New Illinois Laws for 2020

With the arrival of January 1, 2020, Illinois instituted 256 new laws.  These new laws cover a variety of topics such as: agriculture, animals, budget, business, children and family, trusts, consumers, criminal, traffic, cybersecurity, education, environment, gaming, housing, insurance, labor, government, wages, health care, Immigration, seniors, transportation and veterans. Summaries of all of the laws may be reviewed at the website for Senate Republicans.

The following discusses some of those laws.  A citation, for the Public Act (PA), Senate Bill (SB) and House Bill (HB), is also given in case you are interested in reviewing the bill in its entirety:


FIRE ALARM SYSTEM IN KENNELS (PA 101-210, HB 3390):  A kennel operator shall install a fire alarm monitoring system that triggers notification to local emergency responders when activated. Shelters with 24/7 staff are not included in the requirement. Licensure can be denied based upon failure to comply.

RABIES VACCINES FOR CATS (PA 101-0299): Requires cats that are four months or older to receive rabies inoculation, and a subsequent inoculation within a year of the first inoculation. Feral cats are generally excluded.

SERVICE ANIMAL DOCUMENTATION FOR HOUSING (PA 101-0518, HB 3671): Allows landlords to request reliable documentation that establishes the need for the assistance of a service animal, when allowing a service animal on the premises when pets are generally prohibited by policy.


PROTECTING THE PRIVACY OF HOME-BASED BUSINESS OWNERS (PA 101-475, HB 2528):   Victims of stalking and petitioners for an order of protection, who operate a home-based business under an assumed name, at their personal residence, may list the address of their local county clerk as the default agent for service of process, if specific conditions are met.

NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS SET FOR ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE(AI) VIDEO INTERVIEWS OF JOB APPLICANTS( PA 101-260, HB 2557):   Employers who ask applicants to record video interviews and use an artificial intelligence analysis of applicant-submitted videos shall notify each applicant before the interview that AI may be used to analyze the applicant’s facial expressions and consider the applicant’s fitness for the position. Employers must provide each applicant with an information sheet before the interview explaining how AI works and what characteristics it uses to evaluate applicants. In addition, the applicant must consent to be evaluated by the AI program.

PERSONAL INFORMATION PROTECTION (PA 101-0343, SB 1624): Provides that where a single data breach affects more than 500 Illinois residents, the breach must be reported to the Illinois Attorney General.


BULK FOOD HANDLING (PA 101-0510, HB 3440):  Allows for consumers to use personal containers to fill or refill bulk food, provided that the dispensers used prevent the direct handling of the food and the containers are clean and sanitary.

POST JUDGMENT INTEREST ON CONSUMER DEBT (PA 101-0168, HB 88): Judgement interest rate for consumer debts, judgment on debt related to personal, family or household debt, shall be 5% for those judgments less than $25,000. All other judgments are subject to 9% interest.

GENETIC TESTING PRIVACY (PA 101-1032, HB 2189): The Genetic Information Privacy Act now includes direct-to-consumer commercial genetic testing. Such genetic testing information cannot be released without the written consent of the consumer.


ENHANCING CRIMINAL PENALTIES ON VIOLENCE IN PLACES OF WORSHIP (PA 101-223, HB 38):  Potentially increases the penalty for first-degree murder, when the victim was a member of a congregation engaged in prayer or other religious activities at a place of worship. An assault or battery committed in a place of worship is enhanced to an aggravated assault or aggravated battery.

ELIMINATES STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR CRIMINAL SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES (PA 101-130, HB 2135):  Removes the statute of limitation for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, or aggravated criminal sexual abuse regardless of the age of the victim.

LEGALIZATION OF PERSONAL USE MARIJUANA (PA 101-27, HB 1438):  The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act allows for the recreational use of cannabis by individuals over the age of 21. Illinois citizens may possess up to 30 grams of cannabis and out of state individuals may possess up to 15 grams. You can only buy marijuana at state-licensed dispensaries, and only partake in the privacy of your own home. Landlords can prohibit cannabis use in their properties, and employers can still prohibit its use and drug test employees. Growing marijuana plants is only allowed for medical patients and even then, they can only have five plants. The act also establishes guidelines pertaining to expungement of records for possession of cannabis, taxation on cannabis, including numerous changes and additions to Illinois law.

CRACKING DOWN ON CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN COMMITTED IN THE CLOUD (PA 101-87, HB 2133):  Law strengthens the ability of law enforcement to charge offenders who commit fraud, child pornography, online solicitation of a child and a range of other crimes by updating the definition of “computer” in state law to include any cloud-based networks of remote services hosted on the Internet.


IN-SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION OF MEDICAL CANNABIS INFUSED PRODUCTS (PA 101-370, SB 455):  All schools and school districts must allow a school nurse or school administrator to administer a medical cannabis infused product to a student who is a registered qualifying patient, while on school premises or at a school sponsored activity. The schools may authorize the self-administration of the medical cannabis infused product by a student under the direct supervision of a school nurse or school administrator.

HIGHER EDUCATION SAVINGS PROGRAM (PA 101-466, HB 2237): The State Treasurer shall administer the Illinois Higher Education Savings Program, subject to appropriation, beginning in 2021, which will ensure that a 529 college savings account is automatically opened for every child born in Illinois, with an initial deposit in the amount of $50.

INCLUDING “CONSENT” IN SEX EDUCATION CONTENT (PA 101-579, HB 3550):  This legislation requires that course material and instruction in sex education for students in grades 6-12 must include an age-appropriate discussion on the meaning of consent to sexual activity which under current Illinois law refers to consent as a freely given agreement to the particular sex act in question.

AGE-APPROPRIATE SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY (PA 101-408, HB 254): Requires school districts to create, maintain, and implement an age-appropriate policy on sexual harassment that must be posted on the school district’s website and included in the district’s student code of conduct handbook.


ILLINOIS TRUST CODE (PA 101-48, HB 147):  Illinois has enacted a new Code on Trusts which generally follows the Uniform Trust Code followed by 33 other states and the District of Columbia. The new Code will apply to all trusts governed by Illinois law beginning on January 1, 2020. A review of any existing trust, with counsel, might provide for an opportunity to decide whether the new provisions might be more advantageous. It discusses elective and non-elective provisions on behalf of the creator of the trust, the need to send an annual accounting to the beneficiaries, the need for notices and information to be sent to the beneficiaries, exoneration of trustees from personal liability, authority for a trustee to delegate, and possible  limits on the  discretionary powers of the Trustee.

MODERNIZING HEALTH AND ESTATE DIRECTIVES (PA 101-163, SB 182):  Allows electronic documents and signatures to apply to living wills and healthcare power of attorney.

OVERSIGHT AND REGULATIONS ON PREPAY FUNERAL SERVICES (PA 101-552, SB 1464):  When funds are on deposit or held in trust, in relation to a prepayment funeral contract, those funds may become “abandoned” as provided under the law.

ELDER ABUSE INHERITANCE RESTRICTIONS (PA 101-0182, HB 347): A person convicted of assault, aggravated assault, battery, and aggravated battery of an elderly person or a person with a disability cannot receive any benefit or inheritance by reason of the death of the elderly person or person with disability.


POST PLACEMENT ADOPTION ASSISTANCE (PA 101-0155, HB 3587): Requires the Department of Children and Family Services to establish and maintain a toll-free number that will respond to the public about post-placement and post-adoption issues.

NO NOTICE REQUIRED TO RESUME USE OF MAIDEN NAME (PA 101-203, SB 1191):   A person who has received a judgment for dissolution of marriage or declaration of invalidity of marriage and who wishes to resume the use of his or her former or maiden name is not required to provide notice by publication of the change of name.


NON-HOME RULE MUNICIPAL RETAILERS’ OCCUPATION TAX EXTENSION (PA 101-47, HB 938):  Act extends until July 1, 2030, the law allowing the corporate authorities of a non-home rule municipality to use the proceeds of the non-home rule municipal retailers’ occupation tax for expenditure on municipal operations, in addition to or in lieu of any expenditure on public infrastructure or for property tax relief.

TOWNSHIPS AND FOOD PANTRY (PA 101-309, SB 640):  Under Illinois Public Aid Code, townships are now given express authority to provide for and administer food pantry programs as part of the township’s general assistance programming.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUDITING STANDARDS (PA 101-419, SB 1806):  Makes changes to Governmental Account Audit Act, the Counties Code, and the Illinois Municipal Code to add clarifying language with respect to accounting and auditing requirements, standards, principles, reporting and financial statements.

TRAINING FOR OPEN MEETINGS (PA 101-0233, HB 814): An elected or appointed member of a public body of a municipality may satisfy the training requirements, for Open Meetings, in a course of training sponsored or conducted by an organization that represents municipalities as designated in the Ill Municipal Code.  The law further describes the nature of the training.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION EXEMPTIONS (PA 101-434, SB 1712):  The Freedom of Information Act is amended to exempt, from disclosure, a public body’s credit card numbers, debit card numbers, bank account numbers, Federal Employer Identification Number, security code numbers, passwords, and similar account information.


COVERAGE OF HEARING INSTRUMENTS (PA 101-393, HB 3503): Requires insurers to offer optional coverage for hearing instruments and any related service for all individuals at least 65 years old. The insured will be paying an additional premium for the option and must obtain a prescription from a hearing care professional. There will be a $2500 cap for every 24 months. Restrictions may apply if coverage is through a group policy.

PROTECTION OF ORGAN DONORS (PA 101-179, H Bill 2847): It is now unlawful to refuse to insure, to refuse to continue to insure, to limit the amount, extent, or kind of coverage for life, disability, or long-term care insurance to an individual, or to charge an individual a different rate for the same coverage, solely because of the individual’s status as a living organ donor.  Secretary of State is to create a database of individuals who have consented to being a donor with access by procurement organizations.

COVERAGE FOR CHILD’S EPINEPHRINE PEN (PA 101-0281, HB 3435): Insurance coverage is mandated for children’s EpiPens when deemed medically necessary.


DEPARTMENT OF LABOR WAGE RECOVERY FROM EMPLOYERS (PA 101-509, HB 3405):  Provides that gratuities are the property of employees and that employers shall pay gratuities to employees within 13 days after the end of the pay period during which the gratuities were earned.

INCREASE IN MINIMUM WAGE (PA 101-0001, SB 0001): Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, minimum wage will jump from $8.25 to $9.25 statewide, with the minimum wage for tipped workers and employees under 18 (only those working part-time) increasing proportionally as well. Then in July, it will increase again to $10, then $11 beginning on Jan. 1, 2021. It will keep climbing until it reaches $15 per hour beginning on Jan. 1, 2025.  Each employer with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees may claim a credit against payments as set out in the new law.


NOTARY PUBLIC ADVERTISING (PA 101-465, HB 2176):  Every public notary, who is not an attorney or an accredited immigration representative, must, prior to rendering notary services, provide any person seeking notary services with a written acknowledgment, in English and the language used in the advertisement for notary services, that the notary cannot provide legal advice nor provide Immigration services.


BATHROOM SIGNAGE (PA 101-165, SB 556): Every single-occupancy restroom in a place of public accommodation shall be identified as “restroom” and not indicate a specific gender.

BABY CHANGING FACILITY IN PUBLIC BUILDING (PA 101-0293, HB 3711): Requires that there be at least one baby diaper changing station in women’s and men’s public bathroom, contained within a public building. Signage must be visible.

SECRETARY OF STATE Driver’s License and Identification CARDS

GENDER DESIGNATIONS ON STATE DOCUMENTS (PA 101-513, HB 3534): Authorizes the Secretary of State to permit applicants for identification documents to choose between “male,” “female,” or “non-binary” when designating the applicant’s sex on identification card and driver’s license application forms.


DOUBLES FINES FOR ILLEGALLY PASSING STOPPED SCHOOL BUS (PA 101-55, HB 1873): Doubles the fines for approaching, overtaking, and passing school buses. First offense, fine shall increase from $150 to $300 and second offense, from $500 to $1000.

STREAMING VIDEO WHILE DRIVING BAN (PA 101-297, SB 86):  Drivers are not allowed to use an electronic device to stream or watch videos while on the road under this new law, with violations punishable by a fine of $75 for a first offense, $100 for a second, $125 for a third and $150 for a fourth or subsequent offense.

TINTED OR SMOKED VEHICLE LIGHTING (PA 101-189, SB 87):  Prohibits the use of smoked or tinted lens covers on vehicle lighting while operating on the roadways.

CONSTRUCTION ZONE PENALTY (PA 101-172, SB 1496):  Drivers who fail to obey any official traffic-control device shall be fined no less than $100 and no more than $1,000. Penalties for violation of the requirement to use caution in approaching or entering a highway construction or maintenance area or zone increase from a maximum fine of $10,000 to a maximum fine of $25,000.

SCOTT’S LAW UPDATES (PA 101-173, SB 1862): Scott’s Law requires drivers to change lanes, slow down and proceed with caution in approaching emergency vehicles or disabled cars on the side of the highway. Further requires a motorist who is not able to change lanes to reduce speed and leave a safe distance between them and the stationary vehicles. Penalties for first offense are increased from $100 to $250 and second offense from $750 to $10,000.

DRIVERS BEING ADVISED TO USE THE “ZIPPER MERGE METHOD” (PA 101-174, SB 2038): The “zipper merge” method of merging occurs when vehicles run in parallel until one lane physically narrows.  The vehicles traveling in the open lane should allow the vehicles in the closing lane to enter the open lane on an alternate car basis.


VOTING FOR INMATES IN COUNTY JAIL (PA 101-442, SB 2090): Where eligible voters are confined or detained, outside Cook County, election authorities shall collaborate with the county jail to facilitate voting by mail in the election jurisdiction they are confined or detained. In Cook County, the election authorities shall establish a temporary branch polling place in the jail.

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY:   Grant S. Wegner, Of Counsel, Mahoney, Silverman & Cross, LLC

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