Bourne Proposes “Downstate Illinois” Bill Filed Thursday

By Benjamin Cox on February 17, 2020 at 11:18am

An Illinois lawmaker is looking to define “downstate Illinois” when it comes to the state’s legislative and regulatory processes. The law would separate out Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties. It would create regulatory flexibility on amendments to rules in the state’s agencies to provide for the effect on the defined “downstate Illinois” counties and make the agency give pause on the impacts of the rules on small businesses, non-profits, small municipalities, and persons and entities in downstate.

The agencies in the state would be forced to establish less stringent compliance or reporting requirements, less stringent schedules or deadlines in rule compliance, consolidate or simplify reporting , and/or establish separate performance standards. The new law could also allow for downstate to be exempt from laws and rules created by state agencies if they lie in downstate. It also requires inclusion of downstate entities or representatives in the rule-making process for all state agencies. It would also require the Business Assistance Office to create impact studies on downstate Illinois small businesses. The law also defines small business as less than 50 employees and grossing less than $4 million annually in revenue.

95th District Republican Representative Avery Bourne of Raymond filed the downstate bill, House Bill 5030, for the legislative session on Thursday. The bill is a possible extension of the Illinois separation movement that has gained significant traction around the state over the past 2 years.