LOCAL 1260
Leg. Updates and Newsletter
Updated On: Jun 14, 2011


AFFI Legislative Update
Both chambers of the General Assembly met from Tuesday to Thursday last week and the Governor presented an outline of his budget. Over two thousand more bills were introduced and the AFFI Legislative Committee analyzed all legislation affecting union firefighters and their families.
We have contacted a majority of the new legislators in both the Senate and House to introduce them to our organization and discuss the issues most important to our membership.. The conversations are going well. We have pledged to keep them informed about our legislative positions and work with them on issues that pertain to us.
Two more AFFI initiatives were introduced in the House last week and assigned a number. You will recall from the February 10 update that we were waiting for a handful of bills we are pursuing to be introduced.
HB 1576 (Rep. Dugan) Exam of Firefighter Applicants. This bill creates a fair and standard system for municipalities and districts to follow when hiring new firefighters. It also provides an option for local units of government to utilize a statewide hiring list under the direction of the Joint Labor Management Committee and Office of the State Fire Marshal. The AFFI has negotiated with the Illinois Fire Chiefs and the Illinois Municipal League on this bill for over a year. 
HB 1605 (Rep. Moffitt) County/Municipal Charity Solicitation in Public Roadway.  The bill would allow public safety personnel to solicit for charity in public roadways. We have been working with the MDA over the last couple of months in hopes of following laws that recently passed in Texas and California.
We plan to file a bill on Tuesday that will allow our brothers and sisters in Bedford Park to transfer their creditable service from IMRF to IMRF-SLEP as well as add occupational disability language from Article 4.
We were successful this week in carving firefighters OUT of HB 1325 that authorizes each pension fund and retirement system to establish and administer an optional retirement plan. The sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Harris, listened to our concerns and understood our position. Prior to leaving his office he informed us that firefighters would be excluded from the bill.            
As you might imagine, there are several other bills we are monitoring. We have initiated discussions with legislators to determine the intent of those bills as well as the likelihood of pursuing the issue. As the session unfolds we will have a good grasp of bills that need our absolute and immediate attention. Until then we continue to talk to legislators and update our watch lists on a daily basis.
This week HB 1427, an AFFI initiative, is assigned to the Labor Committee in the House. The legislation increases the population threshold in the Worker Comp Act from 200,000 to 500,000. Currently, only firefighters and police officers that work in communities with a population less than 200,000 are eligible to receive full benefits under the Act. The City of Chicago does not participate in worker comp for firefighters except for injuries that result in serious and permanent disfigurement due to burns.  Although the most recent census data did not result in any municipalities outside the City of Chicago obtaining a population over 200,000, we have a few that are very close. The AFFI is being proactive by increasing the population threshold in the Act to ensure all injured firefighters receive comprehensive worker comp protection- now and in the future.
We will continue to keep you up to date on a weekly basis. Shawn Gillis will also Facebook and Twitter any timely events.
As always, please contact your District Legislative Rep. if you have questions or concerns.
Eddy Crews, Chairman
Richard Martin, PAC Treasurer
Chuck Sullivan, Secretary
Pat Devaney, President          
AFFI Legislative Update
Due to the severe winter storm last week, the General Assembly cancelled session. On Tuesday, February 8, both chambers opened session at noon and worked thru Thursday. As of this writing, 2,303 Senate Bills and 1,500 House Bills have been introduced in the General Assembly.
Ten AFFI initiatives have been introduced and assigned a bill number. We are still waiting on six others to be read into the record and assigned. A synopsis of our initiatives will be discussed below.
As is the case at the beginning of a new session, a tremendous number of bills are introduced and assigned. Please know that the AFFI Legislative Committee looks at every bill introduced and evaluates its impact on our membership.
The current economic condition of our state and local governments is being used to justify legislation to diminish public employee’s wages, rights and benefits. You can be assured that every piece of legislation that negatively affects our membership is being discussed with the sponsors and supporters of the bill. There are a handful of bills that don’t directly affect AFFI members, but do affect our brothers and sisters in other public employee unions affiliated with state government. We are working closely with the AFL-CIO affiliates to stand united as we know many of these issues will become local government initiatives.
We truly appreciate the fact that many members have shown an increased interest in the political process and follow issues closely on face book, twitter and the ILGA website. While at times it may be frustrating to discover a legislator has introduced legislation that seems detrimental to our profession, we must realize that thousands of bills get filed each year. Many of which are politically motivated or fruitless attempts to appeal to constituency. Regardless of the times, the AFFI will continue to do what it has done since 1935 -   advocate in a professional and courteous manner and completely understand all the language in a bill prior to communicating (in any form) with legislators. Our organization has been very successful over the years and it’s not just because we are firefighters. It is due to the fact that our membership understands the political process, we are loyal to our friends, we NEVER fabricate what a bill may or may not do, and when the membership is called to action, legislators take notice.
AFFI Initiatives:
HB 80 (Acevedo) Allows for Article 4 (Downstate Firefighters) and Article 6 (Chicago Firefighters) pension system reciprocity.
HB 182 (Lang) Defines very strictly how local governments may consolidate fire protection services and how cost savings shall be realized. This bill is a “shell” currently. Language will be added shortly.
HB 183 (Saviano) Requires the employer to pay for the cost of the review process after completion of a promotion test.
HB 296 (Phelps) If a public employer obtains a stay of an arbitration panel's order pending judicial review and the final decision of the court is adverse, then all reasonable costs of the proceedings in the reviewing courts including reasonable attorneys' fees, as determined by the court, shall be paid by the public employer.
HB 1201 (Lyons) Allows for annuitants/survivors who were catastrophically injured or killed regardless of date to qualify for the Public Employee Disability Act. This was not an AFFI initiative but we will obviously advocate for it.
HB 1427 (Bradley) Increases the city population floor (from 200,000 to 500,000) limiting the ability of police officers and fire fighters to be considered "employees" under the Worker Compensation Act.
SB 101 (Holmes) Adds Parkinson’s disease to the presumptive disability section of the Worker Occupational Disease Act.
SB 1251 (Frerichs) Allows a retired firefighter one opportunity to re-apply to municipal health insurance plan if the member opted not to remain on health plan when initially retiring.
SB 1278 (Harmon) Provides that any benefit to be received by or paid to a dependent beneficiary may be received by or paid to a trust established for such dependent beneficiary if the dependent beneficiary is living at the time such benefit would be received by or paid to such trust.
SB 2072 (Link) This is a “shell” bill currently. Language will be added to it shortly that meets the requirements of a convention resolution concerning secondary employment.
SB 2199 (Noland) This allows brothers and sisters in Barrington to transfer credible service from IMRF to Article 4.
The following initiatives have not yet been assigned a number. We anticipate these to be assigned next week:
HB xxxx(Dugan) Allows brothers and sisters in Bedford Park to transfer creditable service from IMRF to IMRF-SLEP
HBxxxx (Moffitt) Allows for public safety officers to solicit for charitable organizations in roadways.
HBxxxx (Dugan) Creates an option for municipalities/districts to hire firefighters from a statewide list maintained by the Office of the State Fire Marshal. Further defines hiring process for local governments that choose to continue creating their own hire list.
HBxxxx (Moffitt) Creates language in the Foreign Fire Insurance statute dealing with fees.
HBxxxx (Moffitt) Senior Retiree Pension Compounding
Again, there are bills we are adamantly opposed to and discussions have taken place. The Sponsors know our position and they appreciated the fact that we came to speak with them. We have been asked to supply them with additional information. In next week’s update we will let you know which bills are listed in our opposed file.
Should any of you wish to have an AFFI Legislative Representative speak at one of your Local union meetings please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Eddy Crews, Northern Dist Leg Rep
Richard Martin, Southern Dist Leg Rep
Chuck Sullivan, Central Dist Leg Rep
Pat Devaney, President

AFFI Legislative Update 1-15-11

The General Assembly just completed what may have been one of the busiest weeks in recent memory. The lame duck session of the 96th General Assembly completed its work at 1:20 am on Wednesday morning. The AFFI Legislative Committee made its presence known throughout the last week beginning Sunday morning when we learned of legislation that would have removed virtually every Fire Company Officer from a bargaining unit. While perhaps not the intent of the original bill, the resulting consequence would have effectively removed fire lieutenants, captains, and battalion chiefs from a union and reclassified them as non-bargaining unit positions.
The AFFI Legislative Committee acted swiftly in lobbying Executive Committee members and worked with staff to ensure an amendment was drafted and filed that exempted not only AFFI members from the bill, but all local government employees. President Devaney testified before the Executive Committee on Sunday afternoon, and Sunday evening a floor amendment was adopted ensuring AFFI members would not be affected by the legislation.
A bill that would require a 3/5 majority vote on any pension benefits made its way to third reading on the House but was not called. Obviously, organized labor was heavily opposed and made legislators aware.
A bill that reformed the Worker Compensation Act died a slow death after several amendments and intense negotiating/lobbying. The AFFI along with the AFL-CIO, Trial Attorneys, Doctors, and Hospitals all opposed the legislation. The Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Manufacturers Association representing businesses were strong proponents of the bill.
Many AFFI members responded to requests to contact their legislators concerning the above mentioned bills. We cannot thank you enough for taking the time to voice your opinion. We believe it made an impact. Database Manager Shawn Gillis was most helpful in relaying pertinent information via Face-book and Twitter.
On Wednesday at noon the 97th General Assembly was sworn in. Twenty-three new legislators took their oath and began work. While we were successful in eliminating bills that had drastic consequences for our membership, we cannot rest for a minute as there are already new threats before us.
As you know, public employee unions have come under attack on a variety of issues over the past year. We are working closely with the AFL-CIO and public employee affiliates to combat these unsubstantiated attacks. We meet on January 26th in Burr Ridge to continue strategy discussions and develop a working plan.
We anticipate another onslaught of bills detrimental to firefighters and are prepared to defend the rights and benefits our members deserve.
By the end of next week we hope to have bill numbers for all of the AFFI initiatives. There are fifteen pieces we will be introducing in the 97th General Assembly.
Please mark your calendars for March 29-31. These are the dates for the Annual Fran Gambro AFFI Legislative Conference in Springfield. Please plan to attend and bring as many members from your Local as possible. This is a fantastic conference that gives you an up close look of how important the legislative process is for our organization.
Again, we thank you for your support this past week and during the last two years of the 96th General Assembly. The AFFI passed legislation that further defined Military Leave, obtained Foreign Fire Insurance Boards for Fire Districts, and secured a compounding pension COLA for our most senior retirees. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, every current AFFI member still retains the same countless rights and benefits prevously secured for them by our organization. Not an easy feat in this climate.
As the 97th General Assembly begins, we will continue to pursue legislation beneficial to our profession and the AFFI membership. We will also fight off any legislation that guts, cuts, or in any way reduces a right or benefit that an AFFI member currently possesses.     
The AFFI Legislative Committee
Eddy Crews, Chairman
Richard Martin, PAC Treasurer
Chuck Sullivan, Secretary
Pat Devaney, President


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