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Measure updates state’s cybersecurity reporting
    
    Illinois state agencies will now be required to report all cybersecurity attacks within five days.
    Senate Bill 707, sponsored by state Sen. Michael E. Hastings, D-Tinley Park, has been signed into law and requires state agencies to release detailed reports within five days of determining there was a security breach concerning any of their networks and databases especially those that compromise Illinois residents’ information.
    Hastings started looking into the issue after the July 2016 attack on the Illinois State Board of Elections in which hackers gained access to the state’s voter databases. Ultimately, as many as 90,000 records were compromised.
    The new law involves all security breaches affecting more than 250 Illinois residents. Each breach should be reported to the state’s chief information security officer within 72 hours after the alleged breach.
    
Prisoner entrepreneur training becomes law
    
    SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a bill into law creating a program to teach Illinois prison inmates business skills.
    The goal of the legislation is to decrease recidivism by providing inmates with opportunities to acquire business skills for use after release. The legislation establishes a pilot program similar to one already in place in the Texas Department of Corrections.
    Under the Prisoner Entrepreneur Education Program, inmates would learn business skills including budgeting, computer skills and public speaking. The business skills training would supplement the Illinois Department of Corrections’ existing training in a number of vocations such as automotive technology, cosmetology, print management and welding.
    House Bill 698 took effect immediately.
    
Measure to maintain demographic data inked
    
    SPRINGFIELD – A new law will require the Illinois Department of Human Services to collect and publicly report data on the racial and ethnic demographics of recipients of its state aid programs.
    State Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, the bill’s Senate sponsor, believes that the law will help the government assess the impact that cutting or expanding a program could have on specific communities.
    “Without tracking demographics, it is difficult to know if we are spending public dollars equitably in regards to race, gender and ethnicity,” Aquino said.
    At a Senate hearing this April, Aquino asked DHS Director James Dimas for demographic data explaining how cuts in Gov. Rauner’s budget proposal would affect minority communities. Dimas responded that the department only collects data when it is mandated by the federal government, as in the case of food subsidy programs like TANF and SNAP.
    Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the legislation, House Bill 3131, into law.
    
Law closes conflict of interest loophole
    
    SPRINGFIELD – A bipartisan measure to close a conflict of interest loophole in Illinois statute is now law.
    The new law bans members of the Illinois Energy Conservation Advisory Council from receiving any state grants for teaching continuing education regarding any rule proposed by the council. The measure received unanimous support in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly.
    
‘Right to Yelp’ measure gets final approval
    
    SPRINGFIELD – Legislation protecting the rights of consumers to leave honest online reviews of products and services without fear of retaliation has been signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
    The measure was sponsored by state Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford.
    The measure prevents companies and service providers from enforcing non-disparagement clauses included in sales contracts. Such clauses typically include language that prohibits consumers from leaving negative feedback about the retailer. Oftentimes, particularly online, a consumer must accept the terms of a contract before completing a purchase.
    “Although I understand that businesses don’t want to be unfairly criticized, it is important to protect the right of the consumer to voice their opinion,” Stadelman said. “In many cases, people might not even realize they signed a non-disparagement agreement until a company takes action against them.”
    Illinois joins two other states – California and Maryland – in banning non-disparagement clauses. Senate Bill 1898 is effective Jan. 1.
    
Plan to simplify appeals of property taxes signed
    
    SPRINGFIELD – A plan by state Sen. Julie Morrison, D–Deerfield, to streamline the property tax assessment appeal process is now law.
    The new law, which was contained in Senate Bill 609, would allow homeowners to combine multiple-year appeals of their property assessments within the same assessment period. Currently, homeowners must appeal an assessment every year. With long wait times at the Property Tax Appeal Board, many homeowners are forced to file each subsequent year’s appeal separately after they win the initial appeal.
    Senate Bill 609 takes effect immediately.