New year. New you. New laws. New rules.
Illinois lawmakers passed more than 250 bills in 2018 that become law this year, and it’s a lot of information to consume.
State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit D-Aurora sat down with her constituents at the Eola Road Aurora Library Jan. 17 to discuss what the new legislation means to Illinois residents, and to highlight some of the most pertinent changes that will affect their everyday lives.
Kifowit was joined by lobbyist Brianna Lantz, who warned residents not to get overwhelmed at the idea of having hundreds of new laws to abide by.
“People see that 250 number and think, “We don’t need that many laws in Illinois.’,” Lantz said. “But, one thing legislators are is precise.”
Many of the new laws are old laws that have been tweaked in minor ways for clarity. By changing even one or two words, a new law is born.
“It’s a little misleading,” Lantz said.
However, out of the more than 250 new laws, some are indeed fresh and worth noting. Kifowit took time to discuss the top 10 passed bills that she feels people should be aware of.
- Look Back for Safety (H.B. 4377) states that a child under the age of two must be in a rear-facing car seat unless the child is more than 40 pounds or 40 inches tall.
- Active Shooter Drills (S.B. 2350) is a new law that requires schools to hold at least one drill simulating an active shooter or other threat to the school building within the first 90 days of each school year. Law enforcement officers are to observe these drills. “We hope it never happens, but we want to be prepared,” Kifowit said.
- Employee Expense Reimbursement (S.B. 2999) was passed to protect workers, Kifowit explained. If your boss requires you to use your own computer or phone for work, he/she must now have a reimbursement policy in place.
- Carnival Worker Background Checks (S.B. 3240) was passed in response to 2014 tragedy where a young boy was killed by two brothers who were carnival employees. While the amusement ride company was required to perform background checks on employees that operate rides, it did not have to do so for other employees. “We want to make sure we can have fun without the fear of someone in our midst who wants to do us harm,” Kifowit said.
- Helping Threatened Animals (S.B. 2270) allows local law enforcement officers to take temporary custody of a cat or dog they believe to be in a life-threatening situation due to “extreme heat or cold conditions.”
- Me Too Protections Expanded (S.B. 405) states that each bidder on a state contract must have a sexual harassment policy in place complying with the Human Rights Act.
- Social Media Stalking (S.B 3411) allows unwanted messages sent over social media applications to be consider stalking behavior under the Illinois Stalking Law. The new law also allows institutions like schools, churches, and businesses to file orders of protection, like in the case of a mass shooter.
- Blazing Pink (H.B.4231) is one for the hunters. The new law allows hunters to choose blazing orange or blazing pink apparel for visibility.
- Nursing Moms and Jury Duty (H.B. 05745) means nursing moms can be excluded from jury duty at their request to tend to their child.
“New moms have enough to deal with already,” Kifowit said of the law.
- Firearm Restraining Order (H.B.2354) gives police or family members of a firearm owner the ability to petition the court for an emergency or six-month restraining order to temporarily remove those weapons from the gun owner’s possession if that person is a proven danger.
“This is a good law in regards to domestic violence victims, and this is also a good public safety law,” Kifowit said.
All of the bills can be accessed on the Illinois General Assembly website at www.ilga.gov.