More than 200 new laws, covering everything from local library boards to murder, have gone into effect on January 1, according to State Sen. Christine Johnson (R- Shabbona).
Among the more notable measures are bills that will increase government transparency through the internet, encourage the use of alternative energy sources, establish a Purple Heart Day for veterans and allow motorcyclists to proceed through a red light if the tripping device fails to turn the light green after a reasonable time.
Senator Johnson added that, as is the case nearly every year, many of the new laws are aimed at closing loopholes needed to crack down on criminal offenders. These include:
- “Andrea’s Law,” which will better track persons convicted of murder once they have been released from prison (HB 263/Public Act 97-0154);
- Tougher penalties for child pornography (HB 3283/Public Act 97-0157);
- More tools to prosecute persons who attempt to lure children for sexual purposes (SB 1038/Public Act 97-0160);
- A prohibition against shining a laser light into a cockpit when a plane is taking off or landing (HB 167/Public Act 97-0153); and
- New penalties for selling manufactured substances know as synthetic cannabinoids, that produce a “high” similar to marijuana (HB 2595/Public Act 97-0193)
The legislation (HB 2860/Public Act 97-0627) allowing motorcyclists to proceed through a red light when it fails to trip, was not without controversy. Gov. Pat Quinn sought to change the measure, but his amendatory veto was overridden during the fall session by strong bipartisan majorities.
HB 1537/PA 97-0258 establishes Purple Heart Day on August 7 every year to honor veterans who have earned the award.
Citizens will be able to access Hospital Report Cards from the state Department of Public Health Web site under HB 1562/Public Act 97-0171, as well as access information about income, sales, property and business taxes imposed across the state through the Department of Revenue’s Web site under SB 43/Public Act 97-0353.
A number of measures are aimed at encouraging alternative energy and energy conservation. Two of these include HB 3139/Public Act 97-0134, which allows the state’s transportation department to issue permits to those wishing to grow switchgrass on state right-of-ways, and HB 991/ Public Act 97-0105, which seeks to promote rain water conservation, composting and wind energy.
All of the new laws are listed alphabetically by the subject they cover below. The new laws going into effect Jan. 1 include:
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