Get a recap of legislative action from the Illinois General Assembly of interest to Illinois REALTORS
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Illinois Realtors

March 22, 2019

Both chambers were in session this week with committee and floor action as the first critical deadline dates approach. The Senate deadline for all Senate bills to be heard in Senate committee was today, March 22nd and the House has a deadline for all House bills to be heard in House committees on Friday, March 29th.

POSSIBLE RENT CONTROL SHOWDOWN NEXT WEEK

With the House committee hearing deadline slated for next Friday, March 29th, action appears imminent on the rent control proposals that remain in the House Judiciary-Civil Law Committee. A hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday morning at 8:30. Stay tuned…and if you have not yet responded to our Call For Action please do so today!

LOCAL GOVERNMENT RESIDENTIAL INSPECTION LIMITATION ACT ADVANCES

On Thursday, REALTOR® Representative Sam Yingling presented House Bill 2206 (Yingling) before the House Counties and Townships Committee. This measure STRONGLY SUPPORTED by the Illinois REALTORS® codifies what the U.S. Supreme Court has said is the fundamental right of owners and occupants of housing under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; that a unit of local government may not conduct a physical inspection of residential property without the voluntary consent of the owner or occupant of the property, a lawful warrant or a court order. Illinois REALTORS® legal counsel Jeff Baker testified in support of the legislation and noted that this legislation does not prohibit inspection ordinances or other local laws that include the right of the local government to inspect private property, but sets out in state statute the constitutional requirement that any inspection ordinance must include a prerequisite of a lawful warrant, court order, or the voluntary consent of the owner or occupant of the property. The bill specifically exempts inspections for fire, medical or police emergencies or inspections by the State Fire Marshal permitted under the Fire Investigation Act from this requirement. Local inspection ordinances have increased in popularity in recent years and efforts to be sure that these local ordinances include the restrictions and protections mandated by the U.S. Constitution have had limited success. Local governments have tied inspection or registration ordinances (which include inspection provisions) to sale transactions, change of tenants, landlord or rental unit registrations, vacant property registration and more. The lure of increased revenue has clouded any more legitimate purpose local regulation might serve, like maintaining suitable housing stock or insuring code compliance. The bill was UNANIMOUSLY approved in the Committee and is pending on the House floor. House Republican Leaders Dan Brady and Keith Wheeler are also co-sponsor of this important legislation.

RENTAL HOUSING SUPPORT FEE INCREASE FAILS

 

The Senate Local Government Committee declined to advance Senate Bill 2092 (Aquino) which would have increased the recording fee surcharge for each real estate related document from a $9 flat fee to an $18 flat fee. The proceeds of the existing and proposed increased surcharge are earmarked for the Rental Housing Support Program. Illinois REALTORS® is aware that additional resources for rental housing is a need in some areas of Illinois, but the lack of specificity in this bill regarding where and for what purpose these funds would be spent led to our OPPPOSITION to the bill. The Association representing county recorders was also opposed. Under the rules of the Senate, the sponsor, who we’ve had discussion with, could call the bill for another vote in the Committee.

BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY LEGISLATION

 

House Bill 3575 (Wheeler) was advanced out of the House Cybersecurity, Data Analytics & IT Committee this week. The bill creates the Blockchain Technology Act and provides for the permitted uses of blockchain technology in transactions and proceedings. The bill also provides limitations to the use of blockchain technology and prohibits units of local government from implementing specified restrictions on the use of blockchain technology The House Commercial Law Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Civil Law Committee approved House Bill 2540 (Harper) which creates the Blockchain Business Development Act. This bill provides for the creation and regulation of personal information protection companies and provides for the creation and regulation of blockchain-based limited liability companies as businesses that utilize blockchain technology for a material portion of their business activities. The bill provides for a public record blockchain study and report, provides for a blockchain insurance and banking study and report. The Illinois REALTORS® is NEUTRAL.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONSOLIDATION

 

Last week we reported on the passage of House Bill 2525 (Demmer) from the House Counties and Townships Committee dealing with the abolishment of townships within a coterminous municipality. Another bill, House Bill 3646 (Didech), was approved in the House Counties and Townships Committee this week. The bill provides that a referendum be held for the voters of each township that is coterminous, or substantially coterminous, with a municipality on the November 2020 general election ballot to dissolve the township and transfer all the rights, powers, duties, assets, property, liabilities, obligations, and responsibilities to the coterminous municipality. HB 3646 also provides a similar method to dissolve a township road district that is conterminous or substantially coterminous with a township at the November 2020 election. The Senate Local Government Committee advanced an amendment to Senate Bill 90 (McConchie) to provide for the dissolution of certain drainage districts wholly or partially contained within the Lake Michigan Watershed, the Chicago/Calumet Watershed, the Des Plaines River Watershed or Fox River Watershed. Another qualifier is that one or more municipalities must account for at least 75% of a drainage district’s territory. The district may be dissolved if each municipality that has territory within that drainage district adopt an ordinance dissolving the district (provided certain criteria are met). The dissolution petition must be filed in the circuit court for a hearing and order to dissolve the district. SB 90 spells out other provisions. The Illinois REALTORS® SUPPORTS these bills.

SOUTH SUBURBAN LEGISLATION ON REDEVELOPMENT EFFORTS

The House Revenue and Finance Committee approved House Bill 43 (DeLuca) this week. The bill amends the Property Tax Code and creates tax incentives for the purchase and redevelopment of sites currently owned by the South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority and identified as "Southland Reactivation Properties". These properties are located in Bloom, Bremen, Calumet, Rich, Thornton and Worth Townships. The sponsor indicated that additional work is needed on the bill, and Illinois REALTORS® will review future amendments. The Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee advanced Senate Bill 1472 (Hastings) which amends the Brownfields Redevelopment and Intermodal Promotion Act to provide that the South Suburban Brownfields Redevelopment Zone also includes Chicago Heights, Sauk Village, Ford Heights, and Country Club Hills. The bill also provides that moneys in the South Suburban Brownfields Redevelopment Fund may also be used for environmental remediation for State surplus property in Worth, Bloom, Rich, Bremen, Thornton, or Orland Township, if and only if an economic development project has been developed and approved by the municipality and the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association. The bill stipulates that moneys in the South Suburban Brownfields Redevelopment Zone Fund shall be held to fund eligible projects through 2026 (currently, 2021). The Illinois REALTORS® is NEUTRAL on both bills.

SELECTION OF COUNTY ASSESSORS

Three bills, all sponsored by Representative Sam Yingling were approved this week related to the selection process for county assessors. House Bill 2211 provides for a referendum to be placed on the November 2020 ballot in Lake County on the question of whether the Office of the Chief Assessment Officer of Lake County should be an elected office rather than an appointed office. House Bill 3143 provides that in ALL counties (except Cook), upon referendum approval, a county can change the manner in which it selects its county assessor or county supervisor of assessments from an elected position to an appointed position OR from an appointed position to an elected position. House Bill 3597 provides that, in a county with a population of more than 500,000 that does not have an elected county board chairman or executive and has an appointed supervisor of assessments (Lake County), the office of supervisor of assessments will become an elected position beginning with the general election held in 2020. The Illinois REALTORS® in the 2018 session supported Representative Yingling’s legislation to allow the Lake County voters to decide this issue. We will continue to monitor these three differing bills as they progress this session.

PILOT PROGRAM- WILL COUNTY TOWNSHIP CLERKS

House Bill 3301 (Manley) was also approved in the House Counties and Townships Committee this week. This bill, as amended, would establish a pilot program in six Will County townships (Joliet, Troy, Lockport, DuPage, Wheatland and Plainfield townships) to abolish the office of township clerk and to transfer the duties and rights to the Will County Clerk until a deputy clerk is appointed for each of the six townships. The deputy clerks would be appointed by the Will County Clerk. The Illinois REALTORS® is NEUTRAL.

EXPANSION OF THE PROPERTY ASSESSED CLEAN ENERGY ACT

The Senate Revenue Committee advanced Senate Bill 1296 (Bush) that seeks to expand the recently enacted Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) bonding program to also include residential property this week but the sponsor has indicated that she will NOT advance the bill further due to OPPOSITION from many entities, including the Illinois REALTORS®. Senator Bush has pledged to continue to discuss our many concerns with this proposal which was an initiative of Ygrene Financing which finances energy efficiency and improvement projects. Currently, only 3 states authorize this type of financing for residential properties while over 30, including Illinois, limit the application to commercial properties.

LEAD SERVICE LINES

The Senate Environment and Conservation Committee advanced Senate Bill 1532 (Steans) this week. The stated purpose of this new Act, the Reduction of Lead Service Lines Act, is to require the owners and operators of community water supplies to create a comprehensive lead service line inventory, to provide notice to occupants of potentially affected residences and buildings of construction or repair work on water mains, lead service lines or water meters, to prohibit partial lead service line replacements and to create a lead service line replacement program. Among the provisions of the bill is the requirement for every community water supply in Illinois that has known lead service lines to create a plan, to be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency for approval by April 15, 2020 and submitted annually. Notifications to affected residences are required to be done within 13 days before planned work to repair or replace any water mains with lead or partial lead service lines or to lead service lines themselves. Every community water supply that has known lead service lines shall also create a plan to replace all lead service lines and galvanized service lines if the service line is or was connected to lead piping by 2021. A customer can refuse to have his/her lead service line replaced and if they do, the community water supply is required to keep a record of that refusal. Property owners and residents must be notified at least one month before the planned work on the private property. If the owner or resident refuses to allow access, they must sign a waiver. If the community water supply does not own the entire service line the owner or operator must notify the owner of the service line that they will replace the owner’s portion at the community water supply’s expense. The Senate Environment and Conservation Committee has scheduled another “subject matter” hearing on this bill for next Thursday, March 28th. The Illinois RALTORS® will continue to monitor this legislation.

STORMWATER UTILITY FEES FOR ALL MUNICIPALITIES

On Tuesday, the House Cities and Villages Committee approved House Bill 825, as amended (DeLuca). This bill clarifies that all municipalities may charge “reasonable compensation” for offsetting the cost of owning, maintaining and improving local storm water infrastructure (as is done for water and sewers). A similar bill in the Senate, Senate Bill 213 (Koehler), was not called in the Senate Local Government Committee. The Illinois REALTORS® is NEUTRAL.

TAX INCREMENT FINANCE (TIF) DISTRICTS

On Thursday, the House Revenue and Finance Committee approved two TIF related bills and sent them to the full House for further consideration. House Bill 2931 (Davis) would extend the life of the TIF district in the Village of Phoenix (located in Cook County).

House Bill 2209 (Yingling) would require all property tax bills to contain a list of each tax increment financing (TIF) district in which the property is located and the dollar amount of tax due that is allocable to the TIF district. While many jurisdictions provide this information, this bill makes it a statewide requirement. The Illinois REALTORS® is NEUTRAL.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY SCHEDULE FOR NEXT WEEK

Both the Senate and the House will be in session next week. The House is in Tuesday-Friday and the Senate is in Tuesday-Thursday.