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Letter to the Editor: Prenzler and HB 2862

Kurt Prenzler

With one stroke of the pen, our state put in place a law that threatens to undo decades of economic development in Madison County.

In recent years, more than 13,000 jobs were created near the intersection of I-270 and I-255 and more than 30-million-square-feet of logistics/warehouse space constructed. It is a “good” story in Illinois, which is losing population and jobs to surrounding states.

Then why does Illinois shoot itself in the foot?

You just can’t make this stuff up. In February, the Illinois General Assembly introduced HB 2862, to amend the Acupuncture Practice Act. On May 18, it became clear who was being poked, when the bill was magically changed to amend the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act.

The updated law mandates that temporary employees who work more than 90 consecutive days in a job must receive the same pay and benefits as a full-time worker in the same job. This makes Illinois uncompetitive for an industry that requires flexibility.

Like so many bills passed by the General Assembly, it passed with lightning speed. Because of the stealth and speed of the process, the warehousing/logistics and manufacturing industries didn’t have an opportunity to make a case to legislators.

Given the negative implications of this bill, many didn’t think the Governor would sign it into law, but he did, on Aug. 4. And to add insult to injury, it became effective upon his signing, giving the industry no time to transition.

On Friday, the Southwestern Illinois Leadership Council discussed the bill.

Where did this bill come from? It follows anti-business legislation passed in New Jersey, and this week, California passed similar legislation and Michigan is also looking at it.

Following in the footsteps of these states will not help Illinois keep jobs or attract new business.

It’s not fair. Over the past decade, logistics businesses invested in Madison County, and now the rules changed.

At this moment, a half billion dollars is being invested to build a new I-270 bridge over the Mississippi River and make other upgrades along I-270 in Madison County.

Can these businesses leave Madison County? Yes, then can! They moved here because of the location and infrastructure and they can go just as quick, taking their jobs and tax dollars with them.

The Illinois Department of Labor issued proposed permanent rules and the public comment period runs through Oct. 2. We are hopeful that the General Assembly will take another look at this legislation.

Kurt Prenzler

Madison County Chairman

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