New Laws Since July 1

As July 1 was the first day of the new fiscal year, several new laws went into effect. The biggest law to go into effect was the 2020 budget, as well as several of the new expenses that accompany it. In addition to the budget, a moving violation for texting, tobacco 21, and the ability of mayors to perform marriages also took effect.

Notable New Laws:

  • HB 345: Known as the “Tobacco 21” bill, this new law prohibits anyone from selling or providing cigarettes or vaping materials to individuals under the age of 21.
  • SB 28: This new law requires Illinois school children to receive at least five hours of instruction per day in public schools. While the five-hour school day has been in place for several years, this new law takes into account instances when students take college classes for dual high school and college credit, those participating in career development programs away from school, and schools offering blended learning programs for students.
  • SB 1814: As part of this year’s budget implementation bill, individuals working for the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) who provide services to children at risk will receive a 5% increase in their reimbursement rates. It is the first increase in several years.
  • SB 1939: A key element of the $45 billion capital projects bill is an increase to the gas tax. This increase will fund road and bridge projects across the state. In addition, beginning next year, the Auditor General will be required to conduct an annual audit to provide for additional protections against any transportation diversions from the MFT increase.
  • HB 2841: Mayors will now be able officiate marriage ceremonies. A marriage may also be ‘solemnized’ by a mayor or president of a city, village, or incorporated town who is the current office holder. The mayor or president of a city, village, or incorporated town will not be not allowed to receive any compensation in return for performing the marriage ceremony.

Tougher Penalties for Texting While Driving

A recent survey of Illinois high school students shows that nearly half of Illinois teens admit to texting while driving. As of July 1, Illinois drivers caught using or even just holding an electronic device while behind the wheel of a car will now be issued a moving violation ticket.

Unlike previous distracted driving laws, tickets issued under this new state law (HB 4846) will go on a driver’s permanent record. Fines start at $75 for a first offense and escalate by $25 to a maximum of $150, and three or more repeat offenses of texting while driving could lead to the suspension of a driver’s license. These new rules are not limited to cellphones; they apply to any electronic communication device. While adopted last year during the 100th General Assembly, the law that includes these new penalties had an effective date of July 1, 2019.