2021 Session

Dan Reitz | IOGA Lobbyist

Bridge Session Review: In early January, the Illinois General Assembly returned to Springfield for the first time in over 7 months. The Legislature used these final days to close out the end of the 101st General Assembly and address several unresolved issues before the start of the 102nd General Assembly. Listed below are a few items of that may affect our members. 

The biggest legislative item was a series of bills, developed through the Summer and Fall by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC) to address many of the social injustice and equity issues which predominated much of 2020. The ILBC worked around 4 pillars – Criminal Justice Reform, Education Reform, Economic Opportunity Reform, and Healthcare Reform. 

HB 3360 passed both Houses- it will allow for the recovery of prejudgment interest in personal injury cases. 

Leadership shift in the Illinois House-Despite all the legislative activity that was occurring during the lame duck session, the biggest shake-up was the decision by long-time House Speaker Michael Madigan to remove his name from consideration for the office. Although Madigan had the overwhelming support of majority the caucus, 19 caucus members refused to support him which made it impossible for him to get the 60 votes needed to be elected Speaker. Once he withdrew his name from consideration, Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-Westchester), emerged as the caucus’ preferred candidate. Representative Welch was elected to the post of Speaker, making him the first Black to hold that position. Speaker Welch accepted the position and immediately called on both parties to work for common ground and most importantly respect each other. 

Speaker Welch announced his leadership team this week, it includes: Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) – Majority Leader; Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) – Deputy Majority Leader / Speaker Pro-Tempore; Rep. Mary E. Flowers (D-Chicago) – Deputy Majority Leader and Dean of the Caucus; Rep. Jaime M. Andrade, Jr. (D-Chicago) – Assistant Majority Leader; Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) – Assistant Majority Leader; Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero) – Assistant Majority Leader; Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville) – Assistant Majority Leader; Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Romeoville) – Assistant Majority Leader; Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr. (D-Chicago) – Assistant Majority Leader; Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) – Assistant Majority Leader; and Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Champaign) – Democratic Conference Chair

In addition to the leadership appointments, Speaker Welch announced the creation of 6 Whips, they are as follows: Will Guzzardi (Progressive Caucus Whip); Kam Buckner (Black Caucus Whip); Theresa Mah (Asian Caucus Whip); Larry Walsh Jr. (Downstate Caucus Whip); Deb Conroy (Women’s Caucus Whip); and Aaron Ortiz (Latino Caucus Whip)

Senate Leadership-Don Harmon will continue to serve as the Senate President and Dan McConchie is the new of Minority Leader, filling the vacancy left when Bill Brady announced he was stepping down. Along with Senator Brady, Senators Heather Steans and Andy Manar have also retired since the new session started. 

Legislative Session: The legislative session is off to a slow start due to the change in leadership in the House and the uncertainty with scheduling session days at the Capitol in the middle of the pandemic. The past two sessions for the House have been held at the Bank of Springfield Center to provide enough space for 118 legislators and staff. It is cost prohibitive to keep meeting there. The House is formulating a plan to meet at the Capitol.

The Senate is scheduled to meet on March 2. The House adopted their Rules on February 10. The major changes in the Rules for the House included term limits for legislative leaders and a rule that allows for remote meetings. Both chambers have cancelled all other session days in February. The Senate has already adopted their Rules that allow them to hold remote committee hearings. The scheduled end of session is May 30.

Bill Introduction: The slow start to the new session has impacted bill introductions as well. There have been very few in the House or the Senate at the time of this report. None to date affect our industry directly. 

Committee Chairmen: Committee chair appointments were just released. Most are still in their old chairmanships. Sonya Harper remains chair of Agriculture and Conservation, Larry Walsh is still chair of Public Utilities, Marcus Evans remains chair of Labor and Commerce and Ann Williams is still chair of Environment and Energy. Bob Rita is the new chair of the Executive committee. 

Covid Related Credits & Self Employment Savings

We appreciate Michael Finazzo of Brown, Smith and Settle, LLC and the Illinois Basin Professionals for putting together this presentation.

You can view the presentation here.

You can view the slides here. 

Oil & Gas Producer Group Names New Executive Vice President

MOUNT VERNON, Ill., Feb. 1, 2021The Illinois Oil and Gas Association (IOGA) announced Robert Stewart of Mt. Vernon, IL, as the new Executive Vice President. Stewart’s employment with IOGA will commence on February 1st.

Stewart succeeds Seth Whitehead, who will continue his Executive Director role at the Illinois Petroleum Resource Board.

The oil industry is a family tradition for Stewart, whose grandfather, Edward Stewart, started in the 1890s. His current company, Stewart Producers, was established in 1951 by Stewart’s father as an operating company for Stewart Oil. It expanded into well servicing in 1966 and got into exploration after Stewart Oil dissolved in 1968.

“I’ve been on the IOGA board of directors for over 25 years,” Stewart said. “I’m looking forward to expanding my relationship with IOGA in this new role and continuing to help IOGA advocate for our members.”

Stewart has been a long-standing member of IOGA. He was awarded the IOGA Petroleum Professional of the Year in 2019 and his company, Stewart Producers, Inc., was awarded the IOGA Wildcatter of the Year award in 2016.

“Robert has been a great asset to our association throughout the years,” said IOGA President Bryan Hood, “He always brings forward great ideas and viewpoints to issues.”

Stewart graduated from Mt. Vernon Township High School in 1975. He attended the University of Texas and graduated with a B.S. in petroleum engineering with honors. He worked with Exxon Company USA until he joined Stewart Producers, Inc. in 1984, before being named president in 1992.

“This group has made a tremendous impact on our industry,” Stewart said. “Time and time again, IOGA has been on the frontlines, advocating for and educating our members.”

Stewart has served on the following boards: the Society of Petroleum Engineers, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Illinois Oil and Gas Association, State of Illinois Petroleum Advisory Board, and the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council. He is married to Dee Ann and is the father of Cameron and Paisley.


About IOGA

The Illinois Oil and Gas Association is a group of oil and gas producers, landowners, royalty owners, service producers, and others in the Illinois Basin area. For more information, visit www.ioga.com.