6 new laws Chicagoans should know

person-holding-gray-twist-pen-and-white-printer-paper-on-955389.jpgNew Year. New Laws. As of Jan. 1, more than 250 new laws have gone into effect in the state of Illinois.

These new laws range from increased traffic fines to requiring gender-neutral options on drivers’ licenses. While the legalization of recreational marijuana usage has been the most talked about, here are six new laws all Illinois residents need to know:

  • Minimum Wage Increases – In February 2019, Governor JB Pritzker signed a new minimum wage law, allowing Illinois workers to earn an additional $1 per hour, bringing their current rate to $9.25. This $1 per hour increase is part of a larger effort to bring the state’s minimum wage earnings to $15 per hour by the year 2025.
  • Vehicle Registration Increases – Vehicle registration has now increased by $50, bringing the total amount to $148, making Illinois vehicle registration fees the highest amongst neighboring states and the fifth highest in the nation. There will be an additional $100 fee for electric cars and larger vehicles, including buses and trailers.
  • Changing Tables – Under the new law, changing tables are mandatory in all public men’s, ladies, and unisex restrooms. Appropriate signage must also be included, indicating that a changing area is inside.
  • Sexual Harassment – Under the Workplace Transparency Act, contracts and non-disclosure agreements can no longer prevent those who are victims of sexual assault from reporting misconduct. Employees are also now required to participate in sexual harassment prevention training, including additional training for bars and restaurants. The new sexual harassment laws also state that prosecution may occur at any time after the offense has occurred, rather than the previous ten-year window.
  • Pregnancy and Childbirth – With black infant mortality rates higher than that of any other race, two different laws are now in place. The first requires that all medical staff undergo annual training on how to care for pregnant and postpartum women, as well as yearly continuing education and drills. The second ensures that women be entitled to proper healthcare procedures and protocols, have the right to request their birthing center, and be treated with respect at all stages of the pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum process, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religious background.
  • Mental Health/Suicide Prevention – Aimed at combating the suicide rate amongst police officers, the new law requires that information regarding work-related stress, signs of suicide, and solutions be included in future training. Also, all public universities and community colleges in Illinois must provide resources on their mental health and suicide prevention to students.

For a complete list of all 2020 Illinois laws, please click here.

Racquel Coral, Contributing Writer


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