SPRINGFIELD – As 2023 begins in Illinois, more than 180 new laws will go into effect. Joe Tabor of the Illinois Policy Institute provides insight into these changes ranging from SAFE-T Act regulations to laws banning peeping Toms.
Some other new laws include changes to how employers must pay employee salaries, protections against hair-based discrimination, and reduced vehicle registration fees.
1. SAFE-T Act
With the turn of the page to 2023 comes new Illinois laws impacting homeowners, business owners, drivers, teachers, and food industry workers. Notable changes include banning cash bail as a form of bail and mandating that health insurance cover breast reduction surgery for women who have undergone hysterectomy surgery.
Governor Pritzker’s Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act introduces far-reaching reform to many aspects of the criminal justice system, including pre-arrest diversion, police presence issues, pretrial issues, and deaths in custody cases. It includes provisions on these topics, among others.
The SAFE-T Act was passed after several high-profile police shootings caused widespread outrage against racial disparities in law enforcement, among other issues. The Act sets strict new training standards, clarifies rules regarding the use of force by law enforcement personnel, and requires body cameras on all police officers by 2025; furthermore, it expands eligibility for deflection program funding and more.
Law enforcement leaders vary in their views of the SAFE-T Act; some support it, while others disagree. One concern expressed by some leaders is that eliminating monetary bail will make communities more dangerous; for instance, Patrick Windhorst from southern Illinois told KFVS that eliminating bail “will lead to more crime and violence in our state.”
Other provisions of the SAFE-T Act include mandating that both the attorney general and court of claims accept compensation from crime victims, expanding it to sexual assault survivors, permitting victim representatives to attend all hearings with the accused, and notifying crime victims when state’s attorneys have scheduled an initial pretrial hearing.
2. Hormonal Therapy Coverage
Illinois lawmakers recently passed a new law to help individuals at risk of HIV gain access to PrEP, an HIV prevention drug that has an impressive 99% effectiveness rate at stopping or slowing its spread. Pharmacists will now fill these prescriptions, making access more straightforward and uncomplicated for anyone at risk or already living with HIV to access medical records more quickly and obtain copies if they wish.
Illinois will become the third state in the nation to require paid sick leave from private employers starting Jan. 1. This requirement will affect an estimated 3.5 million workers and take effect as part of new legislation enacted under Act 215.
Once again, in 2023 a new law will go into effect that makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who report violations of state or local laws protecting workers’ rights, making it easier for workers to file workplace discrimination lawsuits against employers.
Many other new Illinois laws will go into effect in 2023, including the SAFE-T Act, which addresses various criminal justice issues. Governor JB Pritzker signed it into law this past January – marking his first major legislative success since coming to office.
Other new laws that will come into effect soon include allowing anyone to display the logo of a professional sports team on their license plates and mandating public schools to teach students about mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Furthermore, another new law will provide extra time for struggling students to refocus their energy on their work without incurring penalties.
3. Breast Reduction Coverage
Illinois residents will see numerous new laws pass into effect this year, such as the SAFE-T Act, which replaces cash bail with a pretrial release framework, and legislation mandating health insurance to cover breast reduction surgery. Illinois will also experience an increase in the minimum wage and gas tax and trained individuals providing help applying for federal, state, and local assistance programs depending on financial need.
Additionally, this law establishes a task force to collect and report on causes and measures for violence against women and girls in Chicago and how these acts might be reduced. Furthermore, Illinois insurance companies must cover medically necessary mental health care coverage while Medicaid covers licensed, certified professional midwives, perinatal doulas, and acupuncture services as well as licensed, certified professional midwives for pregnancies with complications; furthermore, private insurers are mandated by law to offer annual prostate cancer screenings when recommended by physicians.
The CROWN Act expands the traits associated with race to include hair texture and protects hairstyles like braids, locks, and twists to combat hair discrimination in the workplace. Furthermore, the new law makes it a civil rights violation for real estate agents who discriminate against potential tenants who receive social security benefits in exchange for rent payments; makes giving fake IDs to illegal immigrants illegal and prohibits anyone selling e-cigarettes to minors; prohibits selling e-cigarettes directly to children and requires public agencies and institutions prioritizing bids which offer compostable or recyclable food ware when purchasing food and beverages from vendors; finally requires that any public agency or institution buying food and drinks prioritizes proposals which offer compostable or recyclable food ware when purchasing food and drinks from vendors when purchasing food and beverage contracts are let out to bidders that offer compostable or recyclable food ware prioritization when buying food and drink contracts are let out;
4. Vehicle Registration Fees
Under a new Illinois law, drivers who purchase vehicles made in Illinois can get a reduced registration fee. Under this legislation, the Secretary of State is mandated to issue Temporary Registration Permits (TRPs) upon submission of valid registration applications with appropriate fees to them – this allows drivers to operate the newly purchased vehicle until receiving Illinois license plates – while TRPs can be found at Secretary of State facilities, licensed vehicle dealerships, remittance agents and currency exchanges and cost $10 each; payment can be made using cash, check or money orders while American Express Discover or MasterCard are accepted as payment options by them and are non-transferrable between facilities or licensed dealers – please see section 12.2 regarding TRP transferability before making application.
As per current legislation, all owners or lessees of motor vehicles must carry liability insurance to cover any potential damage they cause to their car. Violating this law now incurs increased penalties; starting January 1, convicted sex offenders will no longer be able to use ignorance as an excuse when accused of sexual harassment against underage victims or people with intellectual disabilities.
Legislators in Texas passed multiple bills designed to enhance the state’s mental health system. The laws create a council charged with helping students locate mental health providers and access treatment in the state; additional lessons on mental illness will also be added to school curricula; healthcare professionals will be mandated to report any suspected cases of abuse or neglect to authorities; furthermore, eligibility for substitute teaching licenses was expanded for college students enrolled in an approved educator preparation program who have earned at least 90 credit hours toward their degrees.
5. Corn Appreciation
Sweet corn is a summertime favorite in Illinois, where farmers have long made it part of their agriculture. Illinois ranks high for corn production due to deep fertile soils, moderate rainfall, and temperate weather conditions supporting corn production. As such, Gov. JB Pritzker recently signed into law designating August 1 as “Sweet Corn Appreciation Day,” celebrating this food’s significance to agriculture while honoring family farmers – an idea spearheaded by State Rep Tony McCombie from Illinois’ 89th District who organized an excellent event in her district last year!
She shared with lawmakers her wish to promote and support local agriculture and how this new law will aid her efforts. It mandates state recognition of Agriculture Day while encouraging municipalities to commemorate it.
This law also clarifies that individuals may not impede traffic by participating in street sideshows, unauthorized motor vehicle stunts, speed contests, and exhibitions of speed. Furthermore, using public property for these events is prohibited, and anyone engaging in them could face misdemeanor charges.
On Sunday, other legislation that went into effect included a banking development district program, a mandate requiring schools to teach students about safe gun storage, and an action that designates part of Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago’s Polish community as the Milwaukee Avenue Polish Heritage Corridor.
Another new law establishes the definitions of “developmental disability” and “intellectual disability” within the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code while amending other Acts accordingly. Furthermore, several gun safety, environmental protection, and healthcare bills were passed in this year’s General Assembly session.