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Illinois laws ahead: cat shots, diaper stations, driving requirements and more

By GREG BISHOP, The Center Square

On Jan. 1, the new recreational cannabis law is just one of the scores of new laws that will take effect.

In Illinois, more than 250 new laws take effect Jan. 1 that will affect parents, employers, drivers, students and those in the criminal justice system.

For parents, one new law allows minors 12 and older to get preventative STD treatments such as HIV PrEP medications without parental consent. ID cards for minors will cost $5, not $10. If your child is a paid performer, a new law requires at least 15 percent of gross earnings be deposited into a trust fund they can access when they turn 18.

If you’re out and need to use a baby changing table, one new state law requires every public building with public restrooms to have at least one safe, sanitary, convenient and publicly accessible baby diaper changing station accessible to women. Also, any single-occupancy bathrooms in public must have a sign that notes “restroom” and not any specific gender.

If you have cats, you’ll have to get rabies inoculations. Feral cats are exempt.

A new law also starts the process of the Illinois treasurer creating the Illinois Higher Education Savings Program, which will use tax dollars to provide a $50 college-savings fund for each baby born in the state, though newborns won’t be enrolled until January 2021.

Starting Jan. 1, medical cannabis can be administered to qualified patients at all schools, public and private.

Your child’s teachers will have to start teaching Illinois history. There are also requirements that schools maintain age-appropriate sexual harassment policies on their websites and in student handbooks. There is also a requirement sexual education classes teach the meaning of consent.

Schools could begin teaching about workplace sexual harassment and discrimination in high school curriculum.

Students won’t need to take Algebra II to take an advanced placement computer science class.

There will also be grants the Illinois State Board of Education can start awarding for school safety and security like a metal detector or professional development.

Drivers have a host of updates to the law they’ll need to know.

It will be illegal to watch or stream video while behind the wheel.

Passing a stopped school bus could get you a $300 fine for the first offense and $1,000 for the second offense. There are also increased fines and penalties for violating Scott’s Law, the state’s move over law in construction zones and when approaching stationary vehicles on the side of highways.

The Secretary of State will have to inform people about the zipper merge method and to include at least one question about Scott’s Law on driver tests.

Drivers also can’t use vehicles with smoked or tinted lighting lens covers.

Specific farm wagon trailers and other qualified equipment won’t have to have license plates beginning New Year’s Day, saving $250 a pop.

There are several new specialty license plates or plate decals coming in 2020.

Come Jan. 1 the Secretary of State may issue Cold War license plates, Disabled Veterans license plates and United Nations Protection Force license plates. Specialty plate decals for universal plates can be issued for K-9 for Veterans, two for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and it’s Local Lodge 701, and decals for developmental disabilities awareness.

Children and stepchildren of deceased police officers or firefighters can get police and fire specialty license plates. Another new law makes both the Disabled Veteran and ISERVE license plates available for motorcycles.

Employers wanting to use artificial intelligence in video interviews have new regulations to follow. Employers also can’t inquire into or use an arrest record as a basis for an employment decision. Arrest records also can’t be used to refuse to engage in real estate transactions.

The statute of limitations will be lifted for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual abuse, regardless of the age of the victim. The statute of limitations is also lifted for the prosecution of female genital mutilation.

There’s also stiffer penalties for certain crimes in places of worship.

In civil law, nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images will be a civil violation. Another law prohibits posting private compromising images of another person and allows a person to obtain a “take-down” order to have the image removed from the internet.

It will be against the state’s civil laws if a genetic testing company shares any genetic test information or personal information of consumers with any health or life insurance company without written consent from the customer.

And if you’re getting divorced and want to change your name back to your maiden name, the name change does not need to be published.

And if you want to be a Chinese herbologist you have to get a license from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

For prisoners in the Illinois Department of Corrections or even pre-trial detainees in county jail, there are some updates coming Jan. 1.

County jails must better facilitate opportunities for pre-trial detainees to vote in elections.

Illinois Department of Corrections inmates won’t have to pay a $5 co-pay for medical or dental services. IDOC also can’t sue an inmate to recoup the cost of their imprisonment. And when an inmate prepares to be released they’ll go through the Re-Entering Citizen Civics Education Act with information about civics in a nonpartisan program.


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