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Regulatory Alert

CURRENT PROPOSED STATE OF ILLINOIS RULES AFFECTING SMALL BUSINESS

If any of the following proposed regulations impact your business, let us know!   Click here to submit comments on how the proposed rulemakings will impact your business or industry.   

Following are  proposed rules of possible interest to small businesses published in the Illinois Register.  During the comment period, individuals have an opportunity to express their support or opposition to the rule.  To submit comments or to learn more about the proposed rules, contact Katy Khayyat at the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Business Information Center via e-mail at Katy.Khayyat@Illinois.gov  or call 800.252.2923 or 217.785.8020. 

To get more information on Illinois Rules and Regulations, how to file a complaint about a burdensome or excessive state rule, go to www.ilsmallbiz.biz/regflex
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Workers Compensation Commission proposed amendments to several parts which could impact small businesses:

 

 

 

The Workers’ Compensation Commission proposed a new Part titled Electronic Filing (50 IAC 9015; 40 Ill Reg 10191) and proposed amendments to the following 9 Parts: Pre-Arbitration (50 IAC 9020; 40 Ill Reg  10199); Arbitration (50 IAC 9030; 40 Ill Reg 10221); Review (50 IAC 9040; 40 Ill Reg 10237); Oral Arguments (50 IAC 9050; 40 Ill Reg 10252); Judicial Review (50 IAC 9060; 40 Ill Reg 10256); Settlement Contracts and Lump Sum Petitions (50 IAC 9070; 40 Ill Reg 10260); Disciplining of Attorneys; Agents (50 IAC 9090; 40 Ill Reg 10268); Insurance Regulations (50 IAC 9100; 40 Ill Reg 10272); and Miscellaneous (50 IAC 9110; 40 Ill Reg 10307).

 

 

 

The new Part 9015 establishes rules for electronic formatting and filing of documents and administrative procedures by which non-attorney pro se (self-representing) litigants may gain access to the electronic system.  Users must first register with the Commission and provide all information required. If a statute, regulation or case law requires information to be in written form, or provides for certain consequences if it is not, an electronic record satisfies that rule of law. Documents must be submitted in the format prescribed by the Commission, or in PDF format directly from the program creating a document, rather than as a scanned image of a paper document. All electronically filed documents shall, as far as possible, be formatted in accordance with this Part. Documents with separate WC numbers must be filed individually. Documents not complying with the Electronic Commerce Security Act or this Part may be rejected. The transmission date and time shall determine the electronic file mark (equivalent to a time stamp on a printed document). By filing a document electronically, the registered user thereby certifies that the document has been checked for and is free of viruses or malware. Electronic signatures are deemed to satisfy any legal requirement for a signed document. If an electronic filing is not received, the Commission may, upon satisfactory proof, permit the document to be filed again later, effective on the date the filing was first attempted.  Reasons for permitting a subsequent filing may include an error in the transmission that was unknown to the transmitting party; a rejection of the document by the Commission; an erroneous exclusion of a party from the service list; or other technical problems experienced by the filing party. 

 

 

 

 Part 9020, not revised since 1996, is being updated to address new technology, make stylistic changes, and to clarify existing procedures of the Commission.  Filing requirements for various documents and pleadings, and other references, are aligned with the provisions in new Part 9015.  Documents not filed with all parties shall be considered ex parte communications and disregarded. 

 

 

 

The Part 9030 amendments address procedural changes regarding WC arbitration hearings. All cases will now be assigned on a random basis (presently, random assignment occurs only in Cook County).  Motions to consolidate a claim and cases re-filed are to be retained by the Arbitrator first assigned to that claim. Requests for a trial may be made by any party at the monthly status call on which the case appears. The Commission must first hold a hearing before issuing orders for taking depositions. The rulemaking clarifies that a proposed decision shall not be considered an admission by a party and shall not be made part of the record. Written decisions shall not contain an Arbitrator’s findings of fact and conclusions of law, separately stated, unless requested by a party. 

 

 

 

Part 9040, concerning Petitions for Review, includes the following changes: allows petitions to be filed electronically; makes numerous editing and technical corrections to this Part (last amended in 1990); states that petitions filed under named Sections of the Act shall be assigned to the original hearing Commissioner or the Commissioner assigned to the particular territory where the original hearing was held; states that interrogatories as special findings on review must be filed at the same time as the parties’ Statement of Exceptions (rather than 5 days prior to oral argument); and clarifies that if more than one party files for review, each party may file its own Statement of Exceptions and supporting briefs within 30 days from the Return Date of Review (rather than the date of closing of Proofs on Review). 

 

 

 

Amendments to Part 9050 (concerning oral arguments) state that the right to oral argument requires compliance with the provisions for Statements of Exceptions, supporting briefs and abstracts contained in 50 IAC 9040, and make technical changes to the Part, which has not been updated since 1982. 

 

 

 

The Part 9060 rulemaking, concerning judicial review of Commission actions, requires a party seeking such review to submit to the court clerk proof that a notice of intent to file for judicial review was filed with the Commission. New provisions require a party seeking review to file a copy of any remanding Order with the Commission within 30 days after receipt of the Order from the reviewing court, with a notice of filing provided to all parties. Upon receipt of such Order, the Commission shall docket the matter for hearing in the same manner as Petitions for Review, and when practical, the case shall be returned to the original Commissioner.

 

 

 

Part 9070 requires 4 settlement contracts to be filed, but only one copy need be provided for each additional case number listed in the settlement contract.  Settlement contract forms are available at a website address listed in the rulemaking. The rulemaking removes mandatory reporting requirements regarding injuries to an eye and how dependents of a decedent will be supported. When a settlement contract has been rejected by a Commissioner and re-assigned to an Arbitrator for hearing, no settlement contract may be approved by any Arbitrator. Parties may reserve the right to amend settlement contracts by stipulation and order of a Commissioner to conform to regulatory requirements such as Medicare and Social Security.

 

 

 

In Part 9090, the Commission is striking its provisions regarding attorney discipline and simply referring such cases to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

 

 

 

The Part 9100 amendments require companies that provide WC insurance benefits to provide for each client the company’s name, FEIN, and description of the company’s business operations in a manner satisfactory to the Commission. In determining whether facilities are adequate for investigation and payment of claims, a new factor is added: whether a current estimate of the expected cost for each claim is established based on facts of each claim, medical information and provisions of the Act. The estimation is not to be trended, based on discounted present value, or actuarially developed. The minimum security for self-insurance programs is $200,000. The termination of an employer’s self-insurance does not relieve the employer of its responsibility to provide the Commission with security, and security will be released when the Chairman of the Commission determines that the employer has no outstanding liability under the WC or Occupational Diseases Acts. The Commission shall have the right to obtain reimbursement for any compensation obligations paid under the Injured Workers’ Benefit Fund (IWBF) from any employer entity.  To qualify for payment from the IBWF, a claimant must file an Application for Adjustment of Claim against the employer and must have named the State Treasurer as ex-officio custodian of the IBWF as a party respondent. Two new methods of demonstrating compliance with the Act are added: 1) submitting a copy of a pooling agreement showing employer membership in a licensed group workers’ compensation pool; 2) for a firm that loans employees or supplies workers’ compensation benefits, the firm must submit, for each client, the company’s name, FEIN, address, etc. Procedures for conducting work-stop hearings triggered by an employer’s failure to provide workers’ compensation insurance are also prescribed. 

 

 

 

Part 9110 extends from 120 to 365 days the amount of time a worker can be incapacitated before a vocational rehabilitation report is required. Petitions to Suspend Compensation for Failure to Submit to Proper Medical Treatment shall be docketed and set for hearing in the same manner as Petitions for Immediate Hearing in 50 IAC 9020.80.

 

 

 

Bottom Line:  The changes in policy and procedure in these rulemakings are numerous and may affect small businesses. Readers are urged to review the rulemakings in detail.   For questions, request for copies, comments concerning the WCC rulemakings through 9/12/16, contact Ronald Rascia at (312) 814-4932 or email IWCC.Rules@Illinois.gov.  Click here to submit comments.

 

 

 

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The following regulation will impact businesses seeking state contracts: 

 

 

 

The Chief Procurement Officer for General Services proposed amendments to Standard Procurement (44 IAC 1; 40 Ill. Reg. 8884) which raises the purchase threshold for small contracts exempt from competitive bidding under the Illinois Procurement Code.  The contract ceiling for supplies and services is being raised from $50,000 to $80,000 and the ceiling for construction contracts is being raised from $70,000 to $100,000. 

 

 

 

Bottom Line:  The proposed amendment implements the changes to the small purchase threshold as recommended by the Procurement Policy Board at their December 2, 2015 meeting.  The amendment raises the small purchase threshold for supplies and services from $50,000 (currently $50,400 as adjusted by CPI increases) to $80,000 and the threshold for construction from $70,000 (currently $70,600 as adjusted by CPI increases) to $100,000.  For questions or to submit comments, contact Michelle Casey, Special Advisor and State Purchasing Officer, Chief Procurement Office for General Services, at (217) 494-5577 or email Michelle.Casey@Illinois.gov.  Click here to submit comments.

 

 

 

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The following regulation will impact businesses that receive income from video gaming terminals or have options to acquire an interest in a video gaming business:

 

 

 

The Illinois Gaming Board proposed amendments to Video Gaming (General) (11 IAC 1800; 40 Ill. Reg. 9024) amending the definition of “person with significant influence or control” over a gaming licensee to include any person or entity that receives net terminal income under a contractual agreement, or that holds an option agreement to acquire an equity stake in a terminal operator licensee.  (A person with significant influence or control is subject to more stringent disclosure and reporting requirements.) 

 

 

 

Bottom Line:  The rulemaking amends the definition of a “person with significant influence or control” (PSIC) in Sections 1800.110 and 1800.430 c) to include the following categories of persons:

 

 

 

  • Any person or entity receiving any net terminal income pursuant to contractual agreement
  • Any person or entity holding an option agreement to acquire an equity stake in a terminal operator licensee
  • Persons and entities in the above two categories should be classified as PSICs because they can potentially exercise significant influence or control over the licensees with which they have entered into agreements.
  • As PSICs these categories of persons will be required to comply with more extensive disclosure requirements in connection with license application and renewals, and be subject to continuing duty to report information as provided by Section 1800.220.

 

 

For questions or to submit comments, contact Agostino Lorenzini, General Counsel, Illinois Gaming Board, or email James.Pellum@igb.illinois.gov. Click here to submit comments.