As July abruptly arrived last week, the launch of ten new Illinois laws arrived as well. The new state laws cover a spectrum of topics- reacting to more recently highlighted issues, as well as building upon older legislative developments. Here are the 10 new regulations in effect after July 1st:
In response to the coronavirus pandemic the Illinois government is establishing the Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission- a bipartisan group composed of fourteen members from the State’s House and Senate. Created during this year’s special session and signed into law by Pritzker last month, this commission will advise on how to revive the state’s economy and navigate the reopening of businesses during the pandemic.
Minimum Wage Increase
After a stretch of not experiencing a statewide minimum wage increase since 2010, a statewide increase is now occurring for the second time this year. On January 1st of 2020 minimum wage workers received an increase in pay from $8.25 an hour to $9.25 an hour. On July 1st that increased to $10.00, and according to legislation is in line with a gradual path to raise the Illinois minimum wage to $15.00 hourly pay by 2025.
Gas Tax Increase
In the Spring of 2019 a bill increasing the tax on gasoline was passed by state lawmakers in order to fund the Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan. The bill first doubled the per gallon tax from 19 cents to 38 cents in 2019, after which implementing a .07 cents per gallon raise (tied to the rate of inflation) is set to occur every July starting in 2020.
Stricter Penalties for Texting and Driving
Amending the Illinois Vehicle Code, a new bill signed into effect in 2019 now increases penalties for drivers charged with distracted driving in incidents that result in great bodily harm, or permanent disability and/or disfigurement. Violators of the State texting and driving law could now face a 12-month license suspension, and a minimum fine of $1,000.
Stricter Penalties for Drivers who Injure Someone While Violating Right-of-Way
The Illinois Vehicle Code received an update last week also in regards to penalties for motorists who cause serious injury to another person while violating a right-of-way. The new law grants that violators who cause injury at crosswalks and in school zones will have their license suspended for a 12-month period.
No License Suspension for Failing to Pay Fines
Roughly 55,000 Illinois drivers who previously had licenses suspended over unpaid fines will now have their driving privileges reinstated due to a new state measure. Starting July 1st the Secretary of State will not suspend a driver’s license for failure to pay a fine or penalty on time.
LGBTQ History Taught in Schools
The 2020-2021 school year will see the start of LGBTQ history existing as a mandatory component of the curriculum for Illinois public schools. The amended school code bill will require schools to purchase non-discriminatory textbooks that are inclusive of the contributions of historic members of LGBTQ community.
Civics Education in Schools
Illinois Public Act 101-0254 will also go into effect in the 2020-2021 school year, requiring the state’s public schools to teach a minimum of one semester of civics in grades 6,7, or 8. The new civics curriculum will spotlight discussions on current and societal issues, as well as bringing focus to government institutions and the democratic process.
Sexual Harassment Prevention and Annual Training
Starting July 1st Illinois employers will be required by law to provide sexual harassment training to their employees once a year, with a deadline of December 31st of 2020 for employers to complete this year’s training. Restaurants and bars will be additionally required to provide a sexual harassment policy to employees in writing within their first employment week. Hotels and casinos will be required to supply safety or notification devices to employees who work alone, and must provide a provision in their sexual harassment policy allowing for employees to take time off after filing sexual harassment police reports or criminal complaints.
All Employees Protected from Discrimination
The July 2020 amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act names an employer’s harassment of an employee based on race, religion, age, sex, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy, citizenship status, and more, as a civil rights violation. Employers are also now responsible for any such harassment done by employees, consultants, or contractors if they have knowledge of the occurrence of harassment but do not take reasonable corrective measures. Each year, companies must disclose to the
Illinois Department of Human Rights any harassment or discrimination judgements, rulings, or settlements against them. The amendment also newly defines an employer as a person or entity with one or more person(s) employed in the state for 20 or more weeks within the calendar year,, modifying what was previously defined under the act as a person or entity employing 15 or more people.