School is officially back in session! I hope everyone is adjusting to the new routines and homework isn’t overburdening anyone quite yet. The following is mandatory reading for businesses and yes, it will be on the midterm.
Economic Development Councils
Governor Rauner vetoed another set of bills on Friday, August 26 which forced organized labor onto local economic development, public-private partnership, and other non-profit boards. Essentially, the package of legislation including SB2531, SB2600, and SB260 gifts organized labor two spots on a board with no conditions, but with full voting rights if the organization accepts any amount of public funding.
This sort of one size fits all Springfield solution tramples local autonomy and handicaps local economic development. Organized labor can be and has been an effective partner for growth, but to mandate their participation on non-profit boards, including the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce’s, with no requirement that they meet the internal criteria to which everyone else is subject is a confused strategy.
With the Governor’s action, all three bills are now vetoed. We encourage Members to contact their state senator or state representative and ask that they DO NOT VOTE to override the Governor’s veto. If you don’t know who to contact, follow the link to our website and we can help connect you!
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
When we talk about comprehensive immigration reform I frequently receive questions about why should businesses care? Nicki Anderson, President and CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce spoke at a panel event hosted by the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition on Monday, August 29 to help provide more context of why a smarter immigration policy makes are economy stronger.
Immigration policy is frequently discussed solely in terms of what should we do with the approximately eleven million undocumented already here. That’s a massively important issue, and we need to find a solution that promotes sustaining growth in our economy while enhancing our safety and security. However, the underrepresented portion of immigration reform is how to attract and retain highly skilled workers to position our country and our region to compete in the next economy.
Our economy, especially in the fast moving fields of science and technology, demands greater freedom of movement in the labor force to capitalize on expertise to drive growth. And we’re already training the work force of the next generation in our universities.
According to the Partnership for a New American Economy, more than three out of four patents produced by American universities had an immigrant inventor, and for each immigrant that is able to stay and work in a technical field 2.62 additional jobs are created for Americans. Don’t we want more of that highly skilled entrepreneurial spirit here?
Independent Map Amendment
Finally, the Independent Map Amendment is officially off the November ballot. The Illinois Supreme Court struck down the referendum as unconstitutional on Thursday, August 25th. This was a disappointing decision because redistricting really needs to be addressed, but will not go before the voters in November even though more than 560,000 registered voters signed the petition asking for reform.
So, what’s next in the struggle for more competitive elections in Illinois? There is some hope. In the absence of an acceptable voter referendum, legislators have taken up the banner. The Governor has renewed his calls for term limits and included redistricting as a legislative priority through the General Assembly. Former Governor Pat Quinn also proposed a remap counter proposal.
Meanwhile, Senator Michael Connelly IL-21 joined Senator Bill Brady IL-44 co-sponsoring SJRCA8, a constitutional amendment with term limits for members of the General Assembly. The Amendment would limit State Representatives from more than five consecutive terms and State Senators from more than three consecutive terms within the same district.
Senator Connelly also joined SJRCA3, SJRCA21, and SJRCA23 as a chief co-sponsor within the last week. All these bills are term limits bills placing constraints on those in leadership in the General Assembly including, but not limited to, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, President of the Senate, Minority Leader of the House, and Minority Leader of the Senate.