Chamber Advocacy Updates
One of The Chamber’s four core functions is our role as the leading voice OF and FOR business, as THE organization that will promote and influence pro-business, pro-growth policies and procedures while opposing those that are not.
We track local, state, and federal legislation and inform members of how it may impact their business and our community. We inform and guide them when action is needed, and provide the necessary information and most effective ways to take such action.
2018 Chamber Advocacy Updates
November 29, 2018 - The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce recently submitted a letter of support to the Department of Labor regarding its expansion of 401(k) retirement plans. It also informed its members of new expense reimbursement requirements for Illinois employers:
Department of Labor considering expansion of 401(k) retirement plans
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is proposing a regulatory fix that would allow more employers to share a single 401(k) type retirement plan. Allowing for association retirement plans (ARPs) and other multiple-employer plans (MEPs) like those sponsored by professional employer organizations (PEOs) will be beneficial for businesses, especially small businesses, and future retirees.
For further details, CLICK HERE to view the article reported on by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
New Expense Reimbursement Requirements for Illinois Employers
In August of this year, Illinois amended the Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA) to include new expense reimbursement requirements for Illinois employers beginning January 1, 2019.
The amendment does not apply to an employer that has “an established written expense reimbursement policy” when an employee fails to comply with the written expense reimbursement policy. Additionally, an employer that maintains a written expense reimbursement policy that contains specifications or guidelines for necessary expenditures is not liable for expenses that exceed those expenditure amounts “so long as the employer does not institute a policy that provides for no reimbursement or de minimis reimbursement.”
Therefore, employers may wish to review their expense reimbursement policies in advance of the law’s January 1, 2019 effective date. For further details, CLICK HERE to view details in an article by Ogletree Deakins.
September 20, 2018 - The Board of Directors of The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce recently voted to support the proposed one percent Countywide Sales Tax Referendum. We believe the need for safe, secure, 21st century school facilities throughout Springfield and Sangamon County are critical to the future of our community and this referendum is our most attractive means to that end. To review and download the Board's official position click HERE.
September 18, 2018 - The Chamber informed its members that it is monitoring the three following federal legislative issues related to employee benefits:
U.S. Department of Labor Overtime Rule Changes on the Horizon
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is expected to release a proposed rule change regarding the white-collar exemptions, often referred to as the “Overtime Rule.” The proposed rule change, which is expected to be released in 2019, will focus on the appropriate salary threshold for the white-collar exemptions and the frequency for updating the salary threshold. You may recall the DOL proposed significant changes in the fall of 2015, which were ultimately blocked in 2016 by a federal district court judge in Texas. The Chamber opposed these changes on behalf of its members, and our letter submitted during the public comment period is linked below.
If the DOL releases the proposed rule change in 2019, it will again be followed by a public comment period, and a final rule would likely not be in place until 2020. We will continue to monitor all developments regarding the proposed rule change and keep you informed. If and when the public comment period is open, we will again inform you of the proposed changes and provide comments on behalf of our members that represent a business friendly, growth environment.
U.S. House considering vote on FTE definition for ACA
Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employers have wanted to change its definition of a full-time worker. The Act stipulates that employees who work 30 hours or more per week are full-time workers and must be offered ACA-compliant minimum essential health coverage. Congressional action on this part of the employer mandate is at hand, at least in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House is expected to consider a vote on H.R. 3798 in the near future. We will continue to monitor activity related to the bill.
For further details, click HERE to view article reported on by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Trump issues executive order regarding retirement accounts
On August 31, 2018, President Donald Trump signed an executive order calling on the federal government to revise regulations deemed burdensome to plan sponsors and retirement savers. “The stated goal of the executive order is to lower the cost of retirement plans so that they can become an affordable option for businesses of all sizes, so that small businesses will no longer be at a disadvantage.” The executive order asks for revised rules to ease required 401(k) plan disclosures and to help small employers partner in shared multiple-employer plans (MEPs) that would be less costly and less burdensome to administer than offering a single employer plan
For further details, click HERE to view the article reported on by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
September 13, 2018 - Hosted an Elected Officials Reception for our members to meet and interact with local, state and federal officials.
June 26, 2018 - The Chamber submitted a letter and study commissioned by The Chamber, to the City of Springfield during their public comment period regarding the Integrated Resource Plan - the plan for the future of City Water Light and Power. The letter stated, "We believe it is a critical time to take a close look at past, present, and future operations of the utility in order to chart the best course forward for CWLP, the City of Springfield, our business community, and our residents." The study raised questions and concerns about CWLP operations we believe need to be addressed. CLICK HERE to view the letter. To view the study, CLICK HERE.
May 30, 2018 - The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce informed Chamber members of Senate Bill 3052. While SB 3052 is related to “retainage” provisions in commercial and large residential real estate construction contracts, The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce believes the larger issue is one of precedent. The Chamber believes two private businesses should be able to enter into a mutually agreed upon contract that satisfies both parties without the government dictating terms of the contract. (SB 3052 passed both houses and the Governor vetoed the bill on August 24, 2018.)
May 29, 2018 - The Chamber provided an update regarding the status of The Wage Lien Act (HB4324) to membership.
April 11, 2018 - As a part of our Advocacy efforts, Chamber President and CEO Chris Hembrough represented our members and the local business community at Chamber Day, an advocacy event hosted by The Illinois Chamber of Commerce and The Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. Pro-business advocates from across the state gathered in Springfield on April 11 for legislative updates on critical issues regarding the business climate, the regulatory environment, and the state of our State. For a complete list of key bills discussed by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, including their official position on each, click on the following link, https://bit.ly/2rfpcqV.
March - January 2018 - The Chamber hosted several events with elected officials, including a Tax Reform Roundtable with Representative Rodney Davis, a Legislative Update with Representative Darin LaHood, and a Manufacturing Roundtable, hosting Governor Bruce Rauner for a presentation and a question and answer session.
March 28, 2018 - The Chamber joined The Illinois Chamber of Commerce for a press conference sharing the recent TRIP Transportation report findings, including the need for a clear plan to address our deteriorating infrastructure, specifically our roads and bridges. The Report can be found on our website at http://www.gscc.org/TRIPreport.
March 5, 2018 - The Chamber shared our support of the Fair Maps Amendment (HJRCA0043) and supported the ongoing effort to turn the process over to an independent non-partisan panel.
March 5, 2018 - The Chamber provided members with summary information, as well as contact information, encouraging members to contact representatives opposing The Wage Lien Act (HB4324).
March 2, 2018 - The Chamber submitted a letter to the Mayor and Aldermen on behalf of our members and board of directors opposing the proposed new natural gas tax which was defeated by the Springfield City Council, 9-0, on March 6, 2018.
January 17, 2018 - The Chamber informed its members, particularly restaurant owners and operators, of the reported (by the SJ-R) potential for a City dine-in Tax. The Chamber encouraged members to attend the City’s first budget workshop on January 18 to stay informed and be involved in the process. Many attended the workshop during which Alderman Chuck Redpath acknowledged their presence and then assured them the reported potential dine-in tax would not happen.
December 2017 – January 2018 - The Chamber worked with the private sector development community including the Capital Area REALTORS, the Springfield Area Home Builders Association, engineers and developers, to request amendments to the City of Springfield’s new Comprehensive Plan. The Chamber Development Policy Council (DPC) was concerned parts of the plan could be used by future administrations to prohibit development, and by growing voices opposed to development and capital investment. After sharing our concerns with the Mayor and Aldermen, the adoption of the plan was delayed in order to work on the appropriate amendments. The DPC worked with City staff and the Springfield/Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission, crafting the amendments and the new Comprehensive Plan was approved by the Springfield City Council on January 16, 2018.
December 2017 - The Chamber Board adopted its 2018 Policy Agenda which can be found on our website at gscc.org/pages/advocacy.