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New laws take effect in Illinois on Jan. 1

Rear-facing car seats, blaze pink hunting clothes and required school safety drills are among the subjects contained in new state laws that take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

illinoiseal“Many of the laws that go on the books New Year’s Day reflect people’s desire to create a safer environment for their children and loved ones,” said state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill. “There are also numerous laws that make health care more accessible to rural Illinoisans and to require more accountability from government.”

In all, 253 new laws will be added to Illinois statutes on Jan. 1. Here are 10 to know:

• Children 2 and younger must be restrained in rear-facing car seats.

• Blaze pink joins blaze orange as an official hunting color in Illinois.

• Every Illinois school must conduct at least one law enforcement-led active shooter drill each year.

• Telehealth services will become more widely accessible, benefitting residents who depend on rural hospitals for care. Manar sponsored this initiative.

• Stalking laws expand to include unwanted messages sent and received through social media apps.

• Family members or police who believe someone is a threat to themselves or others can ask a judge to temporarily remove their access to guns.

• May 17 of each year will be set aside to raise awareness of a rare, incurable form of childhood brain cancer. Sponsored by Manar, the law was prompted by the advocacy of Bunker Hill mother Kim Skief, whose 11-year-old daughter, Grace, died from Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, in 2015.

• Certain prescriptions for medication will be valid for up to 15 months, rather than limited to one year. It’s to alleviate the problem of patients running out of medication before their annual doctor’s visits.

• Limitations on severance pay for government employees, particularly those who are fired for misconduct.

• Carnival companies must conduct criminal background checks on all employees. The law was prompted by the slaying of a DeWitt County man by two carnival employees in 2013.

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