WSIL — As the clock strikes midnight January 1, 2012, more than 200 new laws will go into effect in Illinois.
Charter Schools (HB 2401/PA 97-0151): Requires that with regards to the five “re-enrolling drop-out” charter schools and the 15-maximum “campuses” in Chicago, a collective bargaining contract be entered into between each individual, re-enrolling charter school campus in order to unionize the teachers within that charter school.
Chicago Educational Facility Planning Commission (SB 620/PA 97-0473): Creates the Chicago Educational Facility Planning Commission and gives the commission the authority to approve standards for the capacity and utilization of Chicago Public Schools, approve standards for basic performance measures, approve school actions that are required to be included in the master plan, approve the 5-year Capital Improvement plan and budget, participate in the selection of contractors, and certify whether or not certain requirements have been met.
Child Abuse Reporting (HB 2093/PA 97-0254)/(SB 1950): Changes legislation to reflect the current criminal penalty for making a false report of child abuse to DCFS, and updates the required posted warning to reflect that a false report is a Class 4 felony violation.
“Andrea’s Law” is a new state database of persons convicted of murder. The law will require convicted murderers to register for ten years after their release from prison.
Aggravated Intimidation (SB 1739/PA 97-0162): Establishes that a person has committed aggravated intimidation if they knew their victim was a civilian reporting information about a forcible felony to a law enforcement agency, and the offense was committed for that reason.
Illinois will also ring in the New Year with a stricter seatbelt law. For the first time, adults sitting in the back seat must buckle up or face a fine. Police say the tougher seatbelt law will save lives.
“Folks in the back seat that aren’t buckled up, we call them back seat bullets. At 30 miles per hour, in a head on collision, the average sized adult is going to generate three and a half tons of crash forces. You can only imagine what kind of damages that can do in the vehicle. So it’s very important that everyone gets in the habit of buckling up,” says Trooper David Sneed with the Illinois State Police.
Motorcycles will have more freedom on the road. Since the bikes are often too light to trigger traffic signals, riders will be allowed to drive through red lights after waiting a “reasonable period of time.” A reasonable wait isn’t clearly defined in the new law.
The new laws going into effect Jan. 1 include:
9-1-1 Surcharge (SB 2063/PA 97-0463): Establishes a mechanism to collect the 9-1-1 surcharge on pre-paid cell phones, thus requiring merchants to collect the surcharge at the point of sale. Open Meetings (HB 1670/PA 97-0504): Requires all current and future elected and appointed officials in Illinois to take Open Meetings Act training courses administered by the Public Access Counselor in the Attorney General’s office. Elected school board members are exempted from receiving their training through the AG’s office if they take an alternate course offered by an institution created under Article 23 of the School Code.