The General Assembly returned to Springfield this week for the annual fall session. The House was in Tuesday and Wednesday and the Senate was in Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
- House Bill 506 (Currie/Munoz), which sought to empower county assessors throughout the state to file tax liens against homeowners who receive one or more homestead exemptions they are not eligible to receive, was DEFEATED on the Senate floor on a roll call vote of 27-20-3 (30 votes needed for passage). HOWEVER, the chief sponsor used a parliamentary procedure to keep the bill alive for a possible second vote and the measure is now on the calendar under the order of “Consideration Postponed”. The sponsor has extended the deadline for final consideration to January 8, 2013 which is the last day of the 97th General Assembly. WE MUST REMAIN ACTIVE ON THIS ISSUE SO IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE SO ALREADY, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SENATOR AND URGE THEM TO VOTE NO IN ITS CURRENT FORM. The IAR has OPPOSED this measure for the past two sessions and we continued the fight in the fall session as we reiterated our belief that while property taxpayers should not be allowed to claim multiple homestead exemptions we OPPOSE the way the language in the legislation has been drafted. Among our concerns: the bill was not focused solely on those who are committing fraud- under the current system homestead exemptions are often automatically renewed and there can be those facing significant back taxes and penalties and interest without any “knowing and willful” intent to give false information; once a tax lien is filed the amounts are due and payable- along with those SIGNIFICANT penalty and interest charges within 30 days after the mailing of the lien; the collection of back taxes could be authorized EVEN if there was an erroneous homestead exemption granted as a result of a clerical error or omission on the part of the assessment officer; and perhaps most fundamental: there were no changes to the system at the front-end to ensure compliance. IAR OPPOSES THIS BILL.
- The Senate approved House Bill 4074 (Flowers/Sullivan) this week on a roll call vote of 50-0-0. This bill, first considered in the spring session, was the vehicle for the provisions related to the agreement between the IAR and the Illinois Auctioneers Association on the issue of the auctioning of real estate. Senate Amendment #1 that was attached to HB 4074 creates a new Section 5-32 creating real estate auction certification within the Real Estate License Act. This new Section provides that an auctioneer licensed under the Auction License Act who does not have a valid/active broker’s or managing broker’s license may not engage in the practice of auctioning real estate unless they have been issued a real estate auction certification. Applicants must possess a valid auctioneer’s license, successfully complete a real estate auction course of at least 30 hours, successfully complete an examination and any other reasonable requirements that the IDFPR provides by rule. The agreed language limits the role of the auctioneer, requiring key brokerage activities to be performed by a person holding a valid and active real estate broker’s or managing broker’s license or by a person otherwise exempt from licensure. All advertising for the real estate auction must contain the name and address of the licensed real estate broker/managing broker providing brokerage services. A licensed real estate broker or managing broker does NOT have to obtain a real estate auction certification to auction real estate. In the past there were efforts by the auctioneer lobby to exempt auctioneers who sell real estate from the Real Estate License Act and to require real estate licensees who sell real property at auction to have an auctioneer’s license. The bill has been sent back to the House for a concurrence vote. IAR SUPPORTS THIS BILL.
- Senate Bill 3338 (Harmon/Currie) was swiftly approved by both chambers this week to amend the Illinois Election Code to modify the dates of the special primary election and special general to fill the vacancy in the 2nd Congressional district to coincide with the consolidated primary election February 26, 2013 and the April 9, 2013 consolidated election. This legislative change was required due to the Election Code specifying the number of days that an election must be held when there is a vacancy in Congress. This will be a cost savings to local governments to hold the elections simultaneously.