Among the 237 pieces of legislation that became law on January 1 is a bill that designates pumpkin pie as the official state pie of Illinois. Here is a sample of some of the news laws.
Illinois State Pie (P.A. 99-0364, HB 208)
Designates Pumpkin Pie as the official state pie of Illinois. Illinois leads the nation in pumpkin production.
Limitations On Creation Of New Units Of Government (P.A. 99-0353, HB 228)
Prohibits the creation of new forms of local government in Illinois and prohibits the General Assembly from dividing units of government. This does not affect the creation of local special districts such as road districts, water districts, sanitation districts, school districts and park districts. This law will sunset in 4 years.
Right to Try (P.A. 99-0270, HB 1335)
Gives terminally ill patients access to medicines that have passed Phase 1 of the FDA approval process but are not yet on pharmacy shelves. Allows doctors to prescribe to terminally ill patients medicines currently being used in clinical trials.
Property Tax Board of Review Complaint Procedure (P.A. 99-0098, HB 2554)
Complaints and other written correspondence concerning any property over assessed or under assessed shall be considered filed as of the postmark date. Complaints and other written correspondence sent by a non USPS delivery service shall be considered as filed on the date sent. A taxing district wishing to intervene shall file a request with the board of review at least 5 days in advance of a hearing.
Powdered Caffeine Control (P.A. 99-0050, SB 9)
Prohibits any person from selling, offering to sell, giving away or providing free samples of powdered pure caffeine to any person under age 18 and sets forth the penalties for violation.
Lost Pet – Identify Owner (P.A. 99-0310, HB 4029)
Requires animal shelters to scan for microchips in dogs and cats, this will ensure that any animal that has been micro chipped can be properly returned to its rightful owner.
Animals – Extreme Heat or Cold (P.A. 99-0311, SB 125)
No pet owner may expose their dog or cat in a manner that places the dog or cat in a life-threatening situation for a prolonged period of time due to extreme heat or cold conditions. A violation is a Class A misdemeanor.
Establishment of Bobcat Hunting Season (P.A. 99-0033, HB 352)
Removes the prohibition on taking bobcats in the State. Provides that it shall be unlawful for any person to trap or to hunt bobcats with gun, dog, dog and gun, or bow and arrow, except during the open season which will be set annually by the Director of Natural Resources between November 1 to February 15. Also provides that the season limit for bobcat hunting shall not exceed one bobcat per permit.
Adding “Digital Materials” as Allowable Under the Records Act (P.A. 99-0147, HB 362)
Amends the State and Local Records Acts to update the statutes to reflect the usage of “digital material.”
Prohibits “Conversion Therapy” on Minors (P.A. 99-0411, HB 217)
Creates the Youth Mental Health Protection Act and provides that no mental health provider shall engage in “conversion therapy,” or sexual orientation change efforts with a person under the age of 18.
Vehicle Code – Electronic Payments (P.A. 99-0324, HB 364)
Allows the Secretary of State to decline and accept electronic payments for payment of fees and taxes on new vehicle registration applications submitted by mail.
Ensures School Boards May Discuss Safety/Security Plans In Closed Session (P.A. 99-0235, HB 1498)
The law clarifies the language in the Open Meetings Act to ensure school boards are permitted to discuss preventive security planning in closed meetings to help ensure the safety of students and staff. The previous “security discussion” exemption in the Open Meetings Act, as it applies to school boards, had been legally interpreted by some to only allow for closed meetings to discuss existing threats, not preventive planning.
Heightened Penalties for Truck Drivers In Accidents (P.A. 99-0291, HB 1516)
The law gives state prosecutors the ability to charge truck drivers who cause injury or death in deadly accidents by increasing violations to a Class 3 for great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement and Class 2 felony for death.
Financial Exploitation Protections for Seniors And The Disabled (P.A. 99-0272, HB 1588)
These enhanced protections enable elderly or disabled victims of financial exploitation or abuse to promptly proceed in court with a civil case, rather than first awaiting the outcome of a criminal case. It also provides for victims to recover three times the actual financial loss along with reasonable attorney and court fees.
Requirement for County Annual Budget Meeting (P.A. 99-0273, HB 2474)
Requires counties to have an annual public budget meeting 15 days before approving the budget. Includes requirements to post notice of meeting on website if the county has one.
Replacing Mechanics Liens with Surety Bonds (P.A. 99-0178, HB 2635)
Allows landowners to replace a mechanics lien with a surety bond, which would allow a landowner to sell or refinance a property that might otherwise be held up by a contractor or other dispute.
Notary Public E-Application (P.A. 99-0112, HB 2797)
The Secretary of State is now allowed to establish an online application system to permit Illinois residents to apply for appointment and commission as a notary public.
Senior Citizen/Disabled Person Specialty Plate Discount (P.A. 99-0071, HB 2811)
Discounts specialty plate registration fees for people qualified under the Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons Property Tax Relief Act.
Ticket Resale Requirements (P.A. 99-0431, HB 3103)
This law imposes disclosure requirements and price limits on the resale of tickets. A ticket broker or reseller must identify and provide contact information for the event venue box office or its licensed agent. Disclosure of this information must be clear, and readily noticeable. Ticket brokers and resellers must have a refund policy with established standards.
Establishment of Low Interest Home Improvement Loan Program (P.A. 99-0037, HB 3193)
Amends the Home Equity Assurance Act. Provides that a governing commission of a Guaranteed Home Equity Program with no less than $4,000,000 in its guarantee fund may by resolution (currently, only by referendum) establish a Low Interest Home Improvement Loan Program.
Animal Cruelty-Minor Present (P.A. 99-0357, HB 3231)
In addition to any other penalty by law, a person convicted of cruel treatment of companion animals, in the presence of a child, shall be subject to a fine of $250 and ordered to perform community service for not less than 100 hours.
Youth Hunting Licenses and Privileges (P.A. 99-0307, HB 3234)
Previous state law only allowed disabled hunters to use crossbows when hunting. Now everyone may use a crossbow when hunting for coyotes. Also, 18 year-olds may apply for a youth hunting license while 19 year-olds are allowed to hunt by themselves. Everyone under the age of 19 must complete a hunter safety course in Illinois.
Benefits to Civilian Employees of the Armed forces and DOD (P.A. 99-0118, HB 3384)
Allows civilian employees of the United States Armed Services of the United States Department of Defense, serving outside of Illinois be allowed to secure vehicle registration up to 45 days after returning to Illinois. Any resident of the State of Illinois, who is serving as a member of the United States Armed Services, outside of the State of Illinois, need not secure registration until 45 days after returning to the State, provided the vehicle displays a temporary military registration. Civilian employees of the United States Armed Services or of the United States Department of Defense were not previously afforded this.
Free Active-Duty Military Personnel Credit Freeze (P.A. 99-0373, HB 3425)
Consumer reporting agencies shall implement a credit freeze without cost for active-duty military personnel.
Illinois Allowance for Crowdfunding (P.A. 099-0182, HB 3429)
Startup companies in Illinois will now be allowed to use crowdfunding to raise capital to help grow their business. As a result of the 2012 Federal Jobs Act, companies may now use internet websites to grow their business, however some stipulations apply. Certain restrictions apply.
Equal Pay Cover All Employers (P.A. 99-0418, HB 3619)
Amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003 with a two-tiered civil penalty system for employer violations. An employer with fewer than 4 employees that violates the Act is subject to $500 for a first offense, $2,500 for a second offense, and $5,000 for a third or subsequent offense. An employer with 4 or more employees is subject to $2,500 for a first offense, $3,000 for a second offense, and $5,000 for a third or subsequent offense.
America’s Central Port Deemed Foreign Trade Zone (P.A. 99-0279, HB 3664)
Raw material that is produced in foreign nations, but imported through America’s Central Port District and assembled in Illinois will be tariff free.
Mail Notification of Driver’s License Suspension (P.A. 99-0297, HB 3670)
The Illinois Secretary of State must now notify drivers by mail when their license has been revoked.
Work Zone Violation Fund Use (P.A. 099-0280, HB 3812)
Allows a county to use a portion of work zone violation funds to purchase police equipment and to produce materials to educate drivers on safe driving habits.
Creation Of Specialized County EAV Fund (P.A. 99-0019, SB 87)
Allows county boards to accumulate, in a separate fund, up to 3% of the county’s equalized assessed value of property for capital improvements, repairs or replacements to avoid the costs of borrowing.
Defines Emergency Vehicles Use of Emergency Lights (P.A. 99-0040, SB 621)
Allows the use of red or white oscillating, rotating or flashing lights on vehicles which are occasionally used as rescue vehicles and authorized for use as rescue vehicles by a volunteer EMS provider.
Bodycams for Law Enforcement (P.A. 99-0352, SB 1304)
This omnibus police bill creates both the Police and Community Relations Improvement Act and the Law Enforcement Officer-Worn Body Camera and Management Act. It sets out procedures for investigating officer-related deaths, collecting information on pedestrian or traffic stops, and restricts the use of chokeholds. The new law also allows departments to adopt rules for the use of body cameras.
Confirmation of Car Insurance (P.A. 99-0333, SB 1482)
Directs the Secretary of State’s office to periodically conduct random confirmation of vehicle liability insurance for registered vehicles. Provides provision for the enforcement of violations and extends the length of the random confirmations until December 31, 2016.
Extends Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Task Force (P.A. 99-0251, SB 1620)
Extends the repeal of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act from January 1, 2016 to January 1, 2020.
Electronic Delivery of Insurance Documents (P.A. 99-0167, SB 1680)
Allows any notice or document required in an insurance contract to be delivered, stored, and presented by electronic means so long as it meets the requirements of the Electronic Commerce Security Act. Also establishes rules for opting out of electronic delivery of such documents and excuses the parties involved from any civil liability in the case that information is compromised during an electronic transmission of documents.
Impoundment Large Animals (P.A. 99-0321, SB 1735)
In cases where a county has no facilities capable of taking companion animals that are being abused, the authorities may utilize the on-site impoundment of the animals, pursuant to a court order of the property owner.
Insurance Coverage for Infertility (P.A. 99-421, SB 1764)
Requires insurers offering accident and health insurance to groups of more than 25 employees to provide coverage for infertility treatments to covered individuals unable to attain a viable pregnancy or maintain a viable pregnancy. Expands the definition of infertility to include individuals unable to conceive after one year of attempting to produce conception and those unable to conceive after diagnosis with a condition affecting fertility.
Silver Alert (P.A. 99-0367, SB 1846)
Missing older adults who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer ’s disease will be added to the Missing and Endangered statewide alert program. This system, Amber Alert, is already in use for lost, missing and endangered children.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms (P.A. 99-0470, HB 152)
School Boards must require all schools under their authority to be equipped with approved carbon monoxide alarms or carbon monoxide detectors. These alarms may be purchased using the fire prevention and safety tax levy proceeds or bond proceeds.
Mistaken Identity Arrest Records (P.A. 99-0363, HB 169)
If a person has been arrested for a criminal offense and an investigation reveals that there was a case of mistaken identity, the law enforcement agency whose officers made the arrest must delete or retract the arrest records of the person who was mistakenly identified.
Penalties for Non-Electric Cars Parking in E-Car Charging Station Spaces (P.A. 99-0172, HB 198)
Prohibits the parking of non-electric vehicles in charging station spaces designated for electric vehicles, sets fines for violations, and imposes rules for municipalities for posting signs about the prohibited use and fine amounts.