Thursday, February 4, 2021

Goodwill Unveils New Veterans Transportation Vehicle

 Peoria, IL – February 4, 2021 – Goodwill of Central Illinois has unveiled its new veterans transportation vehicle. The 2020 Ford Transit was funded by the Veterans Cash Lottery Grant, which is administered by the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.

The vehicle will be used by the staff of the General Wayne A. Downing Home for Veterans to transport the home’s residents. It is equipped with a safety canopy, side curtain air bags, Ford telematics and seats fifteen.

“We are very grateful to the IDVA for this grant,” said Goodwill President and CEO Don Johnson. “Our veterans deserve safe, comfortable transportation as they work toward their goals of independence.”

The vehicle will be housed at the General Wayne A. Downing Home for Veterans.

For more information visit Goodwill’s website at

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Learn the Basics of Government Contracting.



The U.S. Government is the world’s largest buyer of products and services. Purchases by military and civilian installations in FY20 amounted to over $600 billion, and included everything from complex space vehicles to janitorial services. Goods and services provided by the private sector are critically important for government operations. By law, federal agencies are required to establish small business contracting goals. Currently at least 23% of all government buys should be awarded to small businesses. Combine the federal marketplace with state and local government agencies, the total government marketplace tops $7 Trillion in annual spend.  Unfortunately, for a small business the procurement process can be complex and challenging to navigate.



The Illinois PTAC at Bradley University wants this marketplace to be as accessible as possible. As a result, we are offering this webinar for those newly considering government contracting. The content will enhance your basic understanding of the procurement process and introduce resources to help you determine if this customer is a good fit for your business. We will discuss our no-cost bid matching service, necessary vendor registrations (at all governmental levels- SAM, IPG, etc.), and tools such as small business certifications that can help you succeed.  


Who should attend:

·     Newly hired or re-assigned professionals in all government contracting roles at all levels and all sizes of organizations

·     Businesses and organizations who are exploring or have acquired a government contract - either as a prime contractor or a subcontractor

·     Specialists who have been working in limited areas of procurement; those who have not had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the total picture

·     Experienced professionals needing an effective refresher, to be brought up-to-date on new rules, procedures, rights, and remedies

·     Contract and subcontract administrators, program and project managers, accounting and finance professionals, general counsel and corporate and government attorneys, among others.


Discussion Topics:

·     History of government acquisitions

·     Awareness of statutes, laws and regulations

·     Identifying the different types of contracts

·     State of Illinois contracting

·     Obtain basic knowledge on small business certifications


Keli Krueger-Huhra has 28 years of progressive career growth in automotive manufacturing integrating Procurement and Supply with the organization’s strategic objectives. Prior to joining the Illinois PTAC program, she was General Manager/Director, Procurement and Supply at Mitsubishi Motors North America Manufacturing Division where she was responsible for 32 direct and indirect management and staff engaged in Procurement Administration, Cost Engineering, Production Purchasing, Material and Services Purchasing, Supplier Quality Assurance and New Model Engineering and Development directing annual spends of $740M in Global Sourcing with suppliers in 266 global locations. Ms. Krueger-Huhra has received the globally recognized CPSM designation by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). She is a Past President and has held numerous positions read more...


Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2021


Time: 12:00pm - 1:30pm (CST)

Presentation 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Q & A 1:00pm - 1:30pm

Registration is required.


No cost to attend.

Register here.


Questions, please contact Keli Krueger-Huhra, Director, Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center at




Monday, January 25, 2021

Illinois Chamber - This Week in Illinois

Session Canceled
While the Senate was originally scheduled to reconvene this Tuesday, January 26th, session has now been canceled. We expect the Senate to release committee rosters in the next couple days and hope to have this information to you in next week's GAR. Session is now scheduled to resume Tuesday, February 2nd. 

Governor Pritzker Modifies Regional Mitigation Metrics 
In an announcement regarding increased hospital staffing across Illinois, Governor Pritzker released modified regional mitigation metrics. These new mitigation metrics, which apply to all 11 COVID-19 regions in the state, are expected to loosen restrictions and allow for some recreational activities and in-door dining for qualifying areas. Pritzker's full executive order can be found here. 

Speaker Welch Announces New House Leadership Team
Earlier this week, newly elected Speaker of the House Emanuel "Chris" Welch announced his full leadership team. His statement regarding the new House Democrat Leadership can be found here. 
  • State Rep. Greg Harris - Majority Leader
  • State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth - Deputy Majority Leader / Speaker Pro-Tempore
  • State Rep. Mary E. Flowers - Deputy Majority Leader and Dean of the Caucus
  • State Rep. Jaime M. Andrade, Jr. - Assistant Majority Leader
  • State Rep. Robyn Gabel - Assistant Majority Leader
  • State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez - Assistant Majority Leader
  • State Rep. Jay Hoffman - Assistant Majority Leader
  • State Rep. Natalie Manley - Assistant Majority Leader
  • State Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr. - Assistant Majority Leader
  • State Rep. Delia Ramirez - Assistant Majority Leader
  • State Rep. Carol Ammons - Democratic Conference Chair
HB 1480, adverse impact on employer's hiring practices: Update 
SB 1480, an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act, is a sweeping piece of legislation that will have serious ramifications for employers. SB 1480 passed the House and Senate on a partisan basis in the waning hours of the 101st General Assembly's lame duck session and now awaits the Governor's signature. Highlighted below are some of the bill's most egregious provisions for employers. The Chamber, along with a coalition of business advocates, has requested a veto. The Chamber's full analysis of SB 1480 can be found here. Please forward this vital information to the legal counsel and human resources department within your organization.

New Legislation to Watch:
  • HB 62 (Flowers) This bill establishes healthcare as a right for all Illinoisans under the Illinois Health Services Program
  • HB 66 (Flowers) This bill eliminates the Medicaid Managed Care program. 
  • HB 146 (Morgan) This bill gives the Director of IL DOI the authority to disapprove "unreasonable" rate increases
  • HB 186  (West) Amends the Illinois Income Tax Act. Creates a credit against withholding tax payments for employers with 250 or fewer full-time equivalent employees in an amount equal to a percentage of the compensation paid to qualified employees who received a raise from the employer.
  • HB 211  (Sosnowski) This bill creates the Local Government Business Anti-Poaching Act. Provides that no municipality or county shall offer any incentive after the effective date of the Act to a business or corporation to move its headquarters located in Illinois, or any part of its business located in Illinois, away from the current location at the time of the offering of the incentive. Defines "incentive". Limits home rule powers. Effective immediately.


Thursday, January 14, 2021

Pacific Ethanol Completes Name Change to Alto Ingredients, Inc.

 Pacific Ethanol, Inc.

·3 min read

Corporate rebrand reflects enhanced focus on specialty alcohols and essential ingredients

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 13, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pacific Ethanol, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEIX), a leading producer of specialty alcohols and essential ingredients, has changed its corporate name to Alto Ingredients, Inc., effective January 12, 2021. The company’s name change will be reflected on The Nasdaq Stock Market on January 14, 2021, and the company’s stock will begin trading under a new ticker symbol, ALTO, starting February 1, 2021.

CEO Mike Kandris said, “We have chosen our new corporate name and brand to represent our many high-quality products, which our customers incorporate into a range of vital finished goods that touch people’s everyday lives, from cleaning solutions to pharmaceuticals. We are capitalizing on our unique capability to manufacture high-grade alcohols for the food, beverage, health, and ingredients markets, and to process corn into high protein feed, pet food, and renewable fuel. As we move forward under our new Alto Ingredients brand, we remain committed to our goal of delivering the highest levels of integrity, purity, and quality to create value for our customers, partners, and shareholders.”

About Alto Ingredients, Inc.

Alto Ingredients, Inc. (PEIX), formerly known as Pacific Ethanol, Inc., is a leading producer of specialty alcohols and essential ingredients. The company is focused on products for four key markets: Health, Home & Beauty; Food & Beverage; Essential Ingredients; and Renewable Fuels. The company’s customers include major food and beverage companies and consumer products companies. For more information please visit

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995

Statements and information contained in this communication that refer to or include Alto Ingredients' estimated or anticipated future results or other non-historical expressions of fact are forward-looking statements that reflect Alto Ingredients' current perspective of existing trends and information as of the date of the communication. Forward looking statements generally will be accompanied by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “plan,” “could,” “should,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “outlook,” “guidance,” “intend,” “may,” “might,” “will,” “possible,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” or other similar words, phrases or expressions. Such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning Alto Ingredients' plans, objectives, expectations and intentions. It is important to note that Alto Ingredients' objectives, expectations and intentions are not predictions of actual performance. Actual results may differ materially from Alto Ingredients' current expectations depending upon a number of factors affecting Alto Ingredients' business. These factors include, among others, adverse economic and market conditions, including for specialty alcohols and essential ingredients; export conditions and international demand for the company’s products; fluctuations in the price of and demand for oil and gasoline; raw material costs, including production input costs, such as corn and natural gas; and the effects – both positive and negative – of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. These factors also include, among others, the inherent uncertainty associated with financial and other projections; the anticipated size of the markets and continued demand for Alto Ingredients' products; the impact of competitive products and pricing; the risks and uncertainties normally incident to the specialty alcohol production and marketing industries; changes in generally accepted accounting principles; successful compliance with governmental regulations applicable to Alto Ingredients' distilleries, products and/or businesses; changes in laws, regulations and governmental policies; the loss of key senior management or staff; and other events, factors and risks previously and from time to time disclosed in Alto Ingredients' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including, specifically, those factors set forth in the “Risk Factors” section contained in Alto Ingredients' Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 16, 2020.

Media Contact:
Bryon McGregor, Alto Ingredients, Inc., 916-403-2768,

Company IR Contact:
Michael Kramer, Alto Ingredients, Inc., 916-403-2755,

IR Agency Contact:
Moriah Shilton, LHA Investor Relations, 415-433-3777,

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Inspections on Bob Michel Bridge set Jan. 14-15


PEORIA  The Illinois Department of Transportation announces that intermittent daytime lane closures on the Bob Michel Bridge, which carries Illinois 40 over the Illinois River, are set Jan. 14-15. 

The lane closures are necessary for crews to perform utility inspections on the bridge and will begin after 8:30 a.m. and wrap up by 3:30 p.m. both days. 

Motorists can expect delays and should allow extra time for trips through this area. To avoid the work area, when feasible, use of alternate routes should be considered. Drivers are urged to pay close attention to changed conditions and signs in the work zones, obey the posted speed limits, refrain from using mobile devices and be alert for workers and equipment. 

Over the next six years, IDOT is planning to improve more than 3,300 miles of highway and 8.4 million square feet of bridge deck as part of the Rebuild Illinois capital program, which is investing $33.2 billion into all modes of transportation. Year One included approximately $2.7 billion of improvements statewide on 1,706 miles of highway, 128 bridges and 228 additional safety improvements. 

For more information on IDOT projects, click hereFor IDOT District 4 updates, follow us on Twitter at @IDOTDistrict4 or view area construction details on IDOT’s traveler information map on and 




Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Morningside of Pekin shares COVID Vaccine Information

To:          Fellow Chamber Members

Re:         COVID Vaccine

From:    Morningside of Pekin

Date:     December 17, 2020

Greetings!  There is a lot of information on the news and in the community about the COVID-19 vaccine.  As we are a Five Star Community, we have access to a team of professional advisors who have been sending us updated information throughout the process of the development and now the distribution of the vaccine! We are going to be able to offer our residents the vaccine this month as part of the first wave of inoculations.

We would like to share with you some of the Q&A questions that our professional team has been asked.   Please feel free to view this link: to access some general information.  

We would be happy to provide you with updates as we receive them. 

Regards and Merry Christmas,

Lisa Davis, Executive Director

Lisa Friedrich, Sales Director

Morningside of Pekin

Hanson wins award from ACEC of Illinois for emergency repair of collapsed rail bridge

Hanson Professional Services Inc. received an Honor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois (ACEC-IL) for its work on the emergency repair of Norfolk Southern Corp.’s collapsed bridge over the Grand River near Brunswick, Missouri. 

Hanson, led by its Peoria, Illinois, office, worked with Norfolk Southern Corp. and Massman Construction Co. to help Norfolk Southern quickly rebuild the 103-year-old bridge. The flooded river and a buildup of tree limbs had been pushing on the bridge, leading Norfolk Southern to cut the rails Oct. 1, 2019, to relieve pressure and prevent further damage to its rail line. A portion of the bridge was wiped out within minutes. Four spans and three piers — about 267 feet of the 1,110-foot-long bridge — were swept away. The repair work was finished in 27 days — several weeks ahead of the originally estimated 56-day schedule.

Hanson will be recognized April 8 during ACEC-IL’s virtual awards ceremony. ACEC is a professional organization of 51 state and regional councils with members from more than 5,000 engineering firms across the U.S. The annual Engineering Excellence Awards recognizes outstanding achievements from member firms. ACEC-IL Honor Award winners are eligible for the national competition.

Hanson is a national, employee-owned consulting firm providing engineering, planning and allied services. The firm’s corporate headquarters is located at 1525 S. Sixth St., Springfield, IL 62703. The office may be reached by phone at (217) 788-2450.


PEORIA, IL The Peoria Symphony Orchestra is excited to announce PSO Play. For the first time in the PSO’s history, concerts will be available to view online. Starting at just $1, viewers can pay what they like to see the first three concerts of the PSO’s 123rd season: The Four Seasons with Charles Yang, violin; Merry Pranks with Pei-yeh Tsai, piano, and Sarah Carrillo, trumpet; and A Season of Hope, featuring festive music and messages of hope from area faith leaders.

Regarding the launch of PSO Play, Maestro Stelluto comments:

“The streaming releases of our first three concerts this season is a first for the PSO. I’m very happy we can all share these experiences again. Plus, they are great opportunities to have your young ones enjoy and learn about music.”

The concerts are now available to purchase and view an unlimited number of times until January 25, 2021. Concert passes must be purchased by January 24, 2021. Each concert has additional online streaming content, including Backstage Pass, a look at how PSO concerts come together, Upbeat, with insights about each concert from Maestro Stelluto, and more. Visit for more information.

PSO Play is underwritten by Jim and Ede Kidder and Dr. and Mrs. Warren M. Wilkins.  

You can stay informed about the PSO by visiting, the PSO’s Facebook page (, Instagram account (@peoriasymphony), and Twitter (@peoriasymphony). Those with questions can email or call 309.671.1096.

# # #


Founded in 1897, the Peoria Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, educate, and inspire through music. The PSO presents excellent live musical performances, innovative music education programs, and engaging community outreach efforts, which significantly impact the cultural and economic vitality of Central Illinois.




For more information, please contact:
Mae Gilliland Wright, PhD
Director of Marketing and Communications



Illinois Chamber of Commerce - This Week in Illinois

Federal Government Passes Another Round of Assistance

Yesterday Congress passed another round of COVID related stimulus.  The package was just shy of $1 trillion. In addition to $600 to individuals, the bill also included some relief for businesses. 

U.S. Chamber executive vice president and chief policy officer Neil Bradley will be giving a Pandemic Relief Small Business Update

TODAY, December 22, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. ET to share more about what the bill will mean for the small business community. If you have not done so already, please click here to register now.

NPR provides this cheat sheet

Small-business help

  • PPP loans: The agreement includes some $284 billion for Paycheck Protection Program loans. Democrats say they expanded eligibility for the loans to include nonprofits and local newspapers, along with TV and radio stations. Also, $15 billion would be reserved for live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions, which have been struggling due to pandemic-forced closures.
  • Child care centers: According to a Republican summary of the plan, the measure includes $10 billion for child care centers to help providers safely reopen.


  • The agreement includes some $68 billion to purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines and help states conduct testing. According to the Republican summary, $20 billion of that funding will make the vaccine available at no cost for anybody needing it.

Broadband access

  • The measure contains $7 billion to increase access to broadband Internet, including a new Emergency Broadband Benefit that Democrats say will help millions of students' families and unemployed workers afford the broadband they need during the pandemic.

Transportation aid

Lawmakers also agreed to provide $45 billion in transportation-related assistance, including:

  • $16 billion for airlines to pay the salaries of workers and contractors.
  • $14 billion for mass transit agencies.
  • $10 billion for highways.
  • $1 billion for Amtrak.


  • The measure contains $82 billion in funding for schools and universities to assist with reopening, including, according to a Republican summary, $2.75 billion for private K-12 education.


  • There is some $13 billion in the measure for farmers and agriculture, including money under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for growers and livestock, dairy and poultry producers.

Medical bills

  • The measure also includes a provision ending surprise medical billing. Republicans say patients would be required to receive a "true and honest cost estimate" three days before any scheduled procedure and that billing disputes would be subject to arbitration.

Tax-deductible meals

  • Lawmakers also included a provision sought by President Trump, making the cost of meals a deductible business expense.

Read the bill in full.

Illinois Chamber Tells IDOL Joint Employer Rule Unnecessary

Todd Maisch, Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, provided testimony to the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) virtual hearing on its proposed rule regarding joint employer designation. He was joined by Michael Hughes of SmithAmundsen who provided the legal problems with the proposed rule.

In response to the federal USDOL rule, IDOL filed a proposed rule that took a different approach to the joint employer issue in May. The Illinois Chamber provided written comments to the rule raising a number of concerns. Maisch's testimony highlighted those concerns:

  • Notice is insufficient given the significant impact on business: 
    • The Illinois Chamber which represents a broad swath of Illinois business and industries adversely affected by the proposed rule was not notified of the IDOL's intention. We also are unaware of any business or business organization being provided any advance notice or ability to provide input on this significant policy change.
  • The proposed rule will have a significant negative impact on Illinois business especially small businesses. We believe the Department's proposed rule will:
      • Eliminate the uniformity that the USDOL rule provides thus creating greater uncertainty for both employers and workers;
      • Increase the cost of compliance and likelihood of litigation for businesses because of:
        • multiple standards that employers must comply with; and
        • lack of viable examples to provide guidance to small businesses;
    • Discourage the use of franchise models in Illinois which results in lower economic and job opportunities; and
    • Place an additional regulation and cost of doing business that other states are unlikely to impose creating another obstacle for Illinois small businesses to operate successfully.

In IDOL's notice of proposed rule published in the May 22, 2020 edition of the Illinois Register, the IDOL erroneously indicated in its "Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis" that small businesses are not affected. A similar statement of "No adverse impact" was provided in its "Small Business Impact Analysis". We do not know how IDOL could arrive at such analysis or whether it did any analysis of the impact of the proposed rule on Illinois small businesses. We suggest IDOL has not considered options to address the negative impact on small business.

Illinois Chamber's Keith Staats Writes Article for CPA Society Insight Magazine

Keith's latest column for the IL CPA Society's Insight magazine has been published here

Keith continues his examination of the Illinois property tax system.  In this column, he discusses the constitutional limitations on providing property tax exemptions, the proliferation of preferential assessments, and explains that exemptions and preferential assessments do not reduce the amounts levied by units of local government, rather they just shift the property tax burden to the property owners who do not receive exemptions or preferential assessments.

Government Affairs Professionals (GAP) Call Reminder

On January 11th at 3 pm, the Chamber will host our first GAP call of 2021. A Microsoft Teams link was sent to the usual call participants this link and a reminder will be sent as the date approaches. If you are not on this call list but would like to be, send an email to:

Send Us Your Legislative Agenda

With Veto Session canceled, its time to look forward to the spring legislative session. Please send us your agenda so that we can work together to develop a strategy. Email any thoughts, concerns, and ideas to: