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Business groups oppose Illinois bills they fear would increase lawsuits

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(The Center Square) – Business groups stood in opposition to a couple of measures advancing at the Illinois State Capitol they warn could bring about more lawsuits against the business community.

In the House Judiciary-Civil Committee Wednesday, one proposed measure would allow lawsuits to be filed against companies for alleged violations of health care privacy.

State Rep. Ann Williams, D-Chicago, proposed House Bill 4093. She said the measure is necessary.

“The world has changed. We are pretty much glued to our phones. Our data is everywhere, it’s a commodity, and so our goal here is really to make sure that as this very sensitive health data is collected, that it’s protected,” Williams told committee members.

Representing TechNet, a group of technology companies, Tyler Diers opposed the measure for making the relationship between businesses and consumers more cumbersome.

“And it would be required for the purchase of everyday activities like purchasing ibuprofen, makeup, deodorant or even something like low-carb bread,” Diers said.

Business groups also oppose the bill for allowing for lawsuits against organizations that allegedly violate the measure if it were to become law.

The measure advanced out of committee, but Williams said she will work on an amendment to address concerns.

State Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, offered up House Bill 2161 in committee Wednesday.

“House Bill 2161 adds family responsibilities to the list of protected categories in the Illinois Human Rights Act protection against harassment and retaliation,” he said.

Democratic state Rep. Margaret Croke, D-Chicago, said there needs to be clarity for the bill.

“I just worry about the lawsuits that will come, even if they’re dismissed,” Croke said. “Like the small business impact from this.”

Guzzardi said the measure doesn’t protect anyone from being held accountable by their employer for poor job performance. The measure advanced out of committee. Guzzardi said he plans to bring back an amendment he hopes will allay concerns.