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

March 29, 2019

Whew! What a long week of action at the State Capitol. In fact, on Wednesday alone, the House Committees began at 8:00 a.m. and ran till nearly 8:00 p.m. This report summarizes key activity this week.

RENT CONTROL MEASURE FAILS IN HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE

After three years of anticipation and intense lobbying by both proponents and opponents of rent control, House Bill 255 (Guzzardi), which sought to repeal the state’s Rent Control Preemption Act was finally called for the first vote on the issue this week. We are pleased to report that the measure FAILED in the House Commercial Law Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Civil Law Committee on a roll call of 2-4-1. Representatives Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (D) and Daniel Didech (D) voted YES; Representatives Rita Mayfield (D), Curtis Tarver, II (D), Deanna Mazzochi (R) and Margo McDermed (R) voted NO and Chairman Andre Thapedi (D) voted PRESENT.

As you know, this issue has been the subject of intense discussion, research, lobbying, grassroots and public outreach. THANK YOU TO THE OVER 10,000 ILLINOIS REALTORS® who responded to our Call-For-Action on this issue. This is merely the first skirmish in what may be a long battle.

Meanwhile, Senator Mattie Hunter is holding a “stakeholders meeting” today in Chicago that the REALTORS® are participating in to discuss housing availability and affordability issues in a broader context. Stay tuned and we will keep you posted

REAL ESTATE LICENSE LAW REWRITE ADVANCES

 

On Wednesday evening, the House Labor and Commerce adopted an amendment and then unanimously approved House Bill 2705 (Rita). This bill, as amended, contains the Illinois REALTORS® draft language for the rewrite of the Real Estate License Act. We plan on meeting with the new leadership of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to negotiate further on the specifics of the legislation.


 

REAL ESTATE APPRAISAL ACT LEGISLATION

 

House Bill 2961 (Rita) which was also advanced out of the House Labor and Commerce Committee on Wednesday amends the Real Estate License Act provisions regarding broker price opinions (BPO) and comparative market analyses (CMA). This measure, an initiative of the appraiser lobby, is a technical change of the current provisions of the Act regarding BPO/CMA. The Illinois REALTORS® is NEUTRAL.

COOK COUNTY ASSESSOR NEW DATA REPORTING REQUIREMENTS OPPOSED

A large coalition, including the Illinois REALTORS® continue to OPPOSE duplicate proposals pending in the General Assembly this spring session. Senate Bill 1379 (Hutchison) and House Bill 2217 (Davis) are initiatives of the Cook County Assessor to establish vague and onerous reporting requirements on many business properties, including multi-family buildings, in Cook County with significant penalties. While Cook is automatically authorized to adopt these new provisions, other counties could opt-in. Other groups in opposition: the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois, BOMA/Chicago, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, the International Council of Shopping Centers, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, the Illinois CPA Society and the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association. SB 1379 is pending final action on the Senate floor while HB 2217 remains in the House Revenue and Finance Committee. This is a major piece of legislation which will continue to be on our radar this spring session.

RETAINAGE PROVISIONS IN COMMERCIAL CONTRACTS

Senate Bill 1636 (Mulroe) a repeat of legislation that was approved in the General Assembly in 2018 but VETOED by Governor Rauner, was approved in the Senate on Wednesday on a roll call vote of 37-11-2. SB 1636 establishes certain parameters for the terms of “retainage” provisions in a contract between a commercial real estate developer and businesses that contract to do work for the developer. The bill limits the retainage provision in commercial construction contracts to 10% and requires the retainage amount to be reduced to 5% once 50% of the work is completed. The Illinois REALTORS® OPPOSES this bill. Representative Luis Arroyo will sponsor the bill in the House. Representative Arroyo also introduced an identical bill, House Bill 2916, which was not called.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONSOLIDATION

 

On Wednesday, the Senate approved Senate Bill 90 (McConchie) this week on a roll call vote of 37-9-0. This bill provides 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 has been sent to the House for their consideration. The bill will be sponsored in the House by Representative David McSweeney.


 

On Thursday, the House unanimously approved House Bill 3369 (Weber). This bill provides that the board of trustees of the of the Village of Lindenhurst may, by ordinance, terminate the terms of all members of the board of trustees of the Lindenhurst Sanitary District and the powers of the Lindenhurst Sanitary District shall be exercised by the board of trustees of the Village, including the District's authority to levy and collect taxes. The bill stipulates that once there are no debts of the District OR when the Village has sufficient funds on hand or available to satisfy any debts of the District, the board of trustees of the Village may dissolve the Lindenhurst Sanitary District and acquire all of the District's assets and responsibilities. The dissolution must be done by passage of an ordinance.


 

Also on Thursday, the House Counties and Townships Committee adopted an amendment filed by Representative Sam Yingling to House Bill 348 (McSweeney). The amendment further clarifies provisions of the bill, dealing with the dissolution of a single township in McHenry County by a referendum vote and to also establish the procedure for abolishing a township road district in Lake or McHenry County if the roads of the district are less than 15 centerline miles in length. Among the issues addressed in the new language is the distribution of motor fuel tax moneys from the dissolved township, requirements for the petition, posting of notice of the petition on the county’s website in addition to publication, clarification of the question on the ballot, what area would utilize the transferred park land, cemetery land, buildings and facilities, administration of the dissolved township’s general assistance program and its cemeteries, clarification that the taxpayers within the dissolved township are responsible for any liabilities transferred and a section that makes it clear that on the date of dissolution elected and appointed township officers and commissioners no longer hold office and are no longer compensated. The Illinois REALTORS® has consistently SUPPORTED this and other legislative efforts to eliminate or consolidate the staggering number of property tax funded units of government in Illinois.


 

BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY LEGISLATION

 

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Civil Law Committee adopted an amendment to House Bill 2540 (Harper) and advanced the bill to the House floor. The amendment removed many of the provisions of the original bill. The amendment totally removed provisions concerning the creation and regulation of personal information protection companies and removed reference to the recommendation of legislation for the recording of land records and limited this to public records. The amendment also limited the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation study to a blockchain banking study (removed insurance). On Friday, the House approved House Bill 3575 (Wheeler) on a roll call vote of 92-2-2. 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. This bill has been sent to the Senate for their consideration. The Illinois REALTORS® is NEUTRAL on both bills.

QUALIFICATIONS/SELECTION OF ASSESSORS

On Thursday, the House Revenue and Finance Committee approved House Bill 2243 (Marron) which makes various changes concerning certifications required for township and multi-township assessors and supervisors of assessments. This was an initiative of the County Assessment Officers Association and was also supported by the Illinois Department of Revenue. NO ACTION occurred this week on the objectionable amendment that was introduced in the Senate to Senate Bill 683 (Morrison, J.). The legislation sought to prohibit a person from serving as a township or multi-township assessor “if that person OR a member of that person’s immediate family is engaged in business as a real estate agent or broker in the territory over which the township or multi-township assessor has jurisdiction”. The language defines “immediate family” as the person’s parent, child, spouse or sibling. This proposal is OPPOSED by the Illinois REALTORS® and the County Assessment Officers Association. On Friday, the House approved House Bill 3597 (Yingling) on a roll call vote of 94-0-1. This bill provides that the office of supervisor of assessments in Lake County will become an elected position beginning with the general election held in 2020.

SENIOR CITIZENS HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION- REAPPLICATION

Senate Bill 1257 (Cunningham) was unanimously approved in the Senate on Thursday. SB 1257 amends the Property Tax Code to permit all counties beginning with the 2019 taxable year to provide that if a person has been granted a senior citizens homestead exemption, the person qualifying need not reapply for the exemption. Cook County currently REQUIRES annual reapplication. The bill also requires Cook County to establish a policy and practice for the regular exchange of information for the purpose of alerting the assessor whenever the transfer of ownership of any property receiving a senior exemption has occurred. The assessor must cancel the exemption and mail a notice to the new property owner that the exemption has been cancelled along with information pertaining to the rules for reapplying for the exemption if the new owner qualifies for this exemption. The Illinois REALTORS® is NEUTRAL.

TAX INCREMENT FINANCE (TIF) DISTRICTS

On Friday the House approved House Bill 2931 (Davis), which would extend the life of the TIF district in the Village of Phoenix (located in Cook County).The bill, approved on a roll call vote of 91-7-0, has been sent to the Senate for their consideration. The Illinois REALTORS® is NEUTRAL.

TITLE INSURANCE LEGISLATION

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee adopted an amendment and advanced Senate Bill 1317 (Harmon) to the full Senate. This bill amends the Title Insurance Act to make substantial changes to the regulation of the industry, including the establishment of a “filed rate” system, as well as changing the law to require that title agents be individually licensed rather than being registered through the title insurance underwriter for which they are an agent. This is certainly significant legislation and Illinois REALTORS® has several concerns and questions about the proposal. This will be the subject of ongoing discussions and negotiations before the legislation advances any further.

SERVICE ANIMALS- ACCOMMODATIONS

House Bill 3671 (Thapedi) was approved in the House Judiciary Civil Law Committee on Wednesday. The bill creates the Assistance and Service Animal Integrity Act to provide that a landlord who receives a request from a person to make an exception to the landlord's policy prohibiting animals on the landlord's property because the person requires the use of an assistance animal or service animal may require the person to produce reliable documentation, which may be a standardized form, of the disability and disability-related need for the animal only if the disability or disability-related need is not readily apparent or known to the landlord. The landlord may require additional supporting documentation when necessary to evaluate the reasonableness of either the requested accommodation or any identified alternative accommodation. The landlord shall not be liable for injuries caused by a person's assistance animal or service animal permitted on the landlord's property as a reasonable accommodation to assist the person with a disability. A landlord may require a tenant to cover the costs of repairs for damage the animal causes to the tenant's dwelling unit or the common areas, reasonable wear and tear excepted; however, a landlord may not require a tenant to pay a pet-related deposit that is otherwise required for tenants who are not requesting accommodation.

This proposal has been discussed several times over the past few years, and Illinois REALTORS® provided early input in shaping the concept to ensure that it was consistent with federal laws and regulations and other issues. Illinois REALTORS® is NEUTRAL.

WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT LEGISLATION

On Wednesday, nearly identical bills were approved in the General Assembly regarding the operation of the North Shore Water Reclamation District. House Bill 2862 (Mayfield) was approved in the House on Wednesday on a roll call vote of 61-47-1 and Senate Bill 2136 (Links) was unanimously approved in the Senate. The bill makes various changes including the clarification that connection fees owed are also a lien against the real estate. Current law provides that any user charge, industrial waste surcharge or industrial cost recovery charges are liens. The House bill had one provision removed that remains in the Senate bill regarding allowing the District to immediately acquire the necessary right-of-way and authority to work within or adjacent to a public highway right-of-way or easement, public or privater utility property or easement, railroad right -pf-way, or other public property or easement. Both bills have been sent to the opposite chamber. On Thursday, the House Executive Committee approved an amendment to House Bill 2624 (Arroyo), and this bill is now pending in the House. HB 2624 modifies how the Commissioners are to be elected to the Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. The bill provides that the General Assembly on or before July 1, 2021 will divide the District into 9 commissioner districts and assign the commissioner districts to reflect the most recent federal decennial census. The Illinois REALTORS® is NEUTRAL.

EQUITABLE ENERGY FINANCING ACT

Senate Bill 2123 (Peters) was approved in the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee this week. The bill creates the Equitable Energy Financing Act to require the Illinois Commerce Commission to establish a program for all electric utilities in the State which would permit their customers to finance the construction of energy projects payable on the customer’s utility bill. All electric utilities are required to participate in the Program. The Program is intended to provide customers with financial savings if they choose to participate. Property owners and renters that have a long-term lease for which they subscribe to utility service are eligible. The Program is to ensure: 1) eligible projects do not require up-front payments; 2) eligible projects have an estimated life cycle savings that exceeds the cost of the project; 3) participants will finance the projects by paying for the project through an optional tariff directly through the participant’s electricity bill, allowing participants to invest in energy projects without traditional loans; 4) accessibility by lower income residents and environmental justice community residents; and 5) administration is in coordination with the existing energy efficiency on-bill financing program established in the Public Utilities Act to maximize access and financial savings by residents. The bill also specifies that eligible projects shall NOT create personal debt for the customer, result in a lien on the property in the event of nonpayment or require a customer to pay for defective energy projects. The Illinois REALTORS® will continue to monitor this legislation.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY SCHEDULE FOR NEXT WEEK

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