(20 ILCS 608/15)
    Sec. 15. Providing Information and Expediting Permit Reviews.
    (a) The office shall provide an information system using a toll-free business assistance number. The number shall be advertised throughout the State. If requested, the caller will be sent a basic business kit, describing the basic requirements and procedures for doing business in Illinois. If requested, the caller shall be directed to one or more of the additional services provided by the office. All persons providing advice to callers on behalf of the office and all persons responsible for directly providing services to persons visiting the office or one of its branches shall be persons with small business experience in an administrative or managerial capacity.
    (b) (Blank).
    (c) Any applicant for permits required for a business activity may confer with the office to obtain assistance in the prompt and efficient processing and review of applications. The office may designate an employee of the office to act as a permit assistance manager to:
        (1) facilitate contacts for the applicant with
    
responsible agencies;
        (2) arrange conferences to clarify the requirements
    
of interested agencies;
        (3) consider with State agencies the feasibility of
    
consolidating hearings and data required of the applicant;
        (4) assist the applicant in resolution of outstanding
    
issues identified by State agencies; and
        (5) coordinate federal, State and local regulatory
    
procedures and permit review actions to the extent possible.
    (d) The office shall publish a directory of State business permits and State programs to assist small businesses.
    (e) The office shall attempt to establish agreements with local governments to allow the office to provide assistance to applicants for permits required by these local governments.
    (f) Interested State agencies shall, to the maximum extent feasible, establish procedures to expedite applications for infrastructure projects. Applications for permits for infrastructure projects shall be approved or disapproved within 45 days of submission, unless law or regulations specify a different period. If the interested agency is unable to act within that period, the agency shall provide a written notification to the office specifying reasons for its inability to act and the date by which approval or disapproval shall be determined. The office may require any interested State agency to designate an employee who will coordinate the handling of permits in that area.
    (g) In addition to its responsibilities in connection with permit assistance, the office shall provide general regulatory information by directing businesses to appropriate officers in State agencies to supply the information requested.
    (h) The office shall help businesses to locate and apply to training programs available to train current employees in particular skills, techniques or areas of knowledge relevant to the employees' present or anticipated job duties. In pursuit of this objective, the office shall provide businesses with pertinent information about training programs offered by State agencies, units of local government, public universities and colleges, community colleges, and school districts in Illinois.
    (i) The office shall help businesses to locate and apply to State programs offering to businesses grants, loans, loan or bond guarantees, investment partnerships, technology or productivity consultation, or other forms of business assistance.
    (j) To the extent authorized by federal law, the office shall assist businesses in ascertaining and complying with the requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
    (k) The office shall provide confidential on-site assistance in identifying problems and solutions in compliance with requirements of State and federal environmental regulations. The office shall work through and contract with the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center to provide confidential on-site consultation audits that (i) assist regulatory compliance and (ii) identify pollution prevention opportunities.
    (k-5) Until July 1, 2012, the office shall provide confidential on-site assistance, including, but not limited to, consultation audits, to identify problems and solutions regarding compliance with the requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. On and after July 1, 2012, the Department of Labor shall provide confidential on-site assistance, including, but not limited to, consultation audits, to identify problems and solutions regarding compliance with the requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
    (l) The office shall provide information on existing loan and business assistance programs provided by the State.
    (m) Each State agency having jurisdiction to approve or deny a permit shall have the continuing power heretofore or hereafter vested in it to make such determinations. The provisions of this Act shall not lessen or reduce such powers and shall modify the procedures followed in carrying out such powers only to the extent provided in this Act.
    (n) (1) Each State agency shall fully cooperate with the office in providing information, documentation, personnel or facilities requested by the office.
    (2) Each State agency having jurisdiction of any permit to which the master application procedure is applicable shall designate an employee to act as permit liaison office with the office in carrying out the provisions of this Act.
    (o) (1) The office has authority, but is not required, to keep and analyze appropriate statistical data regarding the number of permits issued by State agencies, the amount of time necessary for the permits to be issued, the cost of obtaining such permits, the types of projects for which specific permits are issued, a geographic distribution of permits, and other pertinent data the office deems appropriate.
    The office shall make such data and any analysis of the data available to the public.
    (2) The office has authority, but is not required, to conduct or cause to be conducted a thorough review of any agency's permit requirements and the need by the State to require such permits. The office shall draw on the review, on its direct experience, and on its statistical analyses to prepare recommendations regarding how to:
        (i) eliminate unnecessary or antiquated permit
    
requirements;
        (ii) consolidate duplicative or overlapping permit
    
requirements;
        (iii) simplify overly complex or lengthy application
    
procedures;
        (iv) expedite time-consuming agency review and
    
approval procedures; or
        (v) otherwise improve the permitting processes in the
    
State.
    The office shall submit copies of all recommendations within 5 days of issuance to the affected agency, the Governor, the General Assembly, and the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.
    (p) The office has authority to review State forms on its own initiative or upon the request of another State agency to ascertain the burden, if any, of complying with those forms. If the office determines that a form is unduly burdensome to business, it may recommend to the agency issuing the form either that the form be eliminated or that specific changes be made in the form.
    (q) Not later than March 1 of each year, beginning March 1, 1995, the office shall submit an annual report of its activities during the preceding year to the Governor and General Assembly. The report shall describe the activities of the office during the preceding year and shall contain statistical information on the permit assistance activities of the office.
(Source: P.A. 97-787, eff. 7-13-12; 98-346, eff. 8-14-13.)