Thanks to State Senator Karen McConnauhay, you’ll be able to read synopises of the new laws going into effect on New Year’s Day.
Her press release, plus the first of thirteen categories are below:
McConnaughay: Nearly 200 new laws take effect on January 1
ST. CHARLES — As the year comes to a close, State Senator Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles) says nearly 200 new laws will take effect at the beginning of 2017, including legislation to improve the criminal justice system, help law enforcement, assist abuse victims, and provide greater safety provisions for Illinois motorists.
In an effort to reduce the dangerous overcrowding in Illinois prisons, while also promoting more thoughtful sentencing procedures, one measure sponsored by McConnaughay will allow for greater flexibility when granting probation to certain non-violent offenders with no prior conviction for a violent crime.
“The state’s correctional facilities are currently operating at roughly 150 percent of their recommended capacity,” said McConnaughay.
“Not only is this overcrowding dangerous for guards and inmates, alike, it demonstrates that we need to identify alternative options for those individuals who have made a bad decision, but whose personal history and the nature of their crime demonstrate they aren’t likely to continue on with a criminal lifestyle.”
Senate Bill 3164 is part of a bipartisan reform package advanced by McConnaughay and her fellow members on the Governor’s Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform.
The commission was established to reduce the state prison population and recidivism through commonsense reforms to the state’s criminal justice system.
Another new law sponsored by McConnaughay taking effect on January 1 seeks to increase the reporting, investigation and successful prosecution of sexual assault cases in Illinois.
Notably, Senate Bill 3096 gives victims a longer period of time to request a rape kit, speeds up forensic testing to address the backlog of testing rape kits in sexual assault cases and requires more detailed reporting of sexual assault cases by police.
Lawmakers also collaborated to find diversified ways to assist victims of domestic abuse. McConnaughay voted in favor of House Bill 4264, which provides for cosmetologists to now receive special training to identify signs of domestic violence and sexual violence as part of their license renewal process.
The Senator said it’s hoped the additional training will lead to greater help for victims of domestic violence by increasing awareness and offering victims another place to turn for help—especially those who may not feel comfortable going to the authorities.
Additionally, the Senator worked with Metra to solve the overwhelming issue of rail-related accidents in Illinois—the state currently ranks second in rail crossing fatalities in the country.
Under Senate Bill 2806, motorists who attempt to cross railroad tracks while the gate is down or lights are flashing will see their fines doubled in life-saving legislation sponsored by McConnaughay.
“The numbers of rail crossing fatalities can’t be ignored,” said McConnaughay. “It’s my hope that steeper fines will prompt motorists to realize what’s at stake and think twice before making the decision to cross railroad tracks when it’s unsafe to do so.”
Agriculture, Animals and Hunting
Youth Trapping Licenses (SB 2410/PA 99-0868): Allows individuals age 18 and younger to trap without having to take the hunter training course required by DNR. Youth must be accompanied by parent, grandparent, or guardian 21 years of age or older. Provides that beginning January 1, 2017 anyone person born on or after January 1, 1998 cannot obtain a trapping license unless they provide proof they have a certificate of competency provided for in the section regarding trapping.
Ag Teacher Grant Program (SB 2975/PA 99-0826): Creates the Agricultural Education Teacher Grant Program that aims to assist school districts in paying for personal services costs of agriculture education instructors.
Specialty Hunting Licenses (SB 3003/PA 99-0869): States that DNR, on an annual basis, may establish a youth-only spring wild turkey season which shall include 2 consecutive weekends. Consolidates lines referring to the special permits for Equity members, partners, and shareholders of land owned by a company, as well as Illinois residents who own 40 or more acres of property they intend to hunt on into one new section.
Agribusiness Recognition Signs (HB 4318/PA 99-0823): Allows the Department of Agriculture to sell (at cost) to qualified applicants signs recognizing an agribusiness that has operated for 100 years or more or 150 years or more.
Public Hunting of Game Birds (HB 4604/PA 99-0866): Allows hunters to take bobwhite quail, chukar partridge, and gray partridge on public hunting grounds.
Fishing Rules/Regulations (HB 5788/PA 99-0867): Adds catfish to the list of species that may be taken with a pitchfork, underwater spear gun, bow and arrow, or a bow and arrow device. Allows the Department of Natural Resources to authorize the selling of species taken by the above methods within that specific section.
Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Council Reduction (HB 5933/PA 99-0653): Reduces the size of the voting members on the Local Food, Farms and Jobs Council from 35 to 18 in order to increase efficiency.Removes the council’s responsibility to develop a label and certification program.
Egg Sales (HB 6287/PA 99-0732): No eggs may be offered for sale for consumer use 45 days or more after candling (rather than after the original 30-day candling date). Extends the expiration date labeling requirement for grade A and AA eggs to no later than 45 days after candling.