SPRINGFIELD – While the overall perception of the Illinois state legislature’s 2015 session is that nothing was accomplished because the state budget has yet to be agreed upon, there are 237 new state laws that will go into effect tonight a midnight.
There’s a new law punishing employers for not paying men and women equally.
Equal Pay Cover All Employers (P.A. 99-0418, HB 3619)
Amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003 with a two-tiered civil penalty system for employer violations. An employer with fewer than 4 employees that violates the Act is subject to $500 for a first offense, $2,500 for a second offense, and $5,000 for a third or subsequent offense. An employer with 4 or more employees is subject to $2,500 for a first offense, $3,000 for a second offense, and $5,000 for a third or subsequent offense.
There’s a new law that requires high school students to study civics – question is, when and why was it not required?
And notice the word “democratic” process in the analysis – are Republicans okay with that?
Civics Course Requirement for High School Students (P.A. 99-0434, HB 4025)
Provides that of the 2 years of social studies required of high school students, at least one semester must be civics. Course content shall focus on government institutions, the discussion of current and controversial issues, service learning and simulations of the democratic process.
While medical marijuana is moving ahead in Illinois, the state legislature saw a need to hike the seriousness of selling synthetic marijuana that’s popular with high school and college agers, as well as prohibiting the sale or give away of powdered caffeine and banning powdered alcohol.
Powdered Caffeine Control (P.A. 99-0050, SB 9)
Prohibits any person from selling, offering to sell, giving away or providing free samples of powdered pure caffeine to any person under age 18 and sets forth the penalties for violation.
Liquor Ban on Powdered Alcohol (P.A. 99-0051, SB 67)
Bans the sale, offer for sale, delivery, receipt or purchase for resale in the state of Illinois of any product consisting of or containing powdered alcohol. A knowing violation is a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class 4 felony for all subsequent offenses.
Synthetic Drugs Classified As Controlled Substances (P.A. 99-0371, SB 1129)
Adds various synthetic drugs to the list of Schedule I controlled substances. Deletes from the definition of controlled substance analog the requirement that a substance must be intended for human consumption to be considered an analog of a controlled substance with a chemical structure substantially similar to that of a controlled substance.
Keeping your dog or cat out in the the cold could get you a Class A misdemeanor.
Animals – Extreme Heat or Cold (P.A. 99-0311, SB 125)
No pet owner may expose their dog or cat in a manner that places the dog or cat in a life-threatening situation for a prolonged period of time due to extreme heat or cold conditions. A violation is a Class A misdemeanor.
No exemptions for child care workers if you have reactions or religious convictions about certain vaccinations.
Requiring Vaccinations For Child Care Workers (P.A. 99-0267, SB 986)
Under this law, a person cannot be employed by a child care facility that cares for children under the age of 6 if that person cannot show proof of having received the TDAP and MMR vaccines.
And if you’re unable to conceive a child after a year, your insurance will now be required to cover the expenses and employers will need to provide the coverage.
Insurance Coverage for Infertility (P.A. 99-421, SB 1764)
Requires insurers offering accident and health insurance to groups of more than 25 employees to provide coverage for infertility treatments to covered individuals unable to attain a viable pregnancy or maintain a viable pregnancy. Expands the definition of infertility to include individuals unable to conceive after one year of attempting to produce conception and those unable to conceive after diagnosis with a condition affecting fertility.
Pumpkin pie is the state pie.
Illinois State Pie (P.A. 99-0364, HB 208)
Designates Pumpkin Pie as the official state pie of Illinois. Illinois leads the nation in pumpkin production.
And while social issues were not allowed to be discussed as declared by the Republican and Democrat parties’ chiefs in Illinois, the Democrats successfully made changes in Illinois’ social public policy. There are new laws that set into motion special protections considering gender, same sex and counseling – and too bad if your religion disagrees with the state’s policy stand:
Prohibits “Conversion Therapy” on Minors (P.A. 99-0411, HB 217)
Creates the Youth Mental Health Protection Act and provides that no mental health provider shall engage in “conversion therapy,” or sexual orientation change efforts with a person under the age of 18.
Gender Neutral Burials (P.A. 99-0417, HB 3552)
The wishes of an individual who identifies as the opposite sex or as transgender will now be honored at their burial – even if they have not physically or legally changed their sex or name at the time of their death. Their chosen name, dress and appearance will reflect the written directions left by the deceased.
Same Sex Hate Crimes Definition (P.A. 99-0077, HB 3930)
Changes definition of “sexual orientation” in the hate crime statute, the institutional vandalism statute and the statute concerning aggravating factors in sentencing to the definition used in the Illinois Human Rights Act. Amends the offense of institutional vandalism by replacing the term “sexual orientation” with “ancestry, gender, sexual orientation” and “physical or mental disability.”
The rest of Illinois’ 237 new laws are described at the Republican Party Illinois House’s caucus blog.