News & Updates from Rep Hays
January 6, 2015In This Issue:
- Special Session Called
- New Laws
- Ring in the New Year
Special Session Called
After the untimely death of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka on December 10th, questions arose about the proper course in which that vacancy should be filled. In the end, the legal consensus was that there were two vacancies, one to be filled now for Comptroller Topinka’s current term of service and one to be filled on January 12th for her upcoming term of service.
Current Governor Pat Quinn appointed longtime aide Jerry Stermer as temporary Comptroller on Friday, December 19 to serve the remaining days of Topinka’s first term. Stermer will voluntarily step down as Comptroller on January 12, 2015. Incoming Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner will then appoint someone to fill the full four year term.
Unfortunately, that is not the end of the story as it should be. Instead, some advocate creating a special election to add the office of Comptroller, on a one-time-only basis, to the presidential ballot that Illinoisans will vote on in November 2016. Retiring Gov. Quinn has called a special session of the General Assembly to consider legislative measures to provide for an off-term election for the office of State Comptroller. The General Assembly has been directed to meet in Springfield on Thursday, January 8.
The Constitution of Illinois does not, however, currently provide for an off-term special election. Section 2 of Article V of the Constitution provides explicitly that the Comptroller and the other statewide elected officials shall be elected at the general election in 1978 and every four years thereafter. Section 3 of the Constitution’s transition schedule, approved by the voters in that year, moved the election dates for statewide elected officials, including the Comptroller, from presidential election years to midterm election years. The change became effective in 1976-1978 and was the only time in the history of the current Constitution that statewide officials have been elected to a two-year term.
Although the retiring Governor has called upon Illinois lawmakers to assemble to pass a legislative bill to enact a special election, constitutional language and precedent does not allow them to do what he is requesting. The Constitution directs incoming Gov. Bruce Rauner to appoint a new Comptroller to serve a four-year term ending in January 2019, and Rauner is preparing to fulfill his constitutional responsibilities.
At minimum, any proposed legislation needs to be the permanent law, and not just a one-time dynamic that is purely partisan in nature.
The following are some of the key laws that took effect on January 1st, 2015. For a full list of new laws please visit my website:
• PA 98-0650 (SB 3411) Ban Police Ticket Quotas
The law prohibits county, municipal, conservation, and state police agencies from implementing ticket quotas. Officers may still be evaluated on “points of contact,” including the number of traffic stops completed, arrests, written warnings and crime prevention measures. Initiative enacted to refocus law enforcement on public safety instead of revenue generation.
• PA 98-0698 (SB 3433) Boating Safety Certificates
Provides that no one born on or after January 1, 1998 shall operate a motorboat with more than 10 horse power without securing a valid Boating Safety Certificate by the Department of Natural Resources or another approved agency.
• PA 98-0746 (HB 5895) Nighttime BiOptic driving permits
Allows persons using non-traditional visual aid instruments, such as BiOptics, to apply for a special, restricted driver’s training permit. Currently, no process exists for drivers who wear bioptic lenses to practice driving prior to taking the nighttime road test. The permit would allow the applicant to drive from sunset to 10:00 p.m. for six months as long as the applicant is accompanied by a person who has a valid driver’s license with no nighttime driving restrictions. BiOptic glasses are vision enhanced lenses with extreme magnification.
• PA 98-0774 (HB 5701) ‘Ban the Box’ bill
Prohibits employers from seeking information regarding a potential employee’s criminal history until after an invitation to interview or a conditional offer of employment has been extended. Intended to allow job seekers with criminal history to be considered on their merits and experience rather than being dismissed out of hand for an offense.
• PA 98-0775 (SB 2636) Use of medical cannabis for minors
Amends the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act to add the use of medical cannabis for seizures and epilepsy including for minors under the age of 18. Allows the Illinois Department of Public Health to create rules saying minors must have parental consent and/or minors may not smoke the cannabis (instead consume cannabis infused products); IDPH is not required to create these rules, but can if they so choose.
• PA 98-0777 (HB 3130) Pension Funding Obligation
Requires the State to transfer $1 billion annually from the General Revenue Fund to the Pension Stabilization Fund beginning FY 2020 and expires FY 2057 if each retirement system is funded properly. This requirement is contractually obligated to contribute to the system each fiscal year an amount not less than the sum of the state’s required contribution. Also, all forms of retirement income that exceed $125,000 per household will be taxed at the State income tax rate of 5%.
• PA 98-0849 (SB 3406) Qualifications for licensure as a clinical psychologist
Makes changes to the qualifications for licensure as a clinical psychologist. Requires that an applicant for licensure be a graduate of a doctoral program in clinical, school, or counseling psychology either accredited by the American Psychological Association or the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System or approved by the Council for the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology or other national board (rather than accredited by the American Psychological Association or approved by the Council for the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology or other national board).
• PA 98-0870 (SB 2583) “Sign and drive” in Illinois
This new law institutes “sign and drive” in Illinois by prohibiting the confiscation of a motorist’s driver’s license as bail when stopped and cited for a minor (no jail time) traffic offense. Since 9/11, the need for appropriate, state-issued photo identification has become a necessity in order to travel, obtain health-care, renting vehicles, etc. The driver’s license is still the standard, accepted form of photo identification.
• PA 98-0977 (SB 3506) Emergency Medical Treatment
In a provision that sets forth the General Assembly’s findings, removes a finding that the use of the term “urgent” in a facility’s posted or advertised name may confuse the public regarding the types of services offered by that facility relative to the services offered by a hospital emergency department. In a provision that prohibits the use of certain terms that give the impression that emergency care is provided by a person, entity, or facility, the Act provides that a person, facility, or entity is not prohibited from holding itself to the public as an “urgi-“ or “urgent” care center.
• PA 98-1050 (HB 8) Workplace Pregnancy Accommodations
Provides that it is a civil rights violation for employers: to not to make reasonable accommodations for employees with conditions commonly related to childbirth or pregnancy; to require a job applicant or employee to accept accommodations; to require an employee to take leave for a medical condition related to childbirth or pregnancy; or to retaliate against a person who has requested, attempted to request, used, or attempted to use a reasonable accommodation.
• PA 98-1089 (SB 352) Internet sales tax collection
Will allow the State to use an Internet “click-through” relationship as a way to demand that the Internet retailer collect and remit sales taxes to the State of Illinois.
Ring in the New Year
For all the fiscal problems Illinois has faced in the last few years, the New Year brings with it the dawning of a new day in Illinois. Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner is about to bring some much needed change to Springfield and I am looking forward to see what the New Year and Governor-Elect Rauner have in store for Illinois. A safe and blessed New Year to you all.
State Rep Chad Hays