With the General Assembly having wrapped up its spring session at the end of May, legislation is now being moved to the Governor’s desk for his signature or veto. The Legislature has 30 days after a bill passes to send it to the Governor and the Governor then has 60 additional days to either sign or veto the bill.
For more information about these and other action, go to the Senate Action Page on the Senate Republican Web site.
Poker Runs (SB 3312/PA 98-0644): Addresses a problem with “poker runs,” which are typically charity events in which participants travel from one location to another collecting cards, with the winner being the person who, at the end of the day, has the best hand. The events are particularly popular with motorcycle enthusiasts. Typically, the winnings are either split with or donated to a particular charity.
A problem arose because the events were being regulated under the Charitable Games Act, forcing up the costs of compliance and making them impractical for the small fundraisers they typically represent. The measure moves “poker runs” from the Charitable Games Act, which is regulated by the state, and into the Raffles Act, which is regulated by counties.
It also authorizes a system for licensing poker runs at one “key location” so that the license covers the entire poker run. The license may not exceed $25.
Cosmetic Beads(SB 2727/PA 98-0638): Establishes a ban in Illinois on “microbeads” which are small plastic beads often used in cosmetic products like exfoliating face washes. Concerns have been raised that these beads are getting into the water supply and releasing toxic chemicals like PCBs which are consumed by wildlife, and then in turn consumed by humans. Over-the-counter drugs containing microbeads will not be sold in Illinois after December 31, 2019.
Cupcake Girl (HB 5354/PA 98-0643): Seeks to correct a situation that occurred in January 2014 when the Madison County Health Department shut down 11-year-old Chloe Stirling’s cupcake business. She primarily sold her products to friends and occasionally at fundraisers. This legislation is an attempt to loosen the regulatory burden on small, home-based food-preparation operations.
Senate amendments pushed by the Quinn Administration would have significantly increased regulation, effectively reversing the original intent of the legislation. However, those amendments sent the bill to a resounding defeat on a first attempt, forcing the Senate sponsor to allow a vote on the bill in the form it passed the House.
Although Governor Quinn signed the measure at Chloe’s home, he did not acknowledge his agency’s efforts to pile on additional regulations.
Chicago Pension Changes (SB 1922/PA 98-0641): Requires the state to enforce the City of Chicago’s higher pension payments to the Chicago Municipal Employees and Laborers’ pension funds.
The City’s revenue-sharing payments from the state would be garnished if the full pension payment is not raised. Also reduces the cost-of-living adjustment on benefits of current retirees and current employees, and raises employees’ contributions.
Chicago Cell Phone Tax (HB2453/PA 98-0634): Allows Chicago to increase fees on telephone land lines, cell phones, and pre-paid phones by up to 56%.
The Chicago telephone tax hikes are seen as a way to partially offset planned increases in city property taxes associated with the Chicago pension changes (SB 1922/PA 98-0641).
Gives Chicago the authority to increase fees: for landlines from $2.50 to a maximum of $3.90; for cell phones from $0.73 to a maximum of $3.90; and for pre-purchased fees (phone cards) up to 9% (currently 7%).