I hope this New Year finds you well. January 1st marked the beginning of a new calendar year and it’s also the day more than 150 new laws took effect in Illinois. Many of the changes are relatively small and technical in nature but others will impact local veterans, motorists and families. Below are a few I think you should know about.
To ease the transition process for our returning veterans, the State of Illinois will allow a veteran to request his or her veteran status to be printed on their driver’s license. This identification will help cut through red tape and ensure that any benefits that the soldier earned will be easily accessible. (S.B.2837/P.A. 97-0739).
Social Media Right to Privacy
Illinois becomes the third state to enact a law addressing social media privacy by making it illegal for an employer to request a password or other account information in order to access an employee or prospective employee’s social networking site, like Facebook. (H.B. 3782/P.A. 97-0875).
Motorist caught for excessive speeding will no longer be able to receive a sentence of “supervision,” and will face increased penalties. The law addresses motorists who are pulled over for driving more than 25 mph over the speed limit in urban areas and more than 30 mph over on highways. The legislation is named after Julie Ann Gorvzynski whose life was taken away by a reckless driver who was going 76 mph in a 40 mph zone just days before her high school graduation. Previously, the courts could give a sentence of supervision for cases where motorists are cited for driving up to 39 mph over posted speed limits on highways. (S.B. 2888/P.A. 97-0831).
Another new law will ease traffic from fender benders on Illinois roadways by allowing motorists involved in a minor traffic accident to move their vehicles to the nearest off-ramp, access road or other safe location following an accident if it is a property damage-only accident. this law also provides for greater safety for those involved in accidents because they are able to move away from the fast-moving traffic. (S.B. 3409/P.A. 97-0763).
Child Sex Offender Holiday Costume Prohibition
Parents will be relieved to know convicted child sex offenders will be prohibited from participating in certain holiday events. For example, offenders can no longer volunteer to dress up as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or hand out candy at Halloween. Offenders who break this law could be subject to fines or revocation of their parole or probation, and could face additional jail time. (S.B. 2579/P.A. 97-0699).
In response to the case surrounding the tragic death of two-year old Caylee Anthony, a new law increases penalties for the failure to report a child missing or dead. The bill charges a Class 4 felony to parents or guardians failing to report a child 13-years-old and under missing within 24 hours. The measure gives parents of missing children 2-years-old an under one hour to report their disappearance. (S.B. 2537/P.A. 97-1079).
Underage Drinking Parent Penalties
Another law cracks down on parents or guardians who permit underage drinking on property they own. The new legislation makes it a crime to allow underage drinking not only at a parent’s or guardian’s home, but also on property under their control. (H.B. 1049/P.A. 97-1049).
The Illinois House is scheduled to convene on Sunday, January 6 for a three-day lame duck session leading up to the inauguration of the new 98th General Assembly in Springfield on January 9, 2013. A number of high profile issues will likely be considered during the upcoming legislative session.
My district office has moved from 998 Belvidere Road, Ste. 3 Belvidere 61008 to 305 Amphitheater Drive, Rockford 61107. The office number, fax number and email address remain the same.
If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to my district office at (815) 547-3436 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find me on Facebook. Your correspondence is always appreciated.