With the start of the new year there will be 237 new laws going into effect in Illinois, including measures that impact fighting crime, government transparency, business, hunting, health, and family. State Senator Kyle McCarter, who represents the local 54th Senate District, highlighted a number of those laws in a recent memo sent out to his constituents.
Senator McCarter discussed a number of the new laws; an abridged version of which is available below. It should be noted that not all measures approved by the General Assembly go into effect on January 1. Some pieces of legislation specify an effective date, while other bills that carry an “immediate” effective date can go into effect at other times of the year.
From Senator McCarter:
– When it comes to fighting crime, several news laws are making public safety a top priority. For example, individuals who continue to endanger citizens on Illinois roadways by repeatedly driving under the influence of alcohol, will have another barrier that can prevent them from getting back behind the wheel. A bill put together by Senator Jason Barickman requires individuals convicted of two or more DUIs or reckless homicide convictions to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device as a condition of a Restricted Driving Permit.
– Another new law taking effect January 1, spearheaded by Senator Kyle McCarter, goes after designer drug manufacturers. This bill combats dangerous synthetic or designer street drugs by targeting how they are made and allowing prosecutors to not have to wait as long for lab tests to show if the synthetic drug involved was illegal.
In addition, the sale of powdered caffeine to anyone younger than 18 and the sale of products consisting of or containing powdered alcohol will be prohibited under two new laws going into effect.
– Those who call 911 in 2016 better be sure it’s a legitimate emergency. Individuals convicted of making false or prank calls to 9-1-1 call centers or making other false reports to emergency responders could be held responsible for reimbursing the costs incurred by the responding emergency agency.
– As more police officers start to use body cameras, new rules and regulations have been established for officers who use the technology. The new law requires police officers who wear a body camera, to keep it on when conducting any law enforcement activities, among other rules.
– Keeping people healthy and avoiding terrible diseases are the goals of a new law sponsored by Senator Christine Radogno. Any child-care facility that takes care of children ages 6 and younger, must show proof their employees received the Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (T-dap) vaccine and have received two doses of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine or provide proof of immunity under a new law that goes into effect January. 1.
– Major airports in Illinois will have one year to establish a private breast-feeding area set up behind the security screening process in 2016. This also requires this area to include a chair and an electrical outlet and be outside the confines of a public restroom.
– Illinois joins several other states January 1 with a new law that can help save or prolong people’s lives. Terminally-ill patients in Illinois will have access to clinical-trial, experimental medical treatments and medications, thanks to the Right to Try law sponsored by Senator Michael Connelly.
– In keeping with the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s tradition of government transparency, a bill sponsored by Senator Karen McConnaughay in honor of the late comptroller ensures that the Online Ledger and The Warehouse will continue to provide state financial records, official reports, and local government finances to taxpayers.
– Illinois continues to rank near the bottom when it comes to being a business-friendly state. In 2015, however, Senator Sue Rezin led the effort in one of the very few pro-growth, pro-jobs business reforms passed by the General Assembly during the spring session. This bill will allow businesses to file and receive a permit directly from the state, instead of going through the federal government. That will speed up the application time and provide for more certainty for job creators.
– Hunting is a very popular activity, especially in downstate Illinois. In 2016, under a new law spearheaded by Senator Sam McCann, hunters will be able to hunt bobcats to control overpopulation and keep the animal at healthy numbers. Dates for the bobcat hunting season are now set from November 1 through February 15.
– In an effort to boost tourism for downstate communities and to put a focus on the family, Senator Chapin Rose sponsored a bill to raise the age cap for youth hunting licenses from 16 to 18.
– In the classroom in 2016, to help high school students better understand government and the democratic process, a civics course requirement has been added to high school curriculum.
With 90 percent of pumpkins grown in the nation produced in Illinois, pumpkin pie has been made the official state pie.