chamber for Aurora and North Aurora, but includes members from 65 communities stretching from Chicago to DeKalb County.
Its membership, which stood near 1,000 before the 2008 economic crisis, has climbed back to around 900.
Henning — who holds designations from the Institute for Organization Management, the Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives as a Chamber Accredited Executive and from The Center for Association Leadership as a Certified Association Executive — has been interested in not just recruiting members, but developing them.
He led the Aurora chamber through a monthslong process in 2007 to be accredited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Aurora Chamber was accredited again in 2012 with a five-star designation, an honor earned by only 1 percent of the chambers in the United States.
“It’s an opportunity for us to make sure we have a strong organization for our business members,” Henning said of the accreditation process.
Henning is interested in developing not only business leaders, but a strong workforce prepared to fill the positions demanded by today’s economy.
“That’s my passion — lifelong learning, workplace development,” he said.
The chamber has been an active participant in the Aurora Regional Pathways to Prosperity Project, formally launched in January 2013 to target career readiness for students. The cornerstone for the project is a 2011 report from the Harvard Graduate School of Education that challenged the overemphasis on four-year colleges as the best pathway to success.
Aurora obtained assistance and funding to form its own Pathways project with partners that include the mayor’s office, the chamber, four school districts and Waubonsee Community College.
A community assessment done in 2012 had shown that area employers needed workers with skills in health sciences, information technology and advanced manufacturing. The high schools are expected to implement those career pathways in fall 2015, and Aurora-area businesses have agreed to provide internships and student workplace opportunities.
Jill Hlavacek, curriculum director for Indian Prairie Unit District 204, said the Pathways project builds on what the district already was doing to expand career opportunities for students.
“Joe Henning has been a positive force on this (Pathways) committee,” she said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge about the Aurora business community and the skill sets that are needed by students entering the workforce. He is passionate about involving all parties in the process. He keeps our work moving forward.”
Lesa Norris, dean of workforce development for Waubonsee Community College, said Henning also has been instrumental in making area businesses aware of the workforce training opportunities and knowledge of funding resources that the college can provide to employers.
“We’re here to help employers connect the dots and the chamber helps us do that,” Norris said. “I can’t speak highly enough of the collaboration between the chamber and Waubonsee.”
Henning said the Aurora chamber also has reached out to state legislators during the past five years to create a more business-friendly economy in Illinois.
The chamber’s legislative agenda includes workers’ compensation reform, economic development, opposition to a progressive income tax, and support for new transportation and infrastructure construction programs. It opposed the minimum wage legislation as it was written in the Illinois General Assembly.
“We’re primarily looking at high school students entering the workforce,” Henning said. “We understand what fair compensation is, but we also know there’s a direct impact that we’re going to see.”
State Sen. Linda Holmes of Aurora, a Democrat elected in 2006, said chambers of commerce are better known for cultivating relationships with Republicans, but Henning has shown a willingness to work with legislators from either party.
“Joe reached out to me right away,” she said. “I’ve appreciated how he’s always worked with us no matter what side of the aisle we’re on.”
Henning said he hadn’t yet met newly installed Gov. Bruce Rauner, but had talked with his staff and knows people on the governor’s transition team.
“He’s got a lot on his plate. We’ll make sure we do everything we can do to help him turn the state around,” he said.
Henning was appointed by former Gov. Pat Quinn to the Illinois 21st Century Workforce Development Fund Advisory Committee and serves on the River Valley Workforce Investment Board. He has been named to serve a two-year term on the national board of trustees of the Institute for Organization Management, the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
With his interest in learning and professional development, Henning served as an adjunct instructor at a local community college for four years, but he said any further teaching will have to wait until he’s no longer working for the Aurora chamber.
“It really does keep me busy,” he said.
Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner said Henning’s dedication to Aurora goes far beyond serving the business community.”
“Even beyond his official capacity, Joe Henning is a resident who loves and believes in this community, Weisner said. “He regularly attends community events and volunteers countless hours to helping others in Aurora.”
When not working, Henning said he enjoys travel, reading and all Aurora has to offer with his wife. He applauds the city’s efforts to bring traffic into the downtown with the promotion of venues such as the Paramount Theatre and RiverEdge Park.
“There are so many opportunities,” he said. “There’s just so much to do.”