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Illinois Chamber Releases Legislative Ratings for the 97th General Assembly (2011-2012)

The Illinois Chamber’s biennial legislative ratings reflect a very active 2011-12 as the legislature began to address major public policy issues facing Illinois that could no longer be ignored. However, its leadership approached those issues in a way that was too often incremental, contradictory and frustrating to employers.Key roll call votes chosen for rating analysis include important legislation that brought reforms to state government and improved the business climate.  Yet, the actions also include frustratingly counterproductive measures – such as the largest tax increase in the state’s history – that continue to send employers mixed messages about the direction our political leadership is taking the state.The Chamber rated more bills than usual due to the activist nature of this legislature, but also because the Chamber secured the passage of more legislative initiatives during this two year period than in any other General Assembly in more than 15 years.The Illinois Chamber’s government affairs program performed the bulk of the bill drafting and carried much of the necessary work to secure passage of legislation dealing with:

  • Workers compensation;
  • Independent review of state tax assessments;
  • Environmental permitting;
  • Environmental regulation;
  • Procurement reform;
  • Pipeline construction;
  • Healthcare overhaul implementation;
  • Employment law.

The ratings also include votes on important governmental reforms to demonstrate that the business community will hold legislators of both parties accountable for continued reform and management of state government operations.  Legislators that received the highest ratings this year demonstrated a commitment to employer issues. They demonstrated a serious commitment to government reforms that are essential to reversing our state’s negative image for excessive political corruption and anti-business policies.   And, they showed a commitment to nurturing an economic turnaround by demonstrating support for private sector job growth.

About the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Legislative Ratings

The ratings are based on legislators’ votes on the key business legislation of the 97th General Assembly. The issues selected for review were determined by staff and the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee. The votes in the Senate and House are selected based on their impact on the business community. In cases where more than one roll call was taken on a bill, the vote that best demonstrates support for employers’ vital interests was chosen. If employers expect a more business friendly culture in Springfield, they must educate themselves on the actual record of their elected representatives and hold them accountable for it by challenging or supporting their actions.

The 2011-2012 Champions of Free Enterprise

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize legislators that have made special contributions in the defense of free enterprise, and the furtherance of economic opportunities for Illinoisans. Legislators with Illinois Chamber ratings averaging 85% or better over the previous two General Assemblies (four years) have demonstrated their commitment to legislation that frees the entrepreneurial spirit and qualify for the award.

The Chamber also recognizes two legislators serving their first term in office for demonstrating their commitment towards the promotion of free enterprise. State Senator Ron Sandack of Downers Grove is recognized as Outstanding Freshman Senator. State Representative Mike Unes of East Peoria is recognized as Outstanding Freshman Representative. The Champions of Free Enterprise Awards are presented biennially.

Senate Award Winners House Award Winners
Senator Pam Althoff Representative Patti Bellock
Senator Tim Bivins Representative Dan Brady
Senator Bill Brady Representative Mike Connelly
Senator Kirk Dillard House Republican Leader Tom Cross
Senator Dan Duffy Representative Jim Durkin
Senator Chris Lauzen Representative Mike Fortner
Senator Kyle McCarter Representative Kay Hatcher
Senator John Milner Representative Chad Hays
Senator Matt Murphy Representative Renée Kosel
Senator Carole Pankau Representative JoAnn Osmond
Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno Representative Tim Schmitz
Senator Dale Righter Representative Darlene Senger
Senator Ron Sandack Representative Keith Sommer
Senator Dave Syverson Representative Ed Sullivan, Jr.
Representative Jil Tracy
Representative Mike Tryon
Representative Michael Unes
Representative Dave Winters


By receiving this award, legislators can be assured of automatic endorsement for their re-election campaigns by the Illinois Chamber. Representatives Tom Cross and Mike Tryon achieved perfect scores over the four years reviewed for determining the Champion of Free Enterprise Award.

During this two year period seven House Republicans and three Senate Republicans earned 100% ratings. Sixteen House Democrats earned a score of 60% or higher. Only one Senate Democrat earned a score above 60%, while seven others earned a score of 50% or better.

Please click here  to view the entire listing of Senate & House bills, voting records and Chamber positions evaluated during the current two year term.

The Next 55 Days are Critical

Electing pro-business candidates is critical this year; no state has a greater need for pro-business legislators than does Illinois. Every business manager and owner should take an interest in the Chamber’s five point Jobs Agenda (achieve fiscal integrity, reduce the cost of doing business, improve workforce readiness, invest in infrastructure and restore fairness to our courts) and ask candidates to embrace these fundamental tenets to assure an attentive and responsive state government.

We encourage you to attend political events and talk with candidates about business issues like taxes and workers’ compensation costs. We urge you to make political contributions to candidates who will pursue pro-growth policies and support Illinois’ employers.

In fact, the Illinois Chamber provides an avenue to focus your contributions to candidates we know will promote a pro-business agenda. The Chamber PAC allows donors to support pro-business candidates indirectly and without concern that your name, the name of your business or the size of your contribution will be associated with a particular candidate. You can donate to the Chamber PAC with full confidence that your contribution will help deserving candidates in priority races that will make a difference for employers. You do not have to be a member of the Illinois Chamber to make a contribution to the Chamber PAC. You need only be a concerned citizen who seeks a means to improve the business climate by promoting prosperity and opportunity in Illinois.

Because the Illinois Chamber has a state-wide reach, Chamber PAC offers an excellent means by which business people can give funds to pro-business candidates who may not necessarily be in your back yard. Many election outcomes were determined in the March primary, so if you don’t have a high priority and highly competitive race in your neighborhood, consider using the Chamber PAC to make sure your campaign contributions make their way to other parts of the state where they can do the most good.

Take Action Now

  1. You can make a credit card contribution to Chamber PAC by clicking here. You can send a personal check (any amount up to $10,000 from an individual and $20,000 from a couple) and/or send a company check (any amount up to $20,000) to: Chamber PAC, 215 East Adams Street, Springfield, Illinois, 62701.
  1. A copy of the Chamber PAC report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board’s official website or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.
  1. Forward this email to family, friends, and business associates and urge them to become informed about how their favorite legislators are voting on important business issues.

To view the Chamber’s Legislative Scorecard or to find more information about pending and emerging public policy issues in Illinois visit the Illinois Chamber website.





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