Week in Review for week of 12/28/14

New Laws Taking Effect in 2015

On January 1, 2015, more than 200 new laws will take effect in Illinois. Here is a brief summary of a few of these new laws.  For a complete list of new laws by category, please click here.

Access to Birth Certificates of Adopted Persons. Allows adult grandchildren to access birth certificates and other information regarding their deceased grandparents if the grandparent was adopted. Also allows a birth parent of an adopted child to receive a non-certified copy of an original birth certificate if certain conditions are met. PA 98-0704 (HB 5949)

Ban Synthetic Microbeads in Cosmetic Products.  Prohibits the manufacture or sale of any cosmetic products that contain synthetic plastic microbeads, a pollutant composed of non-biodegradable solid plastic particle used to exfoliate or cleanse in a rinse-off product. Illinois is the first state to enact such legislation, aimed at protecting the Great Lakes and other bodies of water. PA 98-0638 (SB 2727)

Internet Sales Tax Collection.  Allows the State to use an Internet “click-through” relationship as a way to demand that the internet retailer collect and remit sales taxes to the State of Illinois. PA 98-1089 (SB 352)

‘Ban the Box’ bill.  Prohibits employers from seeking information regarding a potential employee’s criminal history until after an invitation to interview or a conditional offer of employment has been extended. This law is intended to allow job seekers with criminal history to be considered on their merits and experience rather than being dismissed for an offense. PA 98-0774 (HB 5701)

Police Ticket Quota Ban.  Prohibits county, municipal, conservation, and state police agencies from implementing ticket quotas. Officers may still be evaluated on “points of contact,” including the number of traffic stops completed, arrests, written warnings and crime prevention measures. Initiative enacted to refocus law enforcement on public safety instead of revenue generation. PA 98-0650 (SB 3411)

Local Audit Reports.  In response to the ex-treasurer/comptroller of the City of Dixon who was convicted for embezzling at least $30 million of the city’s funds, this law provides greater oversight and review of the financial activities, auditing practices, and financial status of municipalities and counties to help prevent such a theft of public funds in the future. Requires auditors of a local government to provide a copy of the reports to each member of the county board or city council, and to post this information on the local government’s website, if it maintains a website, within 60 days of the close of an audit. PA 98-0738 (HB 5503)

Use of Medical Cannabis for Minors.  Amends the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act to add the use of medical cannabis for seizures and epilepsy, including minors under the age of 18. Allows the Illinois Department of Public Health to create rules that require minors to have parental consent. PA 98-0775 (SB 2636)

Cyber Bullying into School Code.  Requires all schools, public or private to add cyber bullying into the school code and policy to investigate an act of bullying. PA 98-0801 (HB 4207)

Blood Donation – Community Service Prohibition.  Amends various criminal codes in relation to juveniles, primarily the Juvenile Court Act of 1987. States that donating blood or working at a blood bank no longer qualifies as court ordered public or community service. PA 98-0824 (SB 2709)

Use of Drones During Disasters or Public Health Emergencies.  Amends the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act to prevent law enforcement from using information from private third party drones, unless the owner of the drone provides it freely. Allows for use of drones without a search warrant during a disaster or public health emergency. Allows drones to be used to monitor weather or emergency conditions and declare a disaster or public health emergency. PA 98-0831 (SB 2937)

Gold Star Specialty License Plates.  Surviving sons and daughters of military Gold Star recipients are now included among those who may be issued Gold Star specialty license plates by the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office. Those already eligible for the plates are surviving widows/widowers, siblings and parents. PA 98-0869 (HB 5475)

Disabled Veteran Parking Placards.  This law removes a requirement that a disabled parking placard or decal which has been issued to a veteran must be renewed every four years. The new law states that once a disabled parking placard or decal has been issued to a veteran who has been permanently disabled, that veteran does not have to keep coming back to the Secretary of State’s office for a renewal every four years. PA 98-0879 (SB 3255)

Purple Heart License Plate Fee Waiver.  To honor those who have served in the military and earned the Purple Heart, Illinois will now waive the payment of any registration or registration renewal fee for an individual issued a Purple Heart license plate. The law will also allow individuals who have been issued the Purple Heart license plate and qualify under the Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons Property Tax Relief Act to obtain a plate for an additional vehicle for a $24 registration fee. PA 98-0902 (HB 4491)

“Sign and drive” in Illinois.  This new law institutes “sign and drive” in Illinois by prohibiting the confiscation of a motorist’s driver’s license as bail when stopped and cited for a minor (no jail time) traffic offense. Since 9/11, the need for appropriate, state-issued photo identification has become a necessity in order to travel, obtain health-care, renting vehicles, etc. The driver’s license is still the standard, accepted form of photo identification. PA 98-0870 (SB 2583)

Proof of online license plate renewal.  Allows a printed receipt of online license plate renewal to serve as proof of renewal until the sticker is received in the mail. PA 98-1103 (SB 2802)

Police Bulletproof Vest Requirement.  Requires law enforcement agencies to provide a bulletproof vest for every new law enforcement officer, and to replace each vest before the warranty expires. Requires that each government agency covered under this law will be required to apply to the United States Department of Justice under the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant of 1998 to help pay for the purchase. Federal reimbursement is available for up to half the cost of the bulletproof vests and the state will be responsible for the remaining half that will otherwise be covered by the law enforcement agency. PA 98-0743 (HB 5688)

Building Storm Shelters in New Schools.  This law requires all new school construction in Illinois to include a storm shelter which meets the minimum requirements of the International Code Council and National Storm Shelter Association. The legislation was inspired by the devastation left by deadly tornadoes which ripped through Illinois in 2012 and 2013. PA 98-0883 (HB 2513)

EMS – Stroke Center Designations Established.  Amends the Emergency Medical Services Act and adds an “Acute Stroke-Ready Hospital” and “Comprehensive Stroke Center” designations that require a certification using evidence-based standards from a nationally-recognized certifying body approved by the Department of Public Health; Defines the membership of the “Regional Stroke Advisory Subcommittee” and creates annual fees for these stroke center designations between $100 - $500 to be deposited into the Stroke Data Collection Fund to be used to collect data on stroke victims, treatments, and outcomes. PA 98-1001 (HB 5742)

Recommended Follow-Ups after a Mammogram.  When the Department of Public Health issues its written summary regarding early detection and treatment of breast cancer, it must now also inform individuals of recommended follow-up tests. The Department must use layman’s terms when making its summary. PA 98-0886 (HB 3765)

Hair Braiding Licensure Standards.  Provides that an individual licensed as a hair braider teacher may practice hair braiding without being licensed as a hair braider. The purpose of this change is to bring the same standards to barber oversight as is done with cosmetology. PA 98-0911 (HB 4790)

Kratom Control Act.  Creates the Kratom Control Act, providing that a minor under 18 years of age shall not knowingly purchase or possess any product containing any quantity of Kratom, nor knowingly purchase or possess product containing Kratom. Persons caught distributing Kratom to minors are guilty of a Class B misdemeanor for which the fine will be no less than $500. PA 98-0981 (HB 5526)

Electronic Cigarettes.  Amends the Display of Tobacco Products Act, providing that alternative nicotine products (electronic cigarettes) must be sold from behind the counter or in an age restricted area or in a sealed display case. PA 98-0983 (HB 5868)

Special Packaging for E-Cigarettes.  The new law provides that electronic cigarette liquids sold and marketed for the refilling of e-cigarettes may be sold only in special packaging. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) shall adopt rules establishing the standards for special packaging to be used for e-cigarette liquids. PA 98-1021 (HB 5689)

Police Lineup Reforms.  This law is meant to reform the lineup procedures in Illinois to prevent false identifications ultimately leading to wrongful convictions. Among its requirements are procedures to prevent a lineup administrator from knowing the identity of a suspect and requires law enforcement agencies to adopt written guidelines for using simultaneous lineups and sequential lineups.  PA 98-1014 (HB 802)

Alcohol – Minors.  This law makes it unlawful for any person to knowingly permit his or her residence, any other private property under his or her control, or any vehicle, watercraft, or conveyance to be used by an invitee under the age of 21 in a manner that violates the minor alcohol prohibition. It also makes provisions in the case of rental property. PA 98-1017 (HB 4745)

Governor OKs New Eavesdropping Restrictions.  New law allows citizens to record law enforcement officers.  On Tuesday, Gov. Quinn signed SB 1342 into law as P.A. 98-1142; the measure puts new eavesdropping restrictions into place after the Illinois Supreme Court threw out the previous eavesdropping law last March.

As a result of the March court ruling, all Illinois residents had absolutely no expectation of privacy in regards to eavesdropping or digital recordings in public or private, not just law enforcement officers.  There were no protections in place for anyone in Illinois against being recorded against their wishes.

Under the previous law, recording anyone against their will in Illinois could be punishable under a Class 4 felony with a one to three years sentence.  For eavesdropping upon law enforcement (State’s Attorneys, Police Officers, and agents of the Attorney General) that punishment was significantly higher at a Class 1 Felony punishable with a four to 15 year sentence.

SB 1342 reinstates the Class 4 felony for concealing the recording of private interactions between Illinois residents, and actually reduces the punishment for recording law enforcement officials from a Class 1 to a Class 3 felony.  House Republicans also filed an amendment to this bill which would have made any eavesdropping in Illinois a misdemeanor for the first offense and would have stripped the enhanced penalties for police officers.

Despite widespread confusion and misinformation online, this new law incorporates provisions that DO IN FACT allow citizens to record police in an open and public manner.  In addition, in situations that are in public, even if a person is concealing what he or she is doing, the courts have found there is no expectation of privacy for law enforcement.  SB 1342 only prohibits a person from secretly recording law enforcement in situations where there is an expectation of privacy (e.g. two police officers discussing a case at the station).


“Tax rollback day” approaches.   Under the terms of Illinois’ largest-ever tax increase law, P.A. 96-1496 (SB 2505) Illinois income taxes paid by individuals and corporations are scheduled to be partly (not completely) rolled back on January 1, 2015.  Under the terms of the tax-hike law, passed by legislative Democrats and signed by Gov. Quinn, the income tax paid by Illinois residents on their individual income is scheduled to be partly rolled back from 5.00% in calendar year 2014 to 3.75% in calendar year 2015 and following years.  The corporate income tax rate is scheduled to be partly rolled back from 7.00% to 5.25% at the same time.  The new rates created by this rollback are supposed to remain in place for 10 years, until December 31, 2024, when a second rollback cycle is supposed to take place.  For more on the tax rollback, please visit The Caucus Blog.

Week in Review

Get the Week in Review emailed directly to your inbox!  Sign up today to get a first-hand look at the continuing legislative and fiscal challenges facing policymakers in Springfield.  For news about the approaching 2015 spring session and as Illinois prepares to welcome Governor-elect Bruce Rauner, the Week in Review is more essential than ever as a way to follow major Illinois issues, questions, and trends.