IMSCA Virtual Town Hall Legislative Forum a Success!
The virtual session was held on Friday, March 19, 2021.
The Illinois Mechanical & Specialty Contractors Association’s (IMSCA’s) Virtual Town Hall Legislative Forum was held on Friday, March 19, 2021 via Zoom. IMSCA had an exciting panel of legislators who provided IMSCA members with an overview of important issues facing our state that the Illinois General Assembly will tackle during the spring 2021 legislative session. This event was designed to provide IMSCA members with a unique opportunity to receive an “insider’s view” from key Illinois State Senators, which included: Senate President Don Harmon, Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes and Senator Ram Villivalam. Each panelist provided a brief presentation, and a Q & A period followed.
The program began with a brief update of the Budget process, Redistricting, and COVID-19-related issues. Senator President Don Harmon informed the IMSCA members that as an initial priority, the Senate has made great strides to meet “in-person” and will continue to do so. They are reviewing varied legislation from clarification of Special Warranty Deeds (SB46) to reviewing the recently submitted Budget proposal from the Governor.
Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes re-affirmed her sponsoring of the IMSCA legislative initiative that seeks to amend the Public Construction Bond Act (SB178) to provide that a local government entity may not require retainage when a contractor has furnished a surety bond or its equivalent. This bill is a continuation of IMSCA’s previous work on retainage reform. She is aware that IMSCA worked hard for many years seeking a reduction in retainage on private, commercial construction projects, which became law in 2019. Retainage is still withheld at an unreasonably high rate of 10% for most local government construction projects, even though a payment and performance bond is also required to protect local governments from defects and delinquencies. The combination of the two is excessive and creates unnecessary cash flow burdens. IMSCA asserts SB178 will ease this financial burden experienced by many contractors.
Senator Ram Villivalam re-affirmed his sponsorship of SB2494, an IMSCA initiative. SB2494 seeds to extend a sunset provision in current law (P.A. 97-966) that allows the time a commercial construction project may last and still permit the filing of a mechanics lien from 3 to 5 years. This law is set to expire on December 31, 2021. SB2494 seeks to extend the sunset provision through 2026.
Each presenter emphasized the importance of proper utilization of the $7.5 billion Illinois is to receive from the “American Rescue Plan.” Also, the “Rebuild Illinois Plan” from 2019 is also being scrutinized for best utilization of available funds / projects. Transportation, infrastructure, overall Energy Policy, expansion of proper utilization of electronic signatures, streamlining of government were also highlighted during their presentations. Also, the presenters anticipated passage of the “Future of Work Act” (SB2481). The Future of Work Act would establish the Future of Work Task Force to assess new and emerging technologies that have the potential to impact employment and wages, develop a baseline of job standards and working conditions, facilitate workforce development and research best practices on how to deploy technology to benefit working people. The Task Force would consist of 16 bipartisan members of the General Assembly, six members appointed by the governor, the Superintendent of the State Board of Education and the Directors of the Illinois Departments of Labor, Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Employment Security.
We hope that you were able to participate with this event and learned more about legislative issues important to the Illinois construction industry and your business. If you have any questions regarding how IMSCA members can work together to ensure IMSCA efforts move successfully through the legislative process, please contact Jessica Newbold Hoselton, Executive Director, Illinois Mechanical & Specialty Contractors Association (IMSCA) at (217) 523-4361.
Pictured above is Senate President Don Harmon.
Pictured above is Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes.
Pictured above is Senator Ram Villavalam.
Pictured above is Jessica Newbold Hoselton, IMSCA Executive Director.