Wheeler Bills Important to Lake and McHenry Counties Signed By Governor

Despite the ongoing budget impasse in Springfield, three of State Representative Barbara Wheeler’s (R-Crystal Lake) bills important to Lake and McHenry County taxpayers have been signed into law. House Bill 299, which deals with court security officers, House Bill 437, which deals with compostable waste, and Senate Bill 38, which address an overtime pay loophole, were all signed by Gov. Rauner last week.

“Though the Governor and Democratic leaders may be at a standstill in Springfield over a balanced budget, I’m glad that a strong level of cooperation allowed these bills to pass and be signed into law quickly,” said Wheeler. “These three bills address important issues that directly impact our communities here in Lake and McHenry Counties and I’m glad I was able to sponsor these bills in the House.”

House Bill 299 provide a direct benefit to a unique problem in Lake and McHenry Counties with regards to security offices in each county’s court system.

In Illinois, many counties hire court security officers through their County Sheriff’s Departments, which makes officers hired in this manner subject to the disciplinary rules of the Illinois Sheriff’s Merit Commission. However, in four Illinois Counties, Lake and McHenry Counties being among them, a structure exists in which some officers are hired directly by the court system and not the Sheriff’s Department. Due to this, it was unclear how to deal with disciplinary matters for these officers and led to a legal conundrum. HB299 clarifies that only officers hired as certified applicants through the Sheriff’s Merit Commission will be disciplined under those guidelines, while other officers will be subject to the guidelines upon which they were hired.

House Bill 437 authorizes municipalities and counties to approve one-day compostable waste collection events. Creation of these one-day events, which will be operated in a manner similar to one-day yard sale events, will encourage homeowners to work with compostable waste collectors to turn their yard waste and compostable household garbage into useful materials. This bill became necessary as more and more communities banned the burning of lawn waste, leaving homeowners with few options to dispose of the waste.

Senate Bill 38 amended a loophole in the minimum wage law that allowed union contract employees to receive overtime pay for working non-traditional hours though they hadn’t exceeded normal weekly work hours. This bill clarifies that if a contract included an alternate shift schedule then overtime hours will only be paid when a worker actually exceeds the normal amount of hours in a work week, like it is for other non-union workers.

House Bill 299 and Senate Bill 38 take effect on January 1, 2016, while House Bill 437 is effective immediately.