As July begins, 13 new laws take effect in the state of Illinois. These new laws range from fines for texting while driving, to school curriculum changes, to laws to prevent sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
Seizure Smart School Act (HB 1475/PA 101-50): Creates the Seizure Smart School Act to ensure that current federal laws and regulations regarding epilepsy are more consistently enforced in Illinois schools.
Texting While Driving Accident Fine (HB 2386/ PA 101-90): Provides that when a person violates the state law prohibiting the operation of an electronic communication device while operating a motor vehicle, and the violation results in an accident causing great bodily harm to any person, the operator shall have his or her driver’s license suspended for a period of one year, and shall be assessed a fine of at least $1,000.
Pyrolysis or Gasification Pilot Project (HB 2491/PA 101-141): Allows for the creation of a pilot project for a pyrolysis or gasification facility in Will County or Grundy County.
Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Prevention (SB 75/PA 101-221): Addresses sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, protects hotel and casino employees from sexual harassment by guests, and updates government ethics laws.
LGBT History Curriculum (HB 246/PA 101-227): Requires that in public schools, the teaching of history must include a study of the roles and contributions of LGBT people. Provides that textbooks authorized under the textbook block grant program must be non-discriminatory as to any characteristics under the Illinois Human Rights Act and must include the roles and contributions of all people protected under the Illinois Human Rights Act.
Civics Mandate (HB 2265/PA 101-254): Mandates one semester of civics education in 6th, 7th or 8th grades. Applies only to public schools.
Dry-cleaning Fees (SB 171/PA 101-400): Increases the fees for dry-cleaning solvents and for licensure of dry-cleaning facilities. Extends the Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund Program until Jan. 1, 2030. Transfers duties of the Drycleaner Response Trust Fund Council to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Human Rights Employer Definition (HB 252/PA 101-430): Amends the Employment Article of the Illinois Human Rights Act. Changes “employer” definition to any person employing one (currently 15) or more employees within Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks within the calendar year of or preceding the alleged violation. Exempts places of worship from “employer” definition. Adds an effective date of July 1, 2020.
Right-of-Way Violation License Suspension (HB 2383/PA 101-470): Provides that a violation of a right-of- way where an accident causes bodily harm or death at a crosswalk or crosswalk in a school zone shall also include a driver’s license suspension for a period of one year.
IMRF Document Posting (HB 3263/PA 101-504): Directs the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) to post certain documents on its website. Requires municipalities with a website to post a link to the IMRF information on their websites.
Dry-Cleaning Fees Trailer (SB 718/PA 605): Makes technical changes to SB 171/P.A 101-400 (referenced above).
License to Work Act (SB 1786/PA 101-623): Creates the License to Work Act which removes provisions from the Illinois Vehicle Code that allow for the suspension of a driver’s license for certain violations. Under this legislation licenses will no longer be suspended for; failure to pay 10 parking tickets, or other fines resulting from certain local vehicle violations; failing to pay five tolls or penalties for tollway violations; failing to pay fees to the Illinois Commerce Commission; motor fuel theft; being adjudicated a “truant minor” who is “in need of supervision, addicted, or delinquent;” an offense committed by a juvenile to further the criminal activities of an organized gang involving the use of a driver’s license or permit; damaging, removing any part of, tampering with, going into, on or working or attempting to work on a vehicle without authority to do so unless the person exercised physical control over the vehicle such as caught driving; being convicted of criminal trespass to a vehicle if the person was not in actual physical control; being adjudged to be afflicted with of suffering from any mental disability or disease; certain violations of the Liquor Control Act of 1934 if the person was not an occupant of the vehicle.
Government Emergency Administration Act (SB 2135/PA 101-640): Creates new acts and amends several others to provide government with the tools needed to continue serving the people and better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Establishes a commission to advise and review efforts to revive the economy with members appointed by leaders of the four caucuses of the General Assembly. Allows for a study about providing free broadband Internet access to all Illinois residents. Under certain circumstances, allows for remote witnessing and notarization. Gives the Secretary of State the power to extend various expiration dates if there is a statewide disaster declaration based on a pandemic or similar emergency. Changes how museums, aquariums and zoological parks provide free access to the public. Creates a task force to study the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on businesses and the need for changes to business interruption insurance policies. Allows for municipal appropriation deadliness to be extended during an emergency.