More than 200 state laws to go into effect in the new year
by KEVIN GROSS
More than 200 new state laws will take effect on Jan. 1, and Illinois Senate Democrats have released a compilation of bills that were passed by the Illinois General Assembly in 2018.
Jan. 1 is the default date for a new law to become effective if passed before June 1, unless there is language establishing another date. Some pieces of legislation specify an alternative effective date, while other bills that carry an "immediately effective" date can go into effect at other times of the year.
Some of the new laws include the following provisions:
A law adds synthetic cannabinoids, known by names such as "spice," "K2" or "fake weed," to the list of prohibited Schedule 1 drugs in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act.
Another amendment to the act requires 10 hours of continuing education about safe practices for prescribing opioids before prescribers of controlled substances can renew their professional license.
A law prohibits the practice of "patient brokering" in which companies use misleading advertising to entice mental health or addiction recovery patients to seek services out-of-state where the patient’s insurance may not be accepted, while another law prevents medical insurers from imposing step therapy approaches on drugs that treat advanced stage 4 cancer. Step therapy is the process of starting with cheaper treatments and progressing to more costly or risky methods if deemed necessary.
New driving laws make driving the wrong way on a one-way street an aggravating factor for driving under the influence crimes, prohibit out-of-state drivers from operating vehicles without proof of insurance, requires trucks carrying 10,000 to 26,000 pounds to be safety tested every 12 months, amend the vehicle code removing the requirement that drivers sign citations when cited for a petty offense, and lowers the penalty to a petty offense for driving with a license that was suspended for unpaid parking fines, automated camera enforcement or unpaid child support.
Also, a law includes the "Dutch Reach" method in the "Rules of the Road" publication and on driver’s license tests. The method requires drivers to reach their right hand across their left shoulder when opening the door, thus forcing drivers to look backwards at possible incoming hazards such as bicyclists.
Another law allows enforcement officers to take temporary custody of dogs or cats whose lives are threatened or may result in injury.
Another law creates a "reckless dog owner" determination, preventing people from owning dogs for 12 to 36 months if their dog had killed another dog and has been found "running at large" uncontrolled outside of an enclosure twice within 12 months.
Another law prevents transfers of firearms until 72 hours after a purchase application, which was previously 24 hours. The bill also eliminates waiting period exemptions for firearm purchases by non-Illinois residents at state police-recognized gun shows.
Another bill amends the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act and makes anyone admitted to a mental health facility ineligible for FOID cards, except for treatment solely for alcohol abuse. Previously, only voluntary inpatients were prohibited, and people who involuntarily received mental health treatment could still be eligible for FOID cards.
Creates the "Firearms Restraining Order Act," allowing emergency firearm restraining orders against a person who may pose an "immediate and present danger" of causing personal injury to themselves or another person. Petitioners may be family members or law enforcement officers, and subjects of the restraining order must turn over any firearms, Firearm Owners’ Identification Card and concealed carry license for a 6-month period or an "ex tempore" period for the time the subject poses a danger.
Another law allows places of employment, worship or schools to petition for orders of protection against people who stalk their locations, which will require stalkers to give up any owned firearms and FOID cards.
One more law requires schools to conduct at least one active shooter or active threat drill within the first 90 days of a school year.
Another law creates the "Survivor’s Bill of Rights" guaranteeing extra rights and protections for sexual assault survivors, including allowing survivors the choice to retain their own legal counsel, prohibiting prosecution of a victim for any controlled substances found in collected forensic evidence, and extending from 5 to 10 years the retaining period of rape kits for testing and the statute of limitations for criminally prosecuting sexual assailants.
A new law requires employers to reimburse employees for costs incurred to fulfill job responsibilities, including "bring your own device" policies regarding personal cell phones or computers.
A law limits ambulance and rescue vehicles’ use of sirens and lamps only when it is reasonably necessary to warn civilians while responding to an emergency, or when transporting a critical patient in need of immediate medical intervention.
Allows the state police to enforce anti-smoking laws in addition to local police agencies, while changing all fines to civil penalties.
Requires carnivals, amusement enterprises and fairs to conduct background checks on all employees.
Entitles victims of "revenge porn" or posts of identifying or graphic information on pornographic Web site to receive compensation under the Crime Victims Compensation Act.
Editor’s note: Other laws will be published in next week’s Press.