27 new Illinois laws to know for 2017

Kevin HoffmanReboot Illinois

December 27, 2016

You’re well aware that Gov. Bruce Rauner and the General Assembly still couldn’t manage to produce and pass an actual budget in 2016, but what you might not be up on are the nearly 200 new laws that were passed and take effect on Jan. 1.

Chances are you won’t be going through all of them, so the Illinois Senate Democrats and Republicans each have released a list of ones deemed among the most important.

Senate Democrats released their annual “Top 10 New Laws” slideshow for 2017, which highlights laws concerning criminal justice reform, safety, ethics, pensions and workers’ wages, among other areas.

And Senate Republicans posted a YouTube video, “17 New Laws for 2017,” which includes some of the same laws spotlighted by their colleagues on the other side of the aisle.

We’ve combined both those lists into one, and included each law’s chief Senate sponsor as well as a link to the legislation on the General Assembly website. Just in case you’re interested, info on all of the new laws can be downloaded here.

article image Credit: Illinois Senate Democrats

Tampon Tax

Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake

SB 2746: Updates state tax codes to ensure essential women’s health products such as tampons, pads and menstrual cups aren’t charged the same sales tax as shampoo.

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Social Media Password Privacy

Sen. Michael Connelly, R-Lisle

HB 4999: Strengthens current law prohibiting employers from accessing employees’ social media passwords.

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Police Dog Retirement

Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park

SB 3129: Gives police officers first preference to adopt their police dogs to ensure retiring police dogs can remain part of the officer’s family.

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Railroad Crossing Fines

Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles

SB 2806: Increases fines for failing to stop at a railroad crossing when the warning gates/lights are activated.

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Spotting Signs of Domestic Violence

Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago

HB 4264: Trains cosmetologists, estheticians, nail technicians and hair braiders to look for signs of domestic violence by requiring them to take a one-hour continuing education class about domestic violence and sexual assault as part of their licensure renewal process.


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Granting Grandparents Visitation Rights

Sen. Pamela Althoff, R-Crystal Lake

HB 5656: Allows grandparents and great-grandparents to visit their grandkids who are in DCFS custody.

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Coverage for Birth Control

Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Steger

HB 5576: Creates a seamless process to all women to access birth control without additional costs by requiring Illinois insurance companies to provide coverage for almost all FDA-approved contraceptive options. Insurance companies are required to cover up to 12 months of contraceptives at a time.

article image Credit: warface.com

Smile -- You're on Camera!

Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston

SB 629: Allows vehicles that transport people or goods on a contractual basis to have a video recorder operating, though a notice must be posted letting passengers know their conversations may be recorded.

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Protecting Low-Wage Workers

Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, D-Chicago

SB 3163: Bans any company from asking a worker paid less than $13.50 an hour to sign a non-compete agreement.

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New Excused Absence from School

Sen. Chuck Weaver, R-Peoria

HB 4432: Excuses students from school to play “Taps” at a military funeral.

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Ending Pension Abuse

Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Joliet

HB 4259: Makes lobbying groups ineligible to receive taxpayer-funded pensions to end the abuse of state dollars.

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Minors Charged with Murder

Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, D-Chicago

SB 2370: Requires legal counsel during the interrogation of minors under the age of 15 who are charged with murder.

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Improving Patients' Rights

Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston

SB 1564: Update to Illinois’ Health Care Right of Conscience law, which forbids medical providers to refuse certain medical treatments based on religious objections. Under the new law Medical patients – and women in particular –will be better informed about their medical care.

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Addressing Sexual Assault Crimes

Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Chicago

SB 3096: Improves and increases reporting, investigation and prosecution of sexual assault crimes in Illinois. Under the law, victims have a longer time to request a rape kit, forensic testing is sped up and requires more detailed reporting of sexual assault cases by law enforcement.

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Sick Time Flexibility

Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins, D-Chicago

HB 6162: Requires employers to give their workers greater flexibility in using their sick time. A company providing sick leave to employees must allow them to use up to half of their allotted time to attend to the medical needs of family members.

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Epinephrine Access and Training

Sen. Chris Nybo, R-Elmhurst

HB 4462: Allows for increased access and training on the use of epinephrine auto-injectors.

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Removing Lead Toxins

Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago

SB 2300: Prohibits the sale or release of properties with high lead levels until the problem is mitigated and the property is considered safe. Older homes are more likely to contain lead and children are more susceptible to poisoning.

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Court CCTV for Children

Sen. Michael Connelly, R-Lisle

SB 2880: Allows child victims of battery or domestic abuse to testify using closed circuit television, instead of testifying in the courtroom.

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Cash Bail

Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford

SB 2907: Requires law enforcement officials to accept cash to post bail. Due to a credit card machine malfunction, a county kept a man over a weekend for a minor offense.

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Probation for Non-Violent Offenders

Sen. Michael Connelly, R-Lisle

SB 3164: Allows for more flexibility in granting probation for certain non-violent offenders.

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Banning Bath Salts

Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill

SB 210: Prohibits retailers from selling the type of drug known as “bath salts.”

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School Breakfast Program

Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park

SB 2393: Establishes a “Breakfast after the Bell” program to make school breakfast more accessible to students.

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Hunting Law for Minors

Sen. Neil Anderson, R-East Moline

SB 2410: Allows minors to trap game without having to take the hunter training course if they are accompanied by someone who is at least 21-years-old.

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Catching Catfish

Sen. David Luechtefeld, R-Okawville

HB 5788: Fishers can use a pitchfork, underwater spear gun, or a bow and arrow to catch catfish.

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Honorary Highways for Heroes

Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Joliet

HB 4344: Makes it easier for families of veterans killed in action to apply for an honorary designation on state roadways.

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