Legislative Briefs

Law paves way for 5G wireless technology

    Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 1451 to standardize and streamline regulation of small wireless cell facilities, paving the way for 5G wireless and other technology in Illinois.
    “This legislation sends a strong, competitive message that Illinois is open for business. We want to make Illinois a leader in wireless technology. We are working to grow jobs and our economy and set our community up for future success,” Rauner said.
    Small cells are lower-profile wireless signal alternatives to traditional cell towers that can be attached to existing structures. Their deployment will help lay the foundation required to support the technologies of the future, such as the next generation wireless systems known as 5G.
    Besides faster internet and devices, Accenture has forecast that 5G and smart cities investments will create nearly 100,000 jobs and bring in nearly $9 billion in investment to Illinois over the next seven years.
    Wireless demand is expected to increase five times by 2022.

Work comp reforms advance in legislature

    Legislation that puts in place a series of reforms to the state’s worker’s compensation program has passed the Senate.
    The measure makes several changes to Illinois’ workers’ compensation system, including: requiring electronic billing for workers’ compensation claims, allowing first responders to receive benefits the day after their accident, creating an evidence-based prescription drug formulary and changing the way insurance companies set rates with the Illinois Department of Insurance.
    Senate Bill 2863 requires insurance companies to pre-file rates with the Department of Insurance. If an insurance company would like to change that rate, it must provide justification. The legislation also clarifies that for an injury to be covered by workers’ compensation there must be a fundamental connection between the injury and the employment.
    The reforms are the result of bipartisan, bicameral negotiations. The measure is identical to legislation that passed the House and the Senate last year. Although several provisions in the legislation reflected recommendations from Gov. Bruce Rauner – including controlling money spent on prescription drugs and clarifying the use of AMA guidelines – he vetoed the measure when it reached his desk.
    The bill was in the House for consideration. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, is the chief House sponsor.

Bristow measure would support infrastructure

    State Rep. Monica Bristow, D-Godfrey, recently introduced a measure to create a new fund in the state treasury that would be used specifically for the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges throughout Illinois.  
    “The creation of a special state fund to construct and maintain roads and bridges will provide necessary infrastructure support to our local communities,” said Bristow.  “Through this legislation, the preservation of our roadways would be a top priority and would ensure that the state would have funds available for future projects.”
    Bristow’s measure, House Bill 5282, would create the Transportation Maintenance Fund, a new, special fund in the state treasury to be used exclusively for the construction of new roadways as well as the maintenance of those that are already in existence.  Bristow’s measure recently passed out of the House Revenue and Finance Committee.
    “If this bill is signed into law, more projects like the completion of Illinois Route 255 and Corridor 67 could be possible for the River Bend region,” said Bristow.  “Not only would this legislation ensure that our roadways are maintained, but it would create jobs in the future through the conception of new and planned projects.”