More than 200 new laws take effect in Illinois on Jan. 1. newstrendslive

Debate around the proposed end of cash bail in Illinois on Jan. 1 dominated the political discourse during this fall’s political races and is now the subject of a court battle, but it’s just one of about 200 laws scheduled to take effect in the new year.

From a pay bump for low-wage workers and a tax hike at the gas pump to a new official state snake and rock, here’s a look at what kicks in as the calendar turns to 2023.

For the fourth straight year, workers 18 and older who earn minimum wage in Illinois will see their pay rate go up on Jan. 1, with a $1 increase to $13 per hour.

The annual increases are the result of a measure Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law in 2019, when the minimum wage was $8.25 per hour, that in steps will raise pay to $15 per hour in 2025.

In Chicago, the minimum wage for employers with more than 20 workers, which is tied to inflation, went up to $15.40 per hour on July 1 and will increase again this year by 2.5% or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.

Cook County has set a minimum wage of $13.35, though most county municipalities have opted out. Those municipalities will still be governed by the state minimum wage.

After a six-month election-year reprieve, drivers will see taxes go up at the pump twice in 2023.

The first hike, on New Year’s Day, will be an increase of 3.1 cents, to 42.3 cents per gallon.

Under a 2019 measure that doubled the gas tax to help pay for Pritzker’s $45 billion Rebuild Illinois construction program, the tax is supposed to increase each July based on the rate of inflation.

But faced with soaring prices for gas and other necessities during what was expected to be a tough election year, Pritzker and the Democratic-controlled legislature pushed off last July’s gas tax hike until after the November balloting.

Gas prices at a BP gas station on Feb. 4, 2022, in Chicago.

The move was dismissed by Republicans as an election year gimmick and opposed by gas station owners who were required to post stickers on their pumps notifying drivers of the pause.

Another component of the tax relief plan, a suspension of the 1% sales tax on groceries, remains in effect for another six months.

The main permanent aspect of the plan kicks in Jan. 1: an increase and expansion of eligibility for the earned income tax credit for low- and moderate-income workers.

The credit, which lowers tax bills and often produces refunds for those who qualify, is increasing by 2 percentage points and will be available to childless adults ages 18 to 25, people 65 and older, and immigrants who were not previously eligible.

Bail reform isn’t the only provision of the SAFE-T Act, the sweeping criminal justice legislation that was signed into law last year, that is taking effect on New Year’s Day. Also new as of Sunday is a law that allows for the investigation of a wider range of anonymous complaints against police officers.

Under the new system, the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board would review audio and video recordings, arrest reports, photos, GPS records, lab reports and all other available evidence before determining whether further investigation on an anonymous complaint is warranted.

Previously, anonymous complaints were not typically accepted by police departments or police oversight agencies in Illinois except, for instance, if an officer was accused of committing a crime.

Pro-law enforcement interests have opposed anonymous complaints out of concern that too many officers could be tagged with unfair allegations. But police accountability advocates have expressed concern that filing a complaint against a police officer can be intimidating if the complainant is worried about retribution.

Coroners and medical examiners will be required to notify the FBI if they are not able to identify human remains within 72 hours under a measure inspired by the death of Jelani Day, an Illinois State University graduate student whose body was found in the Illinois River in 2021.

ISU student Jelani Day went missing on Aug. 24, 2021.

Day’s body was not identified for almost three weeks after being found, highlighting criticism that missing people of color such as Day, who was Black, don’t get enough attention from officials.

The state will also create a fund and grant program, subject to appropriation by the Illinois General Assembly, that provides behavioral health services to first responders.

Grants and other financial support will be provided to law enforcement to address carjackings, which have skyrocketed in recent years.

In addition, a new law will make clear that victims of carjackings or car thefts will not be responsible for any penalties that arise from red-light or speed camera violations, or impound fees, attached to their vehicle after it is stolen.

Sexual assault charges can be brought in cases where alleged victims became too intoxicated on their own to consent to sexual activity under a new law inspired by Kaylyn Ahn, a Des Plaines teen who reported she had been drinking before being sexually assaulted in 2021.

The law clarifies that criminal charges can be brought regardless of how the alleged victim became intoxicated or impaired.

Kaylyn Ahn, 18, testified before the House and Senate in Springfield this spring in support of the sexual assault bill that could make it easier to prosecute cases where alleged victims became too intoxicated to consent to sexual activity.

Additionally, as of New Year’s Day, people accused of soliciting a sexual act with someone under 18 or with a severe or profound intellectual disability can no longer use as a defense that they didn’t know the victim was a minor or had the intellectual disability.

An alleged victim of domestic violence may also now file a petition for an order of protection either in person or online. The law also pertains to “no contact” orders, including for stalking. The law also requires a court in a county with more than 250,000 people to offer the option of a remote hearing to an alleged victim for an order of protection or “no contact” orders, though the court has the authority to deny such hearings.

A proposal to ban the sale of certain semi-automatic weapons is expected to be one of the most hotly debated issues of the new year, but a handful of less controversial gun-related laws are set to take effect.

Deer hunters will now be allowed to use single-shot rifles. Previously, the only rifles allowed were muzzleloaders.

Under a separate law, the Department of Public Health will be developing a two-year public awareness campaign on safe gun storage. A separate measure allows schools to include gun storage in their safety education curricula.

The Department of Children and Family Services now will be required to conduct an exit interview with children 5 or older within five days when they leave a foster home.

Interviewers will be required to report any allegations of abuse or neglect or any potential foster care licensing violations.

A related measure will require DCFS to ensure that children who are aging out of the foster care system receive instruction on independent living and self-sufficiency, such as employment, personal finance and meal preparation.

Following a 2022 law that prohibited schools from banning hairstyles associated with race or ethnicity, the state’s Human Rights Act is being amended to expand the definition of race to include associated traits such as hair textures and styles.

Supporters of the measure said it is aimed at ending discrimination Black workers face on the job when they wear their hair in natural or protective styles.

The state also is clarifying a law intended to ensure that workers receive at least one day off per workweek.

Modifications to the One Day Rest in Seven Act include specifying that workers receive 24 hours off after working six consecutive days, regardless of whether the days fall within one calendar week.

The new law also requires a second 20-minute meal or rest break for employees who work a 12-hour shift. Current law requires one break for those who work 7½ hours or longer.

The measure also increases penalties for employers who violate the law, increasing the current fine of up to $100 per offense to a fine of up to $250 and up to $250 in damages paid to the employee for companies with fewer than 25 workers and a fine of up to $500 and up to $500 in damages for larger firms.

A separate measure adds an exemption to the law for workers whose schedules and break periods are set through collective bargaining.

Another new law requires employers to provide 10 days of unpaid time off for workers who experience issues such as a miscarriage, stillbirth, failed fertility treatment, or unsuccessful adoption.

The law also expands the required 10 days of unpaid bereavement leave for employees who experience the death of a child to include the death of a stepchild, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, parent-in-law, grandchild, grandparent or stepparent.

Also taking effect Jan. 1 are two measures that were part of a legislative package designed to address the ongoing shortage of teachers, substitutes and aides in schools across Illinois.

Under one measure, students pursuing education degrees now will be allowed to apply for a substitute teaching license once they’ve completed 90 credit hours of coursework toward their teaching degree. Previously, substitutes had to have a bachelor’s degree.

Supporters say the change will give teachers in training valuable classroom experience while also helping make sure schools are fully staffed.

A related measure lowers the minimum age for elementary and middle school teacher assistants and other paraprofessionals by one year, to 18.

Another education-related law that takes effect in the new year requires school personnel, administrators and board of education members to receive training in how trauma can affect student academic performance and behavior.

Separately, Chicago Public Schools will be required to review its enrollment at least once every five years to determine whether new school boundaries are needed.

Middle and high schools statewide also now will be required to give students one excused absence per school year to attend a civic event sponsored by a nonprofit or government entity.

Third-party services such as Grubhub and DoorDash no longer will be allowed to list restaurants on their platforms unless they have a written agreement with the business.

The prohibition was supported by the representatives for Illinois restaurants, which have long complained about — and even sued over — unauthorized listings and deliveries.

Third-party services such as Grubhub and DoorDash no longer will be allowed to list restaurants on their platforms unless they have a written agreement with the business.

Restaurants will be facing a new restriction of their own in the new year: a prohibition on using latex gloves in food preparation.

The law, designed to protect people who are allergic to latex, includes an exception in the event nonlatex gloves are unavailable due to supply-chain problems during a crisis. In those cases, restaurants will be required to post signs notifying customers.

The new law also applies to emergency medical services, with similar exceptions for shortages.

Pharmacists now will be permitted to dispense pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis drugs, commonly known as PrEP and PEP, without a prescription from a doctor.

When taken properly, PrEP reduces the risk of contracting HIV from sex by 99%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. PEP also is highly effective when taken within 72 hours of exposure.

A related measure, intended to address the virus’ disproportionate impact on the Black community, provides that one Black-led Center of Excellence HIV Biomedical Resource Hub will be created for every $3 million available in the state’s African American HIV/AIDS Response Fund. The centers are intended to provide regional comprehensive HIV preventive care and services, such as PrEP assessment, same-day prescription delivery, primary HIV care, case management and outpatient mental health treatment.

Both initiatives are part of the Department of Public Health’s effort to end the HIV epidemic in the state by 2030.

Fans of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky and the city’s two professional soccer teams, the Fire and Red Stars, may soon be able to join fans of the Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, White Sox and, yes, even the St. Louis Cardinals in displaying team pride on their license plates.

The state plates come with an extra annual fee, $25 of which goes toward funding public education.

Before the new plates are created, the teams must get commitments from 1,500 people to purchase them, and all three teams are still working on meeting that target, said Dave Druker, a spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office.

Chicago Sky players, including Kahleah Copper, second from left, celebrate after winning the WNBA championship, 80-74, against the Phoenix Mercury on Oct. 17, 2021, at Wintrust Arena.

Separate legislation is removing the name of the Susan G. Komen Foundation from mammogram license plates issued by the secretary of state. Additionally, the $25 from each license plate fee that used to be donated to the controversial charity will now go to the Illinois Department of Public Health to help fund patient navigation for populations with higher mortality rates from breast cancer.

The state also will begin making Gold Star license plates available to more family members of those who’ve died in military service. Previously available to surviving spouses, parents and children, the plates will now be made available to stepchildren, adopted children and half-siblings, and children will join surviving spouses and parents in having their license plate fees waived.

Another new law cut the vehicle registration fee for residents 65 or older and people with disabilities who qualify for property tax breaks and their spouses to $10 annually from $24. The standard fee is $151 per year.

With the new year come some new state symbols.

Joining the white-tailed deer, northern cardinal, bluegill, painted turtle, monarch butterfly and eastern tiger salamander in Illinois’ official menagerie, the eastern milk snake becomes the state snake.

The nonvenomous snake, which averages 24 to 43 inches in length, is found in the northern third of the state, with the red milk snake subspecies found in the southern third, with some overlap in central Illinois, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

The snake’s main lobbyist at the Capitol was Gentry Heiple, a then-seventh grader from Carterville Junior High School in southern Illinois, who proposed the idea to his local state representative.

Dolostone becomes the official state rock, thanks to a lobbying effort that was joined by students at Pleasantdale Middle School in Burr Ridge. The mineral is quarried in various parts of the state and is commonly used in road construction and agriculture, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Dolostone becomes the official state rock, thanks to a lobbying effort that was joined by students at Pleasantdale Middle School in Burr Ridge.

The new “state theater” isn’t Steppenwolf or the Goodman but Theatre in the Park, an outdoor repertory housed at Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site near Petersburg, north of Springfield.

And sweet corn, already the state vegetable, is getting its own day of honor. Beginning in 2023, Aug. 1 becomes Sweet Corn Appreciation Day, “to celebrate the importance of sweet corn to Illinois agriculture, and in recognition of family farmers.”

Illinois also will be getting a new state historian, to be appointed by Pritzker, under a measure overhauling the governing structure of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. The new historian will be required to have expertise in the Illinois history of a diverse group, such as the African American, Asian American, Latino, Native American or LGBTQ community.

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