It’s understandable if you’re already feeling political fatigue. There has been a lot to digest over the past couple weeks. The Naperville City Council is considering a pair of important issues that could dramatically affect local businesses. Meanwhile, the state has followed months of stalling on a budget with a flurry of activity on end of session bills as well as a legal fight over redistricting. And of course, in primetime we have been glued to our televisions with the Republican and then the Democratic National Conventions. But hang in there, because there are important issues for you and your business. Let’s break it down.
Locally, there are two important issues in front of City Council we have been tracking closely. The first is the proposal from the Housing Advisory Commission, or HAC, to define “Legal Source of Income,” within the Naperville Code. If you’re not familiar with this issue you’re not alone. It’s complex and technical and the open comment periods have not drawn the level of feedback it deserves.
Essentially, under current law landlords may accept Section 8 vouchers voluntarily, but the HAC would like to mandate that all landlords must accept Section 8 vouchers explicitly as a “legal source of income.” This would have the effect of forcing landlords to contract with the state with a significant loss to their property rights, but would expand fair housing opportunities in Naperville significantly.
The issue was put before the City Council on July 19 for a First Reading. No vote was taken and the issue will be readdressed in October. In the meantime, we would like to hear your feedback. Do you have a rental property, how would the proposal affect you? Please contact me, Colin Dalough with any questions and comments, firstname.lastname@example.org. We are especially interested to hear your feedback on this issue.
Secondly, the City Council will consider potential restrictions to landscapers’ hours of operations within city limits. The Planning and Zoning Commission considered the issue on July 20, and voted unanimously to keep the current law as is. The issue will now go before the City Council though no date has been confirmed.
Statewide, there was important movement on the Independent Map Amendment and SB2531. For those unfamiliar, the Independent Map Amendment is a voter referendum that would create a new process for drawing district maps in Illinois. The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce supports this initiative as it takes the power to draw maps out of the hands of those that stand to gain from their manipulation.
The Constitutional Amendment was besieged by a legal challenge however, and the Cook County Circuit Court ruled that the Constitutional Amendment was unconstitutional and could not be placed on the November ballot. In response, the Illinois Supreme Court granted a motion for a direct appeal meaning that there will likely be an Illinois Supreme Court decision before November. There will be more on this before it’s over, stay tuned.
Governor Rauner also vetoed SB2531, a bill that sought to change the makeup of economic development councils, public private partnerships, and other nonprofits. It would mandate two members of a labor council on nonprofit boards if the organization receives any public money. The General Assembly passed the law at the end of the legislative session and the Governor vetoed the bill on July 29. The bill will now go back to the General Assembly for a potential veto override. There will be undoubtedly more to come on SB2531.
Speaking of the General Assembly, there will be a new Representative for the 81st District, as Republican Ron Sandack resigned abruptly on July 24. The Illinois GOP has named David Olsen, a Village Council commissioner from Downers Grove, as the replacement. Olsen will be sworn in this week and will run for reelection against fellow Downers Grove Village Council commissioner Greg Hose.
Finally, I have been struck by the national conversation regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The trade deal has been vilified at both national conventions. Though some portions of the deal have been leaked, the full text has not been made public. Still, both political parties have received critical grassroots outrage from their base. What are your thoughts, is TPP good for America?