SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — At the start of the new year, 195 laws go into effect, changing everything from reforming the criminal justice system to who can be a substitute teacher. Here are some of these laws.
Minimum Wage Increase
The standard minimum wage for an Illinois worker is $13 per hour, starting Jan. 2023. The exceptions include children under 18 who work less than 650 hours in a year, whose minimum wage is $10.50, and tipped workers, whose minimum wage is $7.80.
There are also dollar increases scheduled for 2024 and 2025. The increases are a part of the 15 dollar minimum wage law signed into law by Governor Pritzker in 2019.
End of Gas Tax Freeze
The Gas Tax is scheduled to increase every six months, but as a part of a tax rebate law for residents, the state froze the increase from July 1 to Dec. 31 of 2022. The tax, which mostly funds Rebuild Illinois projects, will be back at the pumps starting Jan. 1. There is also another increase scheduled for July 1, 2023.
The Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity-Today Act, which was introduced by the Illinois Black Caucus as part of Black legislators’ response to the murder of George Floyd, was passed by the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives on Jan. 13, 2021.
The act abolishes Illinois’ money bail system beginning Jan. 1, 2023. According to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the cash bail system disproportionately impacts Black and brown communities and other underrepresented or impoverished groups, who can’t afford bond.
Many Illinois law enforcement agencies argued the act will embolden criminals, but Governor J.B. Pritzker recently signed an amendment that many law enforcement groups, including the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police and Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, did not oppose.
Sixty-two Illinois State’s Attorneys have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the SAFE-T Act and have filed lawsuits to overturn it before it goes into effect. The judge for the case said he hopes to announce his verdict on Dec. 28.
Other parts of the SAFE-T Act going into effect include the ability to file complaints on police officers anonymously, and police officers will be only able to write citations for people committing Class B or C misdemeanors.
Also in 2023, counties and municipalities with populations between 100,000 and 500,000 will need to start wearing body cameras in 2023. Law enforcement in smaller counties and municipalities will be required to wear them before 2025.
Smoke detectors with 10-year batteries
Illinois home smoke alarms must be equipped with 10-year sealed batteries starting January 1.
According to a 2017 law, smoke alarms that were installed in homes prior to January 1st can remain in place until they are 10 years old.
Homes built after 1988 that already have hardwired alarms or wireless integrated alarms are exempt from the new law.
Ban of discrimination on sources of income
Part of the Illinois Human Rights Act was amended to prevent discrimination on real estate transactions for sources of income. Sources of income is defined in the law as “lawful manner by which an individual supports himself or herself and his or her dependents.”
The ban was designed to prevent discrimination from governmental supplemental income like Social Security and public assistance programs.
More guaranteed time off for bereavement
Illinois is expanding its definition of bereavement to include miscarriages, failed adoptions, and unsuccessful fertility procedures. It is also adding more relationships to deaths in the family to what is legally covered for bereavement, including spouses, siblings, grandparents and stepparents.
The state guarantees employees have the right to at least 10 unpaid days off to properly grieve in these circumstances.
“Workers who experience the death of a loved one or other kinds of loss such as a miscarriage or a failed adoption should be able to grieve without the fear of losing their job,” Illinois Department of Labor Acting Director Jane Flanagan said.
Equity in Health Act
The Equity in Health Act will start providing scholarships and loan repayment programs to attract underrepresented groups in nursing and other health-related fields to work in Illinois.
“Medical professionals’ implicit bias can be a huge barrier for patients of color, LGBTQ patients, and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds,” Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) said in June when it was signed into law. “This measure combats a lack of representation by providing scholarships for those who can help diversify the field.”
HIV preventative drugs
Pre-exposure prophylaxis is a prescription drug that is 99% effective in preventing the spread of HIV. Starting January 1, people seeking care no longer need to go to their doctor, as pharmacists can write prescriptions for PrEP.
Proponents of the law argue some people at risk for contracting HIV may be more comfortable learning the risks and side effects of PrEP from a pharmacist rather than a doctor.
“Creating an avenue by which pharmacists are able to facilitate that care is what was really, really important to us,” Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), the law’s original sponsor, said.
The Illinois Public Health Association estimates only 1 out of 4 people who are at a high risk of contracting HIV currently have a prescription for PrEP.
Schools teaching safe gun storage
As part of their safety education, schools in 2023 are now instructed to include lessons on safe gun storage as a part of their safety education classes.
More substitute teachers
To help alleviate the statewide teaching shortage, college students enrolled in an education-related field with at least 90 credits can start substitute teaching in the new year before they get their degree.
The full list of laws going into effect next month can be found here.
John Clark of WTVO contributed to the reporting of this article.