Today, the Illinois General Assembly adjourned its 2024 regular session. Greater St. Louis, Inc. was proud to advocate for and advance policies that will bring fairness to the state’s legal climate and increase investment in Illinois’ businesses, entrepreneurs, and Main Streets.

“Greater St. Louis, Inc. and our Illinois partners secured important wins for the metro this legislative session,” said Adam Kazda, Vice President of Government Relations. “We thank our private sector partners and our metro delegation for prioritizing programs and policies that directly benefit the bi-state St. Louis metro.”

Among the policy wins advanced in the Illinois General Assembly this session:

Bringing Fairness to Illinois’ Legal Climate. Greater St. Louis, Inc. was proud to support reforms to the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act. Since 2019, over 1,500 BIPA class action lawsuits have been filed in Illinois, even when no actual damages have occurred, with an average settlement of $1.2 million. Business recruitment and retention is one of Greater St. Louis, Inc.’s most important functions, and this law has been a barrier to growth in Illinois. While the legislation does not fix every negative aspect of BIPA, there are significant reforms included that will make the state’s legal climate better for business growth. We thank the members of our metro delegation that voted for this critical legislation: Senators Christopher Belt and Jil Tracy, House Assistant Majority Leader Jay Hoffman, and Representative Katie Stuart.   

Increased Investment in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Greater St. Louis, Inc. also continues to voice strong support for the Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund and the need for broader reach in fund distribution. The Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund is an evergreen, $1 billion impact investment fund that invests in technology businesses in the state. Overseen by the State Treasurer, ILGIF makes targeted investments alongside venture capital, growth equity, and private venture debt firms. Yet, most of the fund’s investments go to Chicagoland area businesses. We continue to have positive dialogue with the Treasurer and his team and look forward to bringing the Treasurer to the metro this summer to explore investment and partnership opportunities in southwest Illinois.

Support for Southwest Illinois’ Main Streets. Greater St. Louis, Inc. also made progress on an office conversion bill that will help reinvigorate downtowns and Main Streets in Illinois. Inspired by our work over the past two years at the federal level, Greater St. Louis, Inc. developed the Revitalizing Downtowns and Main Streets Act in Missouri that we are working to pass in Illinois to incentivize the conversion of vacant office space into productive residential or other commercial space.