SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Pritzker: ‘Devil’s in the details’ when considering lifting ban on new nuclear

By JERRY NOWICKI
& NIKA SCHOONOVER
Capitol News Illinois
news@capitolnewsillinois.com

SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers went on a two-week spring break last week with more than 700 bills already passed in at least one chamber of the General Assembly.

They will return to Springfield on April 18 for a final one-month stretch in which the measures can be amended, defeated or sent to the governor.

Among the bills to successfully move to the other chamber are a measure to lift the state’s 1987 moratorium on nuclear power plant construction, a bill that would create statewide building codes and another requiring retail establishments to accept cash payments within certain hours.

Gov. JB Pritzker noted last week that he’s generally supportive of the concept of lifting the nuclear construction ban, although he didn’t commit to signing the proposal contained in Senate Bill 76, which passed on a 39-13 bipartisan roll call.

Pritzker said he is supportive of allowing for the construction of small modular nuclear reactors, which are small-scale generators that could be used to power individual factories or for other uses.

He said he didn’t think doing so would be contradictory to the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act that he signed in 2021. Some environmentalists have opposed lifting the nuclear ban due to the dangers associated with nuclear waste.

“These are smaller, less prone to an accident, more likely for us to be able to maintain them for a long period of time, that’s something that’s worthy of consideration,” Pritzker said. “Now the devil’s in the details and we want to make sure that we’re not just opening this up to nuclear everywhere or any type of nuclear.”

SB 76, as written, would allow any type of nuclear construction, including the large-scale projects.

“I don’t know where that bill will go this session, but I’m not opposed to it as if I’m, you know, just dead set against any nuclear,” he said. “I just want, if we’re going to consider it, it’s got to be safe.”

 

Statewide building codes

Beginning in 2025, Illinois could have statewide building codes for new or substantially renovated commercial and residential construction under a bill that passed the Senate before break.

Sponsored by Dave Koehler, D-Peoria, Senate Bill 2368 allows the state’s Capital Development Board to prohibit occupation of such a facility until it is inspected. The building would have to be compliant with several state or federal building codes for electricity, energy efficiency, accessibility, and plumbing, as well as the Fire Investigation Act.

“Basically, what this does is establishes a statewide building code as a minimum standard,” Koehler said during floor debate. “Now most communities are going to have well above the minimum standard. But the reason that this is important is because Illinois is one of only six states in the union that does not have a statewide building code.”

Koehler said when Illinois has a natural disaster and applies for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the state has to check a box noting it doesn’t currently have such a code.

“And so it costs us money,” he said.

The bill would require municipalities with existing building codes to adopt at least the newly created statewide minimum standard and submit their plans to the state. A homeowner renovating a residential property in a jurisdiction without a building code would have to adopt the code of any jurisdiction within 100 miles of the construction in the contract with their builder.

Otherwise, it would have to comply with the new statewide standards, which apply to new construction and any renovations that increase the property’s value by 50 percent or more. 

Republicans questioned whether a statewide code would be enforceable in smaller towns.

“It’s up to a municipality as to how they want to enforce it,” Koehler said. “The Capital Development Board is responsible for having organizations say that they’re, you know, what codes they have and all that. In terms of who enforces that? I don’t know.”

Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, used a small town in his district as an example to speak against the bill.

“In Metcalf, Illinois, they don’t have anybody to mow the lawn, okay, let alone inspect a house,” Rose said. “But more importantly, you’re telling an awful lot of people who couldn’t afford to repair and maintain their home in the first place that we just doubled or tripled the bill. And there may or may not be some guy from the (Capital Development Board) knocking on their door.”

The measure passed 34-18 with one present vote and it awaits action in the House.

 

Cash requirements

Lawmakers advanced a bill that would mandate retail establishments to accept cash for purchases under $750. Senate Bill 1979 passed 40-16 in the Senate with mainly Democratic support.

Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, is the bill’s lead sponsor. He said SB 1979 is aimed at protecting “underbanked and unbanked” people who only carry cash.

“This bill is making sure that those folks…have an ability to still purchase needed things,” Aquino said. “Getting fuel, getting their medicine at the pharmacy, getting food on the table that they’re able to purchase from groceries and restaurants.”

The bill also says retail establishments can’t charge a higher price to customers paying with cash. SB 1979 also exempts restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores from the requirement between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. in an effort to protect against robbery.

“It goes directly into trying to keep people safe,” Aquino said of the time exemption. “Businesses are accepting cash, we’re just trying to get ahead of the trend that looks like more locations are going for a non-cash payment.”

Debate on the measure centered around the question of accessibility versus safety, with Republican opponents arguing that mandating businesses to accept cash was putting them at risk.

“What I’m concerned about is the small businessman who operates in an area that he’s worried about theft, or he’s worried about robbery, and he chooses how he runs his business to operate in a certain area,” said Sen. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy.

Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, added that not all robberies occur at night.

“These businesses, some have been ransacked, and the times in which they were ransacked in the last several years was not between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.,” McClure said. “They were in broad daylight, and we are seeing that more and more.”

The bill also notes that retailers are not required to accept any denomination of currency larger than a $20 bill.

A violation could result in a $50 fine for the retail establishment, $100 for a second offense in a 12-month period or $500 for a third offense during that period. No establishment could be fined more than $5,000 in one year.

 

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide, as well as hundreds of radio and TV stations. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Leave a Comment





Local News

Marist basketball player Darshan Thomas at an XposureRuns unsigned seniors event. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

XposureRuns seeks to raise profile of high school hoops players

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent While some people are leaving Illinois in search of opportunities elsewhere, some are coming to the state and creating their own opportunities for themselves and others. Mustafa Sulaiman, a native of Philadelphia who now lives in south suburban Matteson, is trying to help pave the way to college for…

Red Stars goalie Mackenzie Wood makes a save in a July 20 Summer Cup match against Gotham. IMAGN photo

Gotham tops Red Stars in PKs after scoreless draw

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent It’s rare to see the Chicago Red Stars participate in shootouts because NWSL regular-season games end in regulation, so fans got a treat on July 20. Gotham knocked off the Red Stars 5-4 on penalty kicks after regulation ended in a scoreless draw during the first round of the…

St. Rita graduate Sir Jamison Jones is ready to sign a deal with the Washington Nationals, who selected him in the 2024 MLB draft. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Players from Nazareth and St. Rita taken in 2024 MLB draft

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Three players from the area were selected in the 2024 Major League Baseball draft, which took place July 14-16. Pitcher Ryan Smith, who graduated from Nazareth in 2021 and ended up at Illinois-Chicago, was taken by Houston in the ninth round of the draft. Smith, who underwent Tommy John…

The Green Hills Public Library District, 10331 Interlochen Dr., Palos Hills, is hosting a Back-to-School Collection Drive from now until Friday, August 9. (Supplied photo)

Green Hills Library collecting back-to-school supplies

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White It may still be summer but the Green Hills Public Library District is preparing students for their return to the classroom. The library, 10331 Interlochen Dr., Palos Hills, is hosting a Back-to-School Collection Drive from now until Friday, August 9. “One of my biggest goals as a librarian has always…

The Oak Lawn Public Library's “Jazz Music Legends of Oak Lawn" exhibit will be on display at the library, 9427 Raymond Ave., Oak Lawn, throughout 2024 and into the Spring of ’25, and celebrates one of the biggest high school jazz competitions in the country, the Oak Lawn Jazz Festival, which was held from 1960 to 1986 at Oak Lawn Community High School. (Supplied photos)

Oak Lawn Library hosts Jazz Music Legends of Oak Lawn

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White The sweet sounds of jazz have filled the Oak Lawn Public Library. Patrons were invited out on April 27 for the unveiling of the library’s latest Local History exhibit, “Jazz Music Legends of Oak Lawn.” The exhibit will be on display at the library, 9427 Raymond Ave., Oak Lawn, for…

Smith Valley resident, Eloise Johnson, and Miguel Candelas, Smith Senior Living Human Resources, worked together creating her time capsule memory last Wednesday afternoon. (Supplied photo)

Smith Village residents and employees celebrate 100 years of senior living

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White Residents at Smith Village residents and employees celebrated the 100th year of the senior living community by forecasting the future. Hundreds of Smith Village residents and employees at Smith Village, 2320 W. 113th Place, Chicago, along with community leaders and elected officials, marked the senior living community’s anniversary by looking…

A statue from a monument lies on the ground at Resurrection Cemetery in Justice. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

EF1 tornado barrels through Justice and Bridgeview

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan An EF1 tornado, packing winds of 90 miles per hour, swept through Justice and Bridgeview Monday night. Village of Justice Public Works Director Joe Cekus said he knew trouble was on the way. “I was looking in the sky for rotation and I heard a train,” he said. “I quickly…

Two pickup trucks in the 7400 block of Roberts Road in Bridgeview were destroyed by fire. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Bridgeview family loses two pickup trucks, but house is saved

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch A Bridgeview family in the 7400 block of Roberts Road knows first-hand the damage weather can do. When high winds hit around 9:30 p.m. Monday as a tornado blew through Justice, a cemetery and then into Bridgeview, two power lines were brought down near their bi-level house. One line fell…

Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois at Orland Square Mall on Friday. (Photo by Allie Baar)

Rihanna to open Savage X Fenty store in Orland Park on Friday

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Barbados superstar Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois on Friday morning in Orland Square Mall in Orland Park. The singer, actor and businesswoman will open the store at the mall’s lower level near the Coach store at 10 a.m. Savage X Fenty will host a…

The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on July 13. (Supplied photo)

Palos Park encourages residents to unplug

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on Saturday, July 13. The day is a state-wide effort, started in 2014, to encourage everyone to “plug into” the amazing recreational opportunities offered by local park and recreation agencies. The…

Neighbors

Marist basketball player Darshan Thomas at an XposureRuns unsigned seniors event. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

XposureRuns seeks to raise profile of high school hoops players

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent While some people are leaving Illinois in search of opportunities elsewhere, some are coming to the state and creating their own opportunities for themselves and others. Mustafa Sulaiman, a native of Philadelphia who now lives in south suburban Matteson, is trying to help pave the way to college for…

Red Stars goalie Mackenzie Wood makes a save in a July 20 Summer Cup match against Gotham. IMAGN photo

Gotham tops Red Stars in PKs after scoreless draw

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent It’s rare to see the Chicago Red Stars participate in shootouts because NWSL regular-season games end in regulation, so fans got a treat on July 20. Gotham knocked off the Red Stars 5-4 on penalty kicks after regulation ended in a scoreless draw during the first round of the…

St. Rita graduate Sir Jamison Jones is ready to sign a deal with the Washington Nationals, who selected him in the 2024 MLB draft. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Players from Nazareth and St. Rita taken in 2024 MLB draft

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Three players from the area were selected in the 2024 Major League Baseball draft, which took place July 14-16. Pitcher Ryan Smith, who graduated from Nazareth in 2021 and ended up at Illinois-Chicago, was taken by Houston in the ninth round of the draft. Smith, who underwent Tommy John…

The Green Hills Public Library District, 10331 Interlochen Dr., Palos Hills, is hosting a Back-to-School Collection Drive from now until Friday, August 9. (Supplied photo)

Green Hills Library collecting back-to-school supplies

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White It may still be summer but the Green Hills Public Library District is preparing students for their return to the classroom. The library, 10331 Interlochen Dr., Palos Hills, is hosting a Back-to-School Collection Drive from now until Friday, August 9. “One of my biggest goals as a librarian has always…

The Oak Lawn Public Library's “Jazz Music Legends of Oak Lawn" exhibit will be on display at the library, 9427 Raymond Ave., Oak Lawn, throughout 2024 and into the Spring of ’25, and celebrates one of the biggest high school jazz competitions in the country, the Oak Lawn Jazz Festival, which was held from 1960 to 1986 at Oak Lawn Community High School. (Supplied photos)

Oak Lawn Library hosts Jazz Music Legends of Oak Lawn

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White The sweet sounds of jazz have filled the Oak Lawn Public Library. Patrons were invited out on April 27 for the unveiling of the library’s latest Local History exhibit, “Jazz Music Legends of Oak Lawn.” The exhibit will be on display at the library, 9427 Raymond Ave., Oak Lawn, for…

Smith Valley resident, Eloise Johnson, and Miguel Candelas, Smith Senior Living Human Resources, worked together creating her time capsule memory last Wednesday afternoon. (Supplied photo)

Smith Village residents and employees celebrate 100 years of senior living

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White Residents at Smith Village residents and employees celebrated the 100th year of the senior living community by forecasting the future. Hundreds of Smith Village residents and employees at Smith Village, 2320 W. 113th Place, Chicago, along with community leaders and elected officials, marked the senior living community’s anniversary by looking…

A statue from a monument lies on the ground at Resurrection Cemetery in Justice. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

EF1 tornado barrels through Justice and Bridgeview

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan An EF1 tornado, packing winds of 90 miles per hour, swept through Justice and Bridgeview Monday night. Village of Justice Public Works Director Joe Cekus said he knew trouble was on the way. “I was looking in the sky for rotation and I heard a train,” he said. “I quickly…

Two pickup trucks in the 7400 block of Roberts Road in Bridgeview were destroyed by fire. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Bridgeview family loses two pickup trucks, but house is saved

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch A Bridgeview family in the 7400 block of Roberts Road knows first-hand the damage weather can do. When high winds hit around 9:30 p.m. Monday as a tornado blew through Justice, a cemetery and then into Bridgeview, two power lines were brought down near their bi-level house. One line fell…

Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois at Orland Square Mall on Friday. (Photo by Allie Baar)

Rihanna to open Savage X Fenty store in Orland Park on Friday

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Barbados superstar Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois on Friday morning in Orland Square Mall in Orland Park. The singer, actor and businesswoman will open the store at the mall’s lower level near the Coach store at 10 a.m. Savage X Fenty will host a…

The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on July 13. (Supplied photo)

Palos Park encourages residents to unplug

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on Saturday, July 13. The day is a state-wide effort, started in 2014, to encourage everyone to “plug into” the amazing recreational opportunities offered by local park and recreation agencies. The…