Every year, there are seemingly more and more challenges that have the potential to affect the operations of IHLA member hotels.
IHLA works in partnership with member hoteliers throughout the State who serve on IHLA's Governmental Affairs Committee and who serve as Regional Captains to identify and discuss political, legislative, and regulatory issues to assure that hotels can continue to operate successfully without unreasonable government interference.
IHLA is the strong and collective voice for IHLA members in advocating the industry's position on political, legislative, and regulatory issues that have the potential to impact the success of our hotel members in Illinois.
Governmental affairs initiatives on behalf of and for our members include:
- Hosting a LOBBY DAY in Springfield, Illinois every year to encourage and provide the opportunity for political advocacy by IHLA members through meetings and visits with Members of the Illinois General Assembly.
- Managing a very financially successful political action fund (I.H.M.P.A.C.) that is used to support friends and champions of our industry, through voluntary contributions by IHLA membership and various fundraising opportunities throughout the year.
- Hosting and attending a number of fundraising events for elected officials. IHLA encourages its members to attend these events and develop relationships with their elected officials.
- Developing close working relationships with State Constitutional Officers, Members of the Illinois General Assembly, and Directors of Key State Agencies in order to continue educating them on the hotel and tourism industry.
- Developing close working relationships with the Mayor of Chicago, City of Chicago Alderman, and Cook County Board in order to continue identifying issues of importance to the hotel & tourism industry.
- Addressing various issues that might develop at the local level and assisting when necessary to resolve issues favorably for IHLA members by working with various Regional Captains and local hotel chapters.
- Working diligently every year to defeat and/or amend legislative and/or regulatory proposals, both at the state and local levels, which would adversely impact IHLA membership.
- Working diligently every year to pass legislation and/or regulatory proposals, both at the state and local level, which would benefit IHLA members.
Examples of recent regulations that IHLA successfully defeated and/or amended include legislation that would have:
- Allowed non-home rule cities to lift current state restrictions on using hotel tax revenues for other than tourism purposes.
- Given the state and local Public Health Departments overreaching and unreasonable regulatory authority over bedbug infestation in hotels.
- Redefined a "permanent resident", requiring that "person" to occupy the same room for 90 consecutive days.
- Required employers with over 20 employees to provide an hour of paid sick time for each 40 hours worked, with a minimum of 2 days per calendar year.
- Increased the state minimum wage to $10.75 per hour and eliminated the current "tip credit" for tipped employees.
- Required hotels to immediately upgrade their telephone systems to place a 9-1-1 call directly from the room.
Examples of recent regulatory proposals that IHLA successfully implemented to benefit IHLA members include:
- Comprehensive overhaul of the way the McCormick Place Convention Facility is managed and operated, including elimination of onerous work rules.
- Increase in the airport departure tax at O'Hare and Midway airports, with the funds dedicated to convention and tourism marketing.
- Significant increase in tourism funding for the past several years. This is especially significant in the recent years of economic turmoil and budget cuts across every industry.
- Reduction of the local match for state-source international and local tourism dollars from 100% to 50%. This allowed more access to the money and eliminated money being returned to the General Fund.
- Clarification and direction for IHLA members from the Illinois Department of Public Health on the implementation of the State of Illinois of regulations imposed by the U. S. Department on the installation of permanent pool lifts.
- Amendment of the state's liquor laws, including the repeal of regulations requiring duplicate liquor licenses and separate storage facilities for single venues with multiple serving outlets, "happy hour " laws, and other provisions.
- Legislation that provides for an incentive, paid from state hotel tax receipts, to mid-sized convention centers to attract out-of-state conventions that utilize a minimum number of hotel stays.
For questions about IHLA's Governmental Affairs Initiatives, please contact:
Brenda Jo Jacob
Director of Governmental Affairs
BJacob@IllinoisHotels.org | 217-522-1231