Friday, February 24, 2012
This week the Illinois Senate was in session. Senate lawmakers spent most of their time in legislative committee hearings or working with staff, public interest groups and other lawmakers. Lawmakers will return to Springfield Feb. 27 to continue the spring legislative session. The following is a round-up of this week’s legislative action.
Legislation approved by Senate Committees this week includes:
Appellate Defender (SB 3489):
Establishes that the Office of the Appellate Defender is allowed to continue providing training and trial assistance to state public defenders though they will no longer do so using revenue from the former Capital Litigation Trust Fund, which has gone unfunded since the repeal of the death penalty.
Child Sex Offender (SB 3258):
Changes the definition of child sex offender to include offenses that may not be sexual in nature, but when committed against someone younger than 18, the offender would be subjected to the same location and residency restrictions as a child sex offender.
Code Violations (SB 3406):
Requires sanitation and building inspectors to include the title and citation of the alleged code being violated along with a description of the circumstances of the alleged violation.
Condo Manager Fees (SB 3202):
Caps condo manager fees at $1,000 per year.
Cook County (SB 3386):
Attempts to transition the Cook County Board of Review to a paperless system by giving the Board the option to send electronic notices, and allows taxpayers to file assessment complaints electronically. (SB 2536):
Establishes that in Cook County, Public Administrator’s case files should be retained in accordance with the Local Records Act, instead of being deposited with Circuit Clerk who is no longer accepting these records
Cook County Forest Preserve (SB 2946):
Allows the Cook County Forest Preserve District to establish procedures to comply with state and federal regulations concerning affirmative action and the use of businesses owned by minorities or women in construction.
Dental Oversight (SB 2941):
Provides that a dentist utilizing dental assistants can not supervise more than four dental assistants at any one time for placing, carving, and finishing of amalgam restorations; the monitoring of nitrous oxide; and pit and fissure sealants.
Enterprise Zone (SB 3253):
Allows the corporate authorities of the county or municipality that adopted an ordinance designating an Enterprise Zone are allowed to extend the zone for an additional 20 years.
Fund Sweeps (SB 2958):
Prohibits sweeps of check-off funds, which have been used in recent years to supplement state spending.
Gaming (SB 2971):
Extends the Quality of Life scratch-off lottery game for another five years; the game creates revenue that funds HIV/AIDS prevention education.
Homestead Exemption (SB 3403):
Extends the senior homestead exemption to also apply to individuals with disabilities. (SB 3429):
Changes the general homestead exemption from a maximum of $6,000 to a flat $6,000.
Lake County Trust (SB 3167):
Allows Lake County to establish an affordable housing trust fund by ordinance or resolution and to charge a $5 surcharge on recordation of any real estate-related document in order to finance the fund.
Methamphetamine Conviction (SB 3423):
Allows a first-time offender caught with less than 15 grams of methamphetamine to choose treatment under Department of Human Services’ supervision.
MWRD (SB 3438):
Requires the executive director of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to appoint a public and intergovernmental affairs officer, with the advice and consent of the board.
Order of Protection (SB 2869):
Requires the sheriff or other law enforcement official to notify the Department of Corrections (DOC) when an order of protection, a civil “no contact” order or a stalking “no contact” order is entered against an individual committed to DOC or who is on parole or mandatory supervised release.
Private Detectives (SB 3315):
Provides an exemption from the provisions relating to licensure of private detectives for persons who provide computer forensics services.
Prompt Payment (SB 3284):
Clarifies that interest payments required under the Prompt Payment Act are supposed to be paid on a daily basis versus a monthly basis, and exempts certain personnel information from inclusion in the Comptroller’s annual report.
Property Tax Exemption (SB 3210):
Allows a school, religious, or charitable organization in, or which fall in or that are contiguous to, Chicago, to sell its property, lease the land back for its original exempted use, and then use the money for capital improvements without losing its property tax exemption. All construction projects are subject to the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act.
RTA Free/Reduced Fares (SB 2875):
Requires the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) to provide monthly to the Department of Public Health (DPH) a list of riders who receive free or reduced fares. Within two weeks of receipt, DPH must report back to the RTA any discrepancies that indicate that a ride receiving free or reduced fare is deceased.
School Bus (SB 3487):
Allows a student to be transported in a multi-function school activity bus for any curriculum-related activity except for transportation between school and home.
Snow Removal (SB 3435):
States that ice or snow plowed or removed from a residential driveway may not be deposited upon a public highway if local or state police determine it creates a traffic safety hazard.
Tax Abatement (SB 2503):
Allows a county or municipality to grant property tax abatements for the residences of the surviving spouse of a fallen soldier.
Tax Caps (SB 3314):
Requires the estimated dollar amount of a property tax increase to be calculated on the equalized assessed value, including the State Multiplier.
Tax Check-off (SB 3148):
Adds the Habitat for Humanity check-off to the individual income tax return form for the 2012 tax year. (SB 3320):
Allows any income tax check-off charitable fund that received less than $100,000 but more than $90,000 by Oct. 1, 2011, to be included on the 2012 individual income tax form.
Teacher Pensions (SB 3168):
Prohibits school boards from hiring multiple TRS retirees to fill a position normally filled by a single full-time teacher, except for subject or administrative position shortages. Adds retiree return-to-work pension suspension exceptions to the SERS Article of the Pension Code.
Trustees (SB 3171):
Seeks to restore a provision that allows persons holding less than $500,000 in trust funds to continue to act as the trustee after the funds are deposited.
Vehicle Accident (SB 3409):
Provides that in the case of a vehicle accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle, a driver may move his vehicle as soon as possible off the highway to the nearest safe location on an exit ramp shoulder, a frontage road, the nearest suitable cross street, or other suitable location that does not obstruct traffic and remains at the location until the driver has fulfilled the statutory reporting requirements.
Veteran Handicapped Plate (SB 3491):
States that any veteran who holds proof of a service-connected disability from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and who has obtained certification from a medical professional, is qualified for a license plate with the international symbol of access and may park in a designated handicapped parking space. Any veteran who holds proof of a service-connected disability from the VA, and whose disability have been declared 50% or more but does not qualify the veteran for a plate with the symbol of access, may make application for a special registration plate without the symbol of access; this plate does not allow the holder to park in a handicapped parking space.
Veterans Superintendent Cook (SB 3181):
Provides that the veterans’ superintendent chosen by the Cook County Veterans Assistance Commission cannot take office until approved by the president or chairman of the county board.