As we rang in the New Year, more than 150 new laws hit the books, including legislation aimed at increasing employee privacy, a new law that cracks down on parents of underage drinkers and more.
Here’s a roundup of just some of 2013’s new Illinois rules and regulations.
- Facebook/social media privacy: Bosses won’t be able to demand access to workers’ social media accounts; House Bill 3782 prohibits employers from requiring current or prospective employees to provide account information, including passwords.
- Family fugitive concealment: Relatives who aid and abet family scofflaws will be in hot water themselves; Senate Bill 2520 creates a sub-offense of aiding a fugitive to flee the jurisdiction, targeting family members who try to help criminal suspects avoid apprehension. Illinois is one of 14 states that previously exempted family members from prosecution for harboring or aiding fugitives, no matter how serious the fugitive’s crime.
- Caylee’s Law: Named for the Florida tot whose death made headlines, Senate Bill 2537 increases penalties for failure to report the disappearance or death of a child ages 13 and younger within 24 hours. The timeline decreases to one hour for children under age 2. The law applies to parents, guardians or caretakers of children younger than 13 who provide false information to law enforcement or other authorities investigating the child’s disappearance or death.
- FOID cards: Senate Bill 1034 makes a number of changes to state Firearms Owner Identification (FOID) program laws; the law has been clarified to ensure that people who have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence are not issued FOID cards. The law also restricts the issuance of FOID cards to non-Illinois residents and enhances mental health reporting to courts by the Illinois State Police.
- Terrorism: Convicted terrorists will serve longer sentences under House Bill 5121; the law requires anyone convicted of an attempt to commit terrorism to serve 85 percent of his or her sentence, rather than the customary 50 percent.
- Underage drinking parent penalties: Permissive moms and dads beware; House Bill 1554 cracks down on parents who permit underage drinking on property they own. The law makes it a crime to allow underage drinking not only at a parent or guardian’s home, but also on property under their control, such as a barn, cabin or boathouse.
- Telephone cramming: House Bill 2111 is aimed at putting a stop to “phone cramming,” where people are solicited for free trials, coupons or prizes, but never told they’re purchasing a service — until they receive a bill in the form of charges on their phone bill.
- Shark fin ban: Thanks to House Bill 4119, Illinois residents will be prohibited from possessing, selling, trading, distributing or trying to sell a shark fin on or after Jan. 1, 2013.
- Open meetings: Under House Bill 4687, public bodies will be required to take “reasonable steps” to ensure that a copy of all meeting notices and agendas are available for public review during the entire 48-hour period before the meeting.
- No wheelies: Lead-footed motorcyclists found guilty of doing wheelies will have to pay up: Senate Bill 3452 will impose a $1,000 fine for driving a motorcycle on one wheel while speeding. The law also dictates that handlebars can be no higher than the driver’s head (current law sets the bar at the driver’s shoulders).
- Police DUI funding: House Bill 5021 will allow Secretary of State Driving Under the Influence Fund money to be used for police officer salaries and other items; previously, the money could only be used for equipment.
- Adoptions: The process of adopting a child could be expedited under certain circumstances; under House Bill 4028, unnecessary delays will be eliminated in cases where a child is currently residing with the adoptive parent(s) and all parties have consented to the adoption. It also updates DCFS forms to recognize civil unions.
- Veteran ID designation: Senate Bill 2837 adds a veteran designation on ID cards issued by the Secretary of State, including driver’s licenses.
- Gold Star parents: “Gold Star” mothers and fathers through adoption will now be allowed admittance to an Illinois veterans home, should vacant beds exist. Gold Star parents are parents of service members killed during active duty.