Gov. Rauner Takes Action on Several Bills

Gov. Rauner continues to be busy taking action on several bills. Many of which were positive defensive vetoes for the business community.

Last week, Gov. Rauner vetoed HB 2462 (Moeller/Biss) in its entirety. This bill would prohibit an employer from: (i) screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history, (ii) requiring that an applicant’s prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, and (iii) requesting or requiring as a condition of being interviewed or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment that an applicant disclose prior wages or salary. Prohibits an employer from seeking the salary, including benefits or other compensation or salary history, of a job applicant from any current or former employer. In addition, the very concerning changes being made by HB 2462 are the undermining of employer defenses along with the expansion of civil penalties, including punitive damages and injunctive relief.

The question we ask is this legislation really about limiting what employers can ask of a job applicant or is the bill all about increasing litigation opportunities and judicial awards against employers? The Illinois Chamber’s request for a veto was granted by the Governor.

Sustaining this veto may be the most difficult of bills vetoed as 25 House Republicans joined 66 Democrats to pass the measure back in April. To sustain the veto only 3 Republicans can vote with Democrats to override. In his veto message, the Governor recommended that the General Assembly consider the Massachusetts approach. The Illinois Chamber spearheaded an effort to promote the Massachusetts alternative by supporting an amendment introduced by Rep. Hammond (R-Macomb) to HB 2094 . A similar amendment was filed in the Senate by Sen. Connelly (R-Lisle).

Business owners can breathe a sigh of relief after the Governor vetoed a proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. SB 81 (Lightford/Guzzardi) would incrementally increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022 for those over 18 and to $12 per hour by 2022 for those under 18.

The legislation also creates a convoluted credit against the withholding tax liability of employers with 50 or fewer employees, calculated based on the increase in the minimum wage. The Illinois Chamber asked for a veto by the Governor. In the Senate, SB 81 received only 30 votes, 6 short of an override. Joining all Senate Republicans in voting against SB 81 were Sen. Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) and Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield). SB 81. Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) voted “present”. Senate Democrats “not voting” were Bertino-Tarrant (Shorewood), Haine (Alton), Harris (Flossmoor), and Silverstein (Chicago).

Gov. Rauner also sided with the business community by vetoing HB 2525 (Hoffman/Raoul). This bill is being promoted by the House and Senate Democrats as workers’ compensation reform. It is far from it. Codification of current bad case law for “causation” and “traveling employee” merely locks employers into the court-expanded liability. In addition, it prevents employers from being able to achieve a change in the case law from future courts. Some benefit relief is included but is far outweighed by increased regulation and litigation that are contained in the measure. The Illinois Chamber urged for a veto by the Governor. No Republicans voted for HB 2525 when it passed the House on May 31. Sixty-four Democrats supported the bill.

The Governor also stood up for the state’s technology and innovation sectors by approving HB 791 (Demmer/McConnaughay). This bill would prohibit a unit of local government from implementing an ordinance prohibiting autonomous vehicles from operating within the unit’s jurisdiction. The timing of this bill is significant, since the aldermen from the City of Chicago were working towards prohibiting autonomous vehicles from city streets. The Chamber requested the governor to sign the legislation.

Lastly, the Governor issued a veto to SB 1720 (Biss/Hernandez) at the behest of the Illinois Chamber. HB 1720 increases criminal penalties for violation of the Wage Payment & Collection Act. It also bars contractors for 5 years from bidding on any state procurement by a business violating certain Illinois employment laws, any comparable laws in other states or the federal FLSA.

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