On Jan. 1, 2016, 237 new laws go into effect in Illinois, including measures that impact fighting crime, government transparency, business, hunting, health, and family.
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. SB 627/PA 99-0467 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 Jan. 1, goes after designer drug manufacturers. SB 1129/PA 99-0371 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 (SB 9/PA 99-0050 and SB 67/PA 99-0051).
Those who call 9-1-1 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 under HB 3988/PA 99-0160.
As more police officers start to use body cameras, SB 1304/PA 99-0352 establishes new rules and regulations 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.
Illinois joins several other states Jan. 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 (HB 1335/ PA 99-0270).
In keeping with the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s tradition of government transparency, SB 903/PA 99-0393 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, Sen. 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. SB 1672/PA 99-0463 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, hunters will be able to hunt bobcats to control overpopulation and keep the animal at healthy numbers. HB 352/PA 99-0033 sets the dates for the bobcat hunting season from Nov. 1 through Feb. 15.
In an effort to boost tourism for downstate communities and to put a focus on the family HB 3234/PA 99-0307 will 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 through HB 4025/PA 99-0434.
With 90 percent of pumpkins grown in the nation produced in Illinois, HB 208/PA 99-0364 recognizes that fact by making pumpkin pie the official state pie.
Click here for a full listing of all laws that take effect on Jan. 1.