“Dear Bill” Letters
Bill Ward, Executive Vice President, HBAI
Governor Pritzker has been busy this summer signing legislation into laws that sometimes get the attention of our members. HBAI staff and the HBAI Government Affairs Committee do everything they can to bag bad bills before they become law, but nobody bats a 1000 in this ballgame.
And that’s why I get what I call “Dear Bill” letters from some of you. Here are a few issues I’ve heard about from this summer that should be shared so that we all understand the contents of the laws and the possible affects they could have on your business.
Dear Bill: I heard Illinois passed a law requiring me to have a minority on my corporate board, is this true?
No, but I can understand why you would ask that. HB3394 sponsored by Rep. Chris Welch (D-Hillside) passed in the Spring Session and has been signed by the Governor. The law that will take effect January 1, 2020 (P.A. 101-0589) requires corporations headquartered in Illinois that are traded on a major stock exchange to file public disclosures about the racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of their boards of directors. The bill originally had stronger language requiring every corporation in Illinois to have at least one African American and one woman on its board of directors.
Dear Bill: The Governor signed a bill requiring employers to provide employees a mandated retirement plan. When did this happen?
Legislation signed by Governor Pat Quinn in 2015 launched the “Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Act (Secure Choice). Secure Choice offers Illinois businesses with at least 25 employees (effective November 1, 2019) that have been in business for two or more years, and who do not currently provide a qualified savings plan the option to either offer a private market savings vehicle, or automatically enroll their employees into Secure Choice.
Participants (employees) will be enrolled in a default target date Roth IRA with a default 5% payroll deduction but could choose to change their contribution level or fund option at any time or choose to opt-out of the program altogether. Accounts are owned by individual participants and will be portable from job-to-job.
Most important to our members is this: the law does not require employer matching funds.
The reason you are hearing about this now is due to the rollout of the program. Secure Choice implementation was divided into 3 waves:
- May 2018: Pilot Phase
- November 2018, Wave 1: Employers with 500+ employees
- July 2019, Wave 2: Employers with 100-499 employees
- November 2019, Wave 3: Employers 25-99 employees.
State Treasurer Mike Frerichs runs the program and has a pretty good website at www.ILSecureChoice.com that can answer a lot of questions about setting up payroll deductions, taxes, etc… And it never hurts to talk to your accountant about matters like these.
Dear Bill: I heard Illinois adopted Green Building Standards to reduce greenhouse emissions. Did we oppose this?
There have been two major bills in the past 5 years that addresses greenhouse gases. HBAI opposed both but managed to defeat just one.
In 2015, the Architects and the Laborers’ Union teamed up with environmental groups to attempt to pass legislation that would have added Green Construction Standards to the Energy Efficient Building Act. The Home Builders teamed up with the Plumbers & Pipefitters and the Realtors to keep the bill from even being heard in the House Labor Committee.
In 2019, on partisan roll calls in the House & Senate, the Illinois General Assembly repealed a law passed in Illinois in 1998, the Kyoto Protocol Act. It prohibited the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Pollution Control Board from proposing any new agency rules for addressing the adverse effects of climate change. HB3481 which is now P.A. 101-073, will now allow these two agencies to propose administrative rules that address climate change.
Nothing has changed…yet. This repeal just took down a wall that kept these two state agencies from addressing greenhouse emissions without full legislative approval. But now we will be on the lookout for proposed administrative rules that could bring forth a new wave of construction regulations that will not be found in any of our neighboring states.
This issue will now be fought at the same level that we fought the State Fire Marshal’s Fire Sprinkler Mandate through administrative rule. The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) will review these regulations and can turn them down with an extraordinary No Vote of 4-8 or better. The fire sprinkler rule was never voted on, but our head count was at 0-12 when the Fire Marshal pulled his rule from consideration at JCAR. Only time will tell how we fare on climate change issues.
Residential development is responsible 11% of our nation’s greenhouse emissions. And of that, 70% of that is from natural gas emissions. Going forward, we shall see how our industry and our state agencies work together in correctly targeting those emissions in a fair and equitable manner.
Feel free to contact me at email@example.com or at (217) 753-3963 if you wish to know more about any of the above issues.