Earlier this year, the Illinois Corn Growers Association invited farmers to call their state legislators on a bill that would require union labor in some areas of our Illinois ethanol plants. Upon the bill's passage in the IL Senate and movement in the House, Marquis Energy in Hennepin immediately withdrew their intention to expand in the the Jacksonville, IL area. This signal tells us that the bill would be detrimental to ethanol expansion in Illinois.
Enjoy this update from Rich Clemmons, ICGA's lobbyist in Springfield, on the bill.
Senate Bill 1407, titled as “Illinois Hazardous Materials Workforce Training Act”, is legislation proposing to mandate the training and hiring of union labor in facilities that utilize hazardous materials in their production and operation, and pay existing “ prevailing wages” in the area of a plant affected by the requirements of the legislation. This legislation includes ethanol plants located in Illinois, as well as petroleum, petrochemical and other plants identified in the legislation.
The legislation is an over reach of labor into the operations of such facilities by taking over the decision making in hiring and wage practices that are the management responsibilities of the owners and operators of those plants.
SB 1407 passed the Illinois Senate prior to the end of the spring 2019 session. It is now in the House of Representatives, on 3rd Reading (passage stage). Under House Rules, if it were to be voted upon during Veto Session discussion of bills, it would require 71 votes. However, after January 1, 2020, the bill will only require a simple 60 vote majority to pass.
Generally, all business and industry associations in Illinois have opposed this bill since it was proposed, including the Illinois Renewable Fuels Association and Illinois Corn Growers Association.
Both the ILRFA and ICGA are working to remove ethanol plants from SB 1407.