2015 Report

2015 Spring Legislative Session Report
David, Kennedy, ACEC-IL Legislative Consultant

There has been over 6,300 bills and several hundred amendments introduced in the Illinois House and Senate screened for impacts on consulting engineers. Some of the bills that may be of particular interest to ACEC-IL members are listed below. For more detailed descriptions, please check out the General Assembly website that gives bill status and entire bill language. Yet to be determined by the General Assembly is a major Capitol Program, which has the general support of the Governor and Legislative Leaders, but has not been negotiated. This initiative will be tied to the overall budget negotiations.

Affirmative Action Contracting
SB 1334 adds public community colleges to the list of state agencies that must comply with the Business Enterprise for Minorities, Females, and Persons with Disabilities Act. It also increases the goal from 10% of program contracting dollars to 20% (CDB is currently 15%). The bill does not include IDOT as the Department adheres to the federal Disadvantage Business Enterprise Program. The bill also allows winning bidders to cure their bids in case they fail to meet this goal. The bill has passed the Senate and is expected to pass the House.

Corrosion certification
HCB 3323 requires IEPA and IDOT to establish rules for corrosion prevention of public water supplies and bridges respectively, requiring certification for workers through approved training programs. The bill was amended to exempt Professional and Structural Engineers from the requirements of the Act. The bill has passed the House and is expected to pass the Senate.

SB 1891 requires IDOT to develop a performance based specification for hot ix asphalt that will allow the use of recycled material such as asphalt shingles, reclaimed asphalt and rubber tires. The bill is not expected to pass the Senate unless a compromise agreement can be reached between contractor and material suppler groups.

University procurement
SB 1095, SA #1 would exempt public universities from the Procurement Code. The amendment does not apply to QBS so those requirements remain in effect. The sponsor initiated this amendment because universities have had to accept higher bids on projects because lower bids were rejected on technical grounds, since bud curing is no longer allowed. While the bill could be voted upon by the Senate, it is expected that the bill will not advance.

Public/Private Partnerships
SB 313, SA #1 authorizes all local governments (over 7,400) and state agencies to use Public/Private Partnership agreements in the course of delivering their projects and programs. The amendment is loosely drafted, ignores the current PPP law for IDOT and the IL Tollway, and does not contain any of the safeguards typically built into these acts. For instance, there are no provisions guaranteeing that Illinois companies and workers have the right to compete for this work. The bill was initiated by the Illinois Chamber but is not expected to advance this session.

Interior Design licensure
SB 1270 would create a new licensing act for Interior Designers. Current law is simply a title protection act and would be replaced by this new law. While AIA-IL opposed the bill, ISPE and ACEC-IL amended the bill to assure that Professional Engineers were not affected. The bill was not considered in Senate Committee and may be carried over to next year. A net result of this bill is that AIA-IL has agreed to work more closely with ISPE and ACEC-IL on future issues.

Veterans’ issues
HB 2782 would allow Veterans of military service to obtain professional licensure from Illinois if the applicant has had substantially equivalent training or experience. The sponsor agreed to amend the bill nwas not considered by the House Committee.

SB 1494 & SB 1666 amends the Procurement Code to provide a goal of 3% of all contract dollars be awarded to companies owned by disabled Veterans. Current law is 3% for Veterans and disabled Veterans, so this bill would double the goal by separating the two categories of Veterans and disabled Veterans giving each 3% of contract dollars. The sponsors did not call the bills because of objections of design professionals and some contractors that there are very few companies that qualify.

Prevailing Wage
SB 1272 amends the Prevailing Wage Act to include work involving material testing and surveying. The bill was not considered by the Senate Committee.

CDB single bid
HB 3497 authorizes CDB to let single bid construction contracts instead of the current requirement of breaking out bids into 5 separate contracts by trade. The current law was designed to prevent bid shopping by prime contractors. Single bids have been used on some larger CDB projects. The bill has passed the House and may pass the Senate as there are numerous Senate co-sponsors.

Women owned business
HB 642 creates the Women’s Business Ownership Act creating a Council within the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, for purposes of assisting such businesses. The bill unanimously passed the House and is expected to pass the Senate.

Local road closures
HB 2580 amends the Highway Code restricting the ability of Highway Commissioners to close or restrict roads and places certain requirements on County Superintendents to close roads. The bill passed the House and is expected to pass the Senate.

HB 3374 amends the Environmental Barriers Act requiring CDB to update code by January 1, 2017 if the ADA Standards for Accessibility are updated. The bill has passed the House and is expected to pass the Senate.

Wind energy
HB 3523 creates the Wind Energy Facilities Construction and Deconstruction Act,imposing new requirements and agreements with the Department of Agriculture. The bill passed the House and is expected to pass the Senate.

Renewable energy
HB 3560 creates the Utilization of Renewable Energy on State-Owned Properties Task Force, requiring consideration of financial issues and property values, among other issues. The bill passed the House and is expected to pass the Senate.

SB 1485 amends the Illinois Power Agency Act requiring the Planning and Procurement Bureau to establish a long term renewable resources procurement plan with renewable energy credits. The bill has not passed the Senate.

Highway Bonds
HB 3820 authorizes the state to sell $1 billion in bonds for highway construction purposes. The bill is in the House and may be considered as a stop gap funding measure if a major Capitol Program is not passed by the General Assembly.

School construction grants
HB 3823 places new restrictions on the use of state school construction grants requiring grants received after construction to be at least partially used to retire bond debt of the local school district. The bill passed the House and is expected to pass the Senate.

Tax Increment Financing
SB 277 amends the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act to provide for transit facility improvement areas. The bill passed the Senate on a divided roll call and is in House Rules Committee where its outcome is uncertain.

Cook Forest Preserve building code
SB 379 provides that Cook County building codes will apply to Forest Preserve buildings, as opposed to other local building codes. The bill passed the Senate and is expected to pass the House.

Nuclear safety
SB 544 amends the Nuclear Facility Safety Act to provide for nuclear storage impact fees by a municipality. The bill passed the Senate on a divided roll call while its fate in the House is uncertain.

SB 636 amends the Aeronautics Act requiring certificate of approval for new runways at O’Hare Airport resulting in more than 10 runways as opposed to 8. Makes certain changes to Permanent Noise Monitoring Act. The bill awaits final action and has passed both the Senate and House, but in separate versions.

Building security
SB 663 amends the Open Meetings Act to authorize public bodies to hold closed meetings to discuss school building safety and security issues. The bill has passed the Senate but its fate in the House is uncertain.

Geologist licensing
SB 749 extends the date of the Professional Geologist Licensing Act to January 1, 2026, making various changes in the licensing act. The bill has passed the Senate and House.

Environmental rulemaking
SB 1673 extends IEPA fast track rulemaking from December 31, 2014 to December 31, 2019. The bill has passed the Senate and may yet be considered by the House.

County procurement
SB 1745 allows counties to award certain contracts without bidding. The bill does not change the local QBS law. The bill has passed the Senate and may be considered by the House.

Submitted by David Kennedy,
ACEC-IL Lobbyist