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Van Pelt law protects workers required to use their own mobile device on the job

Published: Monday, August 27, 2018 11:40 AM

employee cell 082718SPRINGFIELD – A growing number of employers have “bring your own device” policies requiring employees to use their personal mobile devices for work purposes but receive no reimbursement for the associated costs. A measure sponsored by State Senator Patricia Van Pelt will provide them some protections. It was signed into law Sunday.

Senate Bill 2999 requires employers to authorize or require this use in writing, including provisions on the amounts or limits for reimbursement. This would exclude the loss or theft of a device unless by negligence of the employer.

Cullerton’s budget transparency measure is now law

Published: Monday, August 27, 2018 10:50 AM

tcullerton 050218VILLA PARK – A new Illinois law sponsored by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will mandate transparency and accuracy in the governor’s annual budget proposal.

The governor signed Cullerton’s House Bill 5814 on Friday, which will force all future governors’ offices to record late interest payments as a separate line item in agency appropriations.

The law will paint a clearer picture of the state’s financial standing and slow the depletion of funding needed to provide vital services to Illinois residents.

“All future governors will be forced to present realistic appropriations budgets in the future thanks to this bill,” Cullerton said. “We need to make sure governors, regardless of political party, do not attempt to hide behind phony numbers.”

Currently, most late payment interest penalties accrue at a rate of 12 percent per month for bills unpaid after 90 days, while health care bills accumulate interest at a rate of 9 percent after 30 days.

The interest penalties are paid from the same appropriation line, depleting the amount a state agency can spend for its operations. Cullerton’s measure forces the governor’s budget to include separate line item requests to for prompt pay interest payments.

The comptroller’s January 2018 Debt Transparency Report confirmed that taxpayers owe approximately $887 million in interest penalties despite paying out over $140 million in penalties in 2017.

“As legislators, we can’t negotiate a responsible budget when we don’t know how much money is owed or where it is going,” Cullerton said. “Utilizing responsible accounting practices in state government will allow the citizens of Illinois to know how and where their valuable tax dollars are spent.”

This bipartisan measure is an initiative of Comptroller Susana Mendoza and is supported by the Better Government Association.

House Bill 5814 passed the House and Senate with unanimous support and goes into effect immediately.

New Castro law creates additional protections for nurses

Published: Monday, August 27, 2018 10:46 AM

nurse 082718ELGIN – Nurses will now be protected under the Healthcare Violence Prevention Act thanks to State Senator Cristina Castro’s (D-Elgin) new law that was signed on Friday.

“Health care providers devote their lives to taking care of our community,” Castro said. “Now it is time that we help them. Nurses deserve to feel safe at work.”

The new law creates the Healthcare Violence Prevention Act to protect health care providers, puts in place a violence prevention program and adds whistleblower protections for nurses who report violence to law enforcement.

Steans champions law to support workers, businesses

Published: Monday, August 27, 2018 10:10 AM

steans 042518Plan works to reduce backlog of discrimination claims

CHICAGO – Workers and employers will soon see claims resolved by the Human Rights Commission more quickly under a new law sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

“Due to the current structure of the Human Rights Commission, a detrimental backlog of discrimination and harassment complaints has developed over time,” Steans said. “This lengthy and cumbersome process hurts both businesses and workers. I led negotiations with the business community and organizations that protect workers’ rights to craft a plan that is fair to all to restructure the commission.”

Senate Bill 20 creates a temporary three-person panel to address the backlog of cases. It restructures the Human Rights Commission from 13 part-time commissioners to seven full-time, dedicated commissioners. To prevent a future accumulation of cases, it streamlines the administrative process and removes duplicative steps within the commission.

“This legislation aligns state law with federal law by extending the amount of time an individual can file a claim from 180 days to 300 days,” Steans said. “I look forward to seeing the commission resolve these cases in a timelier manner.”

This legislation, which was signed into law Friday, takes effect immediately.

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