If the more than 200 new Illinois laws that went into effect Wednesday have your eyes glazing over, here's a summary of some of the more noteworthy ones, according to State Rep. Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst).
“The New Year will ring in hundreds of new laws in Illinois. Some you may have heard about, others you may be just learning about now,” Reboletti said. “I encourage all Illinois residents to familiarize themselves with new laws to see how they may be impacted.”
No Cell Phones While Driving
HB 1247: Illinois drivers may not operate a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device, specifically a cell phone. Exemptions include the use of hands-free devices, two-way radios and electronic devices capable of performing multiple functions as long as the devices are not used for a prohibited purpose.
Freedom From Drone Surveillance Act
SB 1587: Law enforcement may not use drones to gather information and may only use them in specific circumstances, such as when law enforcement has obtained a search warrant, to search for a missing person or to counter a high risk of terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security determines that credible intelligence indicates there is a risk.
Age Restriction for Tanning Facilities
HB 188: Bans tanning facilities from permitting any person under the age of 18 from using tanning equipment, including sunlamps, tanning booths or tanning beds. Parental permission does not exempt the person under 18 from the ban enacted by HB 188.
E-cigarettes Age Restrictions
SB 1756: Prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to minors under the age of 18.
Social Networking at Work
SB 2306: Amends the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act to distinguish between protection of personal social networking sites and an employer’s right to monitor a professional social networking account. An employer can access an employee's social networking website, for example, if an insurer or investment advisor is required by state or federal law to comply with specific requirements related to its communications with the public in order to protect investors and consumers.
Rural Speed Limits
SB 2356: Raises the speed limit on rural Illinois interstates to 70 miles per hour. Certain urban and suburban counties are excluded from the higher speed limit. Also reduces the number of miles over the limit a vehicle must be traveling in order to constitute a serious traffic offense.
Safety and Welfare of School Students
HB 2768: In a school district other than the Chicago School District, a principal will have the responsibility to utilize the resources of law enforcement when the safety and welfare of students and teachers are threatened by illegal use or possession of weapons, or by illegal gang activity. The bill specifically mentions illegal gang activity as an offense under which courts or police must report to the principal when a student is detained.
HB 1010: Prohibits court supervision in cases where the defendant’s violation of the Illinois Vehicle Code or a similar local ordinance was the proximate cause of the death of another person if the defendant has a prior conviction or supervision for a moving violation, suspension revocation or cancellation of his or her license.
Sexual Assault of a Child
HB 1063: Allows prosecution of sexual assault of a child under 18 to commence at any time when corroborating physical evidence is available or when someone required to report an alleged or suspected commission of sexual assault of a child fails to do so.
New laws also include:
- HB 2675 Any public school sex‐ed course offered to sixth through 12th graders must cover both abstinence and contraception.
- HB 3190 Requires proof of meningitis vaccination for students entering sixth and 12th grade.
- HB 0226 Allows 17‐year‐olds to vote in a primary if they will be 18 by the following General Election.
- HB 2992 Parents in a joint‐custody relationship must first offer the other parent the option of temporarily caring for a child before seeking third‐party child care.
- SB 0722 Allows people at wineries to seal and take home one bottle of opened wine.
- SB 0923 School districts may have cameras on school buses to track drivers who pass stopped school buses with arms extended.
- HB 1814 Separates speeding in a work zone into two offenses: when workers are present and when workers are not present.
- HB 2695 Requires the state to purchase vehicles that are electric or powered by natural gas after Jan. 1, 2016; provides for the construction of charging stations and requires that 25 percent of state police vehicles must use alternative fuels.
- SB 1479 Allows secretary of state to revoke someone's driver's license for operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol; requires BAC testing if an accident occurs.