December 18, 2019
by Gregory S. Dowell
An article in today’s Chicago Tribune pointed out several new laws that go into effect as of January 1, 2020 (see the Tribune for the full article). Many of these new laws do not have an impact, at least directly, on business, but are worth noting. This is not an inclusive list of all the new laws, but some of are as follows:
Most news outlets have covered this extensively. Various municipalities have enacted laws to ban the recreational sale of pot within their borders, but they can not take any action to make it illegal. One has to wonder how long these villages will hold out, once they see their residents’ sales tax dollars going to neighboring communities. Pot will still not be consumable in public places and will be under a host of restrictions. Importantly, it will still remain illegal at the federal level.
Minimum wage increases by $1 per hour, to $9.25. Another $.75 raise to $10 an hour takes effect on July 1. Increases of $1 per year will continue every year until the minimum wage is $15 per hour in 2025. Chicago’s minimum wage, which is currently $13 per hour, will increase to $14 on July 1st. It then increases to $15 on July 1, 2021.
A new tax on parking, which will pay for building projects under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s $45 billion “Rebuild Illinois” infrastructure program, starts in 2020. A new 6% tax on daily lot parking and a 9% monthly tax on garage parking is included, but parking lots and garages owned and operated by the state or local governments are exempt.
License plate fees
License plate fees are increasing by $50 to $151 annually. Licenses for electric vehicles will be $248 per year. New, renewed, or replaced identification cards for minors will decrease to $5.
Trade-in vehicle tax
If you trade in a vehicle when you buy another, more of the value of the old vehicle will be included. The trade-in value of a vehicle was exempt from sales tax under existing laws but, beginning in 2020, it will be taxed up to a limit of $10,000.
The new law will require employers to provide sexual harassment training. Further, workers cannot be required to sign nondisclosure or arbitration agreements related to harassment or discrimination. Hotels and casinos must equip certain employees with devices that allow them to alert security if they need help.
Higher driving violation fines
There will be no more statute of limitations on criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
DCFS reporting requirements
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services will be required to make a home visit when its hotline receives a call from a mandated reporter, which include law enforcement, medical and school workers. DCFS will also be required to notify the departments of Public Health and Healthcare and Family Services when it receives reports of children being abused or neglected while receiving hospital care.
Expanded immigrant rights
Among other laws affecting immigrants, Monetary Award Program funds (MAP) would be expanded to include Illinois students who are not legal permanent residents in the U.S.
Baby changing stations
Public restrooms will be required to have diaper changing stations. Factories and nightclubs are exempt, and individuals won’t be able to sue building owners for failing to install changing stations. a
It will no longer be a requirement to pay for a legal notice in a newspaper.
Compromising or private images posted online
Victims of “revenge porn” can receive damages, and a person can file a petition for a takedown order of a “private compromising image” of themselves that is posted online and holds the person who posted it liable for damages.
Expanded insurance coverage
Some insurance plans in Illinois will be required to cover a variety of new services. Plans must now cover skin cancer screenings with no out-of-pocket expenses for patients and “medically necessary” epinephrine injectors — commonly known by the brand name EpiPen — for people under 18. Infants also will be able to get coverage for donated breast milk when it’s prescribed by a medical professional.
No YouTube while driving
The new law will specifically forbid “watching or streaming video” while driving. A separate law also prohibits drivers from having smoked or tinted headlights on their vehicles.
Service animal housing
Landlords who don’t allow animals on their property will be authorized to ask for documentation detailing need or disability when a prospective tenant uses a service or assistance animal.
Medical pot in schools
The attention has been on the legalization of recreational marijuana, but another new law will allow students who are registered medical cannabis patients to use infused products on school grounds or at school activities under the supervision of a school nurse or administrator. Like other medications, medical marijuana products have to be stored with the school nurse at all times.
$50 Gift for every Illinois baby
A new program takes effect that will give every baby born in Illinois $50 in a 529-style investment account to help pay for their future community college, university or trade school expenses. Critics contend that the program is poorly conceived, as the $50 goes to every baby, regardless of family income.