On January 1, 2015, more than 200 new laws took effect in Illinois. Illinois Representative Jil Tracy has provided a brief summary of a few of these new laws with the house bill numbers listed.

•     Access to Birth Certificates of Adopted Persons

Allows adult grandchildren to access birth certificates and other information regarding their deceased grandparents if the grandparent was adopted. Also allows a birth parent of an adopted child to receive a non-certified copy of an original birth certificate if certain conditions are met. PA 98-0704 (HB 5949)

•     'Ban the Box' bill

Prohibits employers from seeking information regarding a potential employee's criminal history until after an invitation to interview or a conditional offer of employment has been extended. This law is intended to allow job seekers with criminal history to be considered on their merits and experience rather than being dismissed for an offense. PA 98-0774 (HB 5701)

•     Police Ticket Quota Ban

Prohibits county, municipal, conservation, and state police agencies from implementing ticket quotas. Officers may still be evaluated on "points of contact," including the number of traffic stops completed, arrests, written warnings and crime prevention measures. Initiative enacted to refocus law enforcement on public safety instead of revenue generation. PA 98-0650 (SB 3411)

•     Use of Medical Cannabis for Minors

Amends the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act to add the use of medical cannabis for seizures and epilepsy, including minors under the age of 18. Allows the Illinois Department of Public Health to create rules that require minors to have parental consent. PA 98-0775 (SB 2636)

•     Cyber Bullying into School Code

Requires all schools, public or private to add cyber bullying into the school code and policy to investigate an act of bullying. PA 98-0801 (HB 4207)

•     Blood Donation - Community Service Prohibition

Amends various criminal codes in relation to juveniles, primarily the Juvenile Court Act of 1987. States that donating blood or working at a blood bank no longer qualifies as court ordered public or community service. PA 98-0824 (SB 2709)

•     Use of Drones During Disasters or Public Health Emergencies

Amends the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act to prevent law enforcement from using information from private third party drones, unless the owner of the drone provides it freely. Allows for use of drones without a search warrant during a disaster or public health emergency. Allows drones to be used to monitor weather or emergency conditions and declare a disaster or public health emergency. PA 98-0831 (SB 2937)

•     Disabled Veteran Parking Placards

This law removes a requirement that a disabled parking placard or decal which has been issued to a veteran must be renewed every four years. The new law states that once a disabled parking placard or decal has been issued to a veteran who has been permanently disabled, that veteran does not have to keep coming back to the Secretary of State's office for a renewal every four years. PA 98-0879 (SB 3255)

•     Purple Heart License Plate Fee Waiver

To honor those who have served in the military and earned the Purple Heart, Illinois will now waive the payment of any registration or registration renewal fee for an individual issued a Purple Heart license plate. The law will also allow individuals who have been issued the Purple Heart license plate and qualify under the Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons Property Tax Relief Act to obtain a plate for an additional vehicle for a $24 registration fee. PA 98-0902 (HB 4491)

•     "Sign and drive" in Illinois

This new law institutes "sign and drive" in Illinois by prohibiting the confiscation of a motorist's driver's license as bail when stopped and cited for a minor (no jail time) traffic offense. Since 9/11, the need for appropriate, state-issued photo identification has become a necessity in order to travel, obtain health-care, renting vehicles, etc. The driver's license is still the standard, accepted form of photo identification. PA 98-0870 (SB 2583)

•     Proof of online license plate renewal

Allows a printed receipt of online license plate renewal to serve as proof of renewal until the sticker is received in the mail. PA 98-1103 (SB 2802)

•     Police Bulletproof Vest Requirement

Requires law enforcement agencies to provide a bulletproof vest for every new law enforcement officer, and to replace each vest before the warranty expires. Requires that each government agency covered under this law will be required to apply to the United States Department of Justice under the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant of 1998 to help pay for the purchase. Federal reimbursement is available for up to half the cost of the bulletproof vests and the state will be responsible for the remaining half that will otherwise be covered by the law enforcement agency. PA 98-0743 (HB 5688)

•     Building Storm Shelters in New Schools

This law requires all new school construction in Illinois to include a storm shelter which meets the minimum requirements of the International Code Council and National Storm Shelter Association. The legislation was inspired by the devastation left by deadly tornadoes which ripped through Illinois in 2012 and 2013. PA 98-0883 (HB 2513)

•     Electronic Cigarettes

Amends the Display of Tobacco Products Act, providing that alternative nicotine products (electronic cigarettes) must be sold from behind the counter or in an age restricted area or in a sealed display case. PA 98-0983 (HB 5868)

•     Special Packaging for E-Cigarettes

The new law provides that electronic cigarette liquids sold and marketed for the refilling of e-cigarettes may be sold only in special packaging. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) shall adopt rules establishing the standards for special packaging to be used for e-cigarette liquids. PA 98-1021 (HB 5689)

•     Alcohol - Minors

This law makes it unlawful for any person to knowingly permit his or her residence, any other private property under his or her control, or any vehicle, watercraft, or conveyance to be used by an invitee under the age of 21 in a manner that violates the minor alcohol prohibition. It also makes provisions in the case of rental property. PA 98-1017 (HB 4745)

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