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New Illinois laws for 2020

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QUINCY (WGEM) — 255 new laws are now in effect in Illinois.

2020 will bring a lot of change to people earning minimum wage. In Illinois, it will increase from $8.25 to $9.25 per hour and then to $10 in July.

The statute of limitations has changed for a person that can report sexual assault and abuse to law enforcement. A person can now do it anytime, rather than within the 3-year time frame.

In terms of women's health, pregnant women now have the right to receive care that is consistent with current scientific evidence about benefits and risks, and the right to choose the birth setting.

In other health news, there's a new federal law that eases barriers to buying a hearing aid. Devices can now be sold over the counter and are expected to cost less than traditional hearing aids. Illinois law also now requires insurance companies to offer optional coverage for hearing aids to cover up to $2,500 in hearing instruments.

As for mental health, the Illinois Department of Public Health is working to come up with a group to work on policy recommendations for schools and law enforcement.

Another change you may notice is that a single-occupancy bathroom for public accommodation or in public buildings will have the sign "restroom" and not indicate any specific gender.

Schools will also be experiencing some changes. The Public University Admission Pilot Program says anyone in the top 10% of their class in high school will automatically get into Western Illinois University along with Eastern, Northern and, Southern Illinois University.

On the roads in Illinois, increases are coming in penalties for violating Scott's Law, passing a school bus, and hitting a construction worker in work zones.

In agriculture, there is a new law that will allow manufacturers to use the term "locally grown" if a product contains one ingredient grown in Illinois. Previously for a product to be labeled "locally grown" all ingredients would have to be grown in Illinois.

Finally, there are a couple of new laws regarding animals. One was introduced by state senator Jill Tracy. Cats four months and older must get a rabies shot. This does not include feral cats. Also, dog and cat kennels must now be equipped with a fire sprinkler or alarm system if the facility is not staffed 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Some lawmakers head back to the capital next Wednesday to begin the upcoming session where more laws will be discussed this year.

Some of the most notable new Illinois laws are listed below with a link to the text of each law:

Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act
Legalization of recreational cannabis in Illinois.

Minimum wage
Illinois' minimum wage will increase from $8.25 to $9.25. The minimum wage for tipped workers will also increase proportionally. In July minimum wage will increase again to $10, and on January 1, 2021, it will increase to $11. It will keep climbing until it reaches $15 per hour.

Suicide prevention and mental help at colleges
University and community colleges must make information available to students on all mental health and suicide prevention resources offered at the university or community college.

Pregnancy and childbirth rights
States that every woman has certain rights with regard to pregnancy and childbirth, including the right to receive care that is consistent with current scientific evidence about benefits and risks, the right to choose her birth setting, the right to be provided with certain information, and the right to be treated with respect at all times before, during, and after pregnancy by her health care professionals and to have a health care professional that is culturally competent and treats her appropriately regardless of her ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religious background.

Cosmetic animal testing
States that it is unlawful for a manufacturer to import for profit, sell, or offer for sale in this State any cosmetic if the cosmetic was developed or manufactured using an animal test that was conducted or contracted by the manufacturer, or any supplier of the manufacturer, on or after January 1, 2020.

Kennel operation fire alarms
States that a kennel operator shall install in the kennel a fire alarm monitoring system that triggers notification to local emergency responders when activated. If the kennel is not staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Genetic privacy from insurance
States that insurance companies may not seek information from genetic testing services such as 23 and Me and Ancestry DNA.

Strengthening of Scott’s Law
States that a person who violates provisions prescribing how to safely approach an authorized emergency vehicle commits a business offense punishable by a minimum fine of $250 and not more than $10,000 for the first violation and a fine of not less than $750 or more than $10,000 for the second or subsequent violation (instead of a fine of not less than $100 or more than $10,000), and (i) if the violation results in damage to another vehicle, the person commits a Class A misdemeanor; and (ii) if the violation results in the injury or death of another person, the person commits a Class 4 felony."

Restrictions on local food branding eased
This change in a law further modifies the term "local farm or food products" to include products processed and packaged in Illinois using at least one ingredient grown in Illinois. Currently, foods are only considered local if every ingredient is sourced in Illinois.

Bulk food handling containers
States that a retailer may allow a consumer to fill or refill a personal container with bulk food if the dispensers used prevent the direct handling of the bulk food.

Higher ed uniform admission
All Illinois high schoolers with a grade point average in the top 10% of their class will be accepted to Northern Illinois University, Eastern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University, and Western Illinois University.

Debt management & predatory debt practices
The Consumer Fairness Act reduces the post-judgment interest rate on consumer debt under $25,000 from 9% to 5%. It also reduces the time to collect from 26 to 17 years.

Limitations for sexual assault
States that a prosecution for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, or aggravated criminal sexual abuse may be commenced at any time (rather than within 10 years of the commission of the offense if the victim reported the offense to law enforcement authorities within 3 years after the commission of the offense).

Cat rabies vaccinations
States that every owner of a cat that is a companion animal and is 4 months or more of age shall have each cat inoculated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.

Construction zone fines
Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code and increases penalties for violating laws in construction zones.

Passing school bus fines doubled
Doubles the fines for overtaking, and passing school buses.

Driving and watching streaming video
State that drivers are not allowed to use an electronic device to stream or watch videos while on the road under this new law, with violations punishable by a fine of $75 for a first offense, $100 for a second, $125 for a third and $150 for a fourth or subsequent offense.

State police burial reimburse
States that the Department of State Police shall pay directly or reimburse, up to a maximum of $20,000 (rather than $10,000) the burial expenses of each State police officer who is killed in the line of duty.

Police training for mental health
States that minimum in-service training requirements, which a police officer must satisfactorily complete every 3 years, shall include mental health awareness and response as reflected in the Illinois Mental Health First Aid Training Act.

No copay on dermatology exams
Health insurance policies will have to cover one annual office visit for a whole-body skin examination for lesions suspicious for skin cancer, without charging the patient a deductible, coinsurance or co-payment.

Insurance to cover diagnostic mammograms
Requires insurers to cover diagnostic mammograms, without imposing a co-pay or cost-sharing requirement, when deemed medically necessary.

Insurers to cover Epinephrine injectors
Insurers will be required to cover medically necessary epinephrine injectors for children under the age of 18.

Illinois history in schools
Starting in the 2020-2021 school year, U.S. history classes for K-12 students must include instruction on the history of Illinois.

Equitable restroom baby changing stations
It requires public places to have at least one baby diaper changing station accessible to both men and women. It does not apply to industrial buildings or places like bars that don’t allow those under 18.

Gratuities can not be kept by an employer
States that gratuities to employees are the property of the employees and may not be retained by an employer. The law does not prohibit tip pooling as permitted by law.

Organ donor protections
States that an employer shall not retaliate against an employee for requesting or obtaining a leave of absence to donate blood, an organ, or bone marrow. Amends the Illinois Insurance Act. Provides prohibitions on denial of coverage and costs of premiums for living organ donors for life insurance, disability insurance, and long-term care insurance policies.

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Jim Roberts

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