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

May 3, 2019

ANOTHER fantastic showing of REALTORS® at the State Capitol for our annual Capitol Conference lobby day! REALTORS®, representing ALL parts of the state and every sector of the industry, came to Springfield to advocate on key issues before the General Assembly. Check out the Illinois REALTORS® website and the Illinois REALTORS® Weekly Connection for a copy of the briefing papers and highlights of the day.

This issue of State Capitol Report summarizes key legislative activity this week:

SENATE ADVANCES GRADUATED INCOME TAX PROPOSAL AND RELATED BILLS

Key action occurred this week in the Senate on the proposal to shift Illinois from a flat tax to a graduated income tax structure. It is important to note that such a change to the Illinois Constitution will not only require an extraordinary vote by both the Senate and the House but the approval of either 3/5 of those voting on the question or a majority of those voting in the election in the November 2020 general election. Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1 (Harmon/Martwick) proposes to amend the Revenue Article of the Illinois Constitution to remove the provision that provides that a tax on income shall be measured at a non-graduated rate. This measure was approved on a partisan roll call vote of 40-19-0. The Senate also approved three bills related to the change in the income tax proposal that would take effect in 2021 only IF the constitutional amendment were to be approved. The bills: Senate Bill 687 (Hutchinson/Zalewski) creates the income tax rates; Senate Bill 689 (Cullerton/Zalewski) repeals the estate tax; and Senate Bill 690 (Manar/Zalewski) provides for a property tax freeze for schools IF the State fully funds categorical grants and the evidence based school aid funding formula. All of these measures are now under consideration in the House.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONSOLIDATION

The Illinois REALTORS® has a consistent policy of supporting legislative efforts to address the staggering number of units of local government in the State. On Tuesday, the Senate Executive Committee unanimously approved House Bill 348 (McSweeney/Link). This bill adds provisions to Illinois law dealing with the dissolution of a single township in McHenry County by a referendum vote and also establishes 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. While similar to a measure considered in 2018 THIS bill includes language added to address specific issues of concern. 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.
 

On Wednesday, the Senate Local Government Committee approved House Bill 3369 (Weber/Wilcox) to authorize the board of trustees of the Village of Lindenhurst to pass an ordinance to terminate the terms of all members of the board of trustees of the Lindenhurst Sanitary District and transfer all powers to the Village, including the District's authority to levy and collect taxes. The bill further provides that once there are no debts remaining of the District or if the Village has sufficient funds 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. Both measures are pending final legislative approval in the Senate.

IMMIGRANT TENANT PROTECTION ACT APPROVED IN HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE

The House Commercial Law Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Civil Law Committee approved Senate Bill 1290 (Castro/Mah) this week on a roll call vote of 5-2-0. This bill must be acted upon next by the full House Judiciary Civil Law Committee which is scheduled for next Wednesday. This measure, also approved but vetoed by Governor Rauner in 2018, enacts the Immigrant Tenant Protection Act. You may recall that prior to the bill being approved last year, the Illinois REALTORS® was heavily involved in negotiations on the bill to remove some onerous provisions which would have exposed landlords to huge liabilities. In its final form last year those objections were addressed. SB 1290 is substantially the same language. The bill permits a tenant to sue a landlord for damages and attorney’s fees IF AND ONLY IF the landlord threatens, intimidates, or harasses a tenant because of their immigration or citizenship status. The bill also includes an “affirmative defense” to an eviction if a landlord tries to evict a tenant because of their status. The Illinois REALTORS® is NEUTRAL.
 

REAL ESTATE APPRAISAL ACT LEGISLATION

House Bill 2961 (Rita/Cunningham) was unanimously approved in the Senate Financial Institutions Committee on Wednesday. HB 2961 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. The bill is pending final legislative approval in the Senate.

TAX INCREMENT FINANCING (TIF) DISTRICTS

The Senate Revenue Committee approved two TIF related bills on Tuesday. House Bill 2209 (Yingling/Fine) will 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. House Bill 2931 (Davis/Harris) extends the life of a TIF in the Village of Phoenix. The Illinois REALTORS® is NEUTRAL. Both bills are pending final legislative approval in the Senate.

QUALIFICATIONS OF ASSESSORS

The Senate Revenue Committee also approved House Bill 2243 (Marron/Aquino) this week to make 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 is also supported by the Illinois Department of Revenue. The bill is pending final legislative approval in the Senate.
 

BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY LEGISLATION

 

On Thursday, the Senate Telecommunications and Information Technology Committee approved House Bill 3575 (Wheeler/Sims). 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. In debate and discussion on this issue, the consensus was that this bill is a limited “first step” in dealing with this emerging technology and that this will be the subject of ongoing discussions. The Illinois REALTORS® is NEUTRAL.

RURAL DEVELOPMENT TASK FORCE

The Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee approved HJR 37 (Windhorst/Fowler) this week. This measure creates a 9-member Task Force to evaluate actions or legislation that may be necessary to promote economic development in the rural areas of the state and to also study various issues related to the agricultural industry. The resolution directs the Task Force to submit a report to the Governor and the General Assembly by the end of the calendar year.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Both the House and Senate are scheduled to be in session next week Tuesday, May 7th through Friday, May 10th. Friday marks the deadline for bills to be heard in the second chamber committees.