Wheeler bill would prevent government retribution lawsuits
Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) wants to block government entities from suing those who dare to challenge them, according to the Illinois Review.
“Imagine a local small business grocer, family restaurant, hamburger stand, or theater owner being driven out of business by their own local government leaders who are suing the small business owner because he or she had the audacity to ask the courts if a new tax, that the local government was forcing the business to collect from its customers, was actually constitutional,” Wheeler said in a statement. “No one should be able to be sued by their own government for asking the courts if a tax they are forced to collect is constitutional.”
Wheeler has filed House Bill 4080 legislation in response to Cook County's lawsuit seeking $17 million in damages from the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA). The association challenged Cook County’s new tax on sugary beverages, which led to a one-month delay in the tax’s implementation, and the Cook County suit was ostensibly to recoup those costs. Wheeler argues that the motion, which has since been withdrawn, serves to intimidate other organizations from similar challenges in the future.
“I have filed this legislation in order to protect Illinois small businesses and taxpayers from a vengeful government seeking to punish them for exercising their constitutional rights,” Wheeler said in his statement. “This is an issue that crosses partisan political lines. I am very optimistic that Democrat and Republican colleagues alike will join me in advancing this bill toward becoming law.”