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New Year To Bring In New Laws for 2012

More than 200 new laws, covering everything from local library boards to murder, went into effect on Jan. 1, according to state Sen. Christine Radogno (R-41st).

ÒThough many Illinois residents may not realize it, every Jan. 1 hundreds of new laws take effect in Illinois. While some of the measures will have a greater impact than others, I always think it’s a good idea to let the public know about the new laws Ñ some of them could have a significant influence on someone’s life or career,” said Radogno.

Among the more notable measures are bills that would give citizens greater access to government information through the Internet, encourage the use of alternative energy sources, and require adults to wear seat belts when riding in the back seat of a vehicle.

Radogno added that, as is the case nearly every year, many of the new laws are aimed at closing loopholes needed to crack down on criminal offenders.

Here are some of the new laws that went into effect Jan. 1:

Abuse Coverage (HB 3358/PA 97-0343): Extends a mandate under the Illinois Insurance Code to the state group health insurance plan, county governments, school districts and cities regarding victims of physical or sexual abuse, to ensure all insurance plans have similar provisions to cover abuse victims.

Academic Watch (HB 1415/PA 97-0370): Allows local school boards to, if federal grants are available, opt in to a full-year pilot plan if a school is on academic watch status for more than two years. Schools that opt in must increase their school calendar by 35 days, and students must attend a minimum of 215 days. This pilot program affects only schools in state Sen. James Meeks’ district.

Acid Attack (HB 2193/PA 97-0565): Prohibits the possession and carrying of certain caustic substances regulated under the Federal Caustic Poison Act that are required to bear the warning Òcauses severe burns,” and which are capable of causing serious injury. The legislation is a response to several high-profile acid attacks in which the victims were severely disfigured.

Aggravated Battery (SB 2004/PA 97-0313): States that the assault or battery of a process server or special court appointed process server while in the performance of his or her duties is enhanced to an aggravated assault (Class 4 felony) or an aggravated battery (Class 3 felony).

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.

Aldermen Change (SB 1686/PA 97-0146): Streamlines public notice requirements and reduces publication rates for units of local government. Allows any municipality that has a population change that would require an increase or decrease in the number of aldermen to adopt an ordinance or resolution maintaining the current number of aldermen.

Andrea’s Law (HB 263/PA 97-0154): Creates a First Degree Murderer Database for people convicted of first degree murder who have been released from a penal institution or other facility. Places them on the existing Sex Offender Registry or the amended Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registry.

Anti-Epileptic Drug Notification (SB 670/PA 97-0456): Requires pharmacists to provide written notification to a patient when dispensing a prescription in which they have substituted a generic anti-epileptic for a brand name anti-epileptic drug.

Antique Vehicles (HB 3256/PA 97-0412): Creates a new Òexpanded-use” category of antique vehicles (vehicles more than 25 years old). While regular antique vehicles are generally limited to driving to and from car shows when using state highways, the expanded-use vehicles have unrestricted use of the highways from April 1 through Oct. 31. The owner must pay appropriate registration and renewal fees and also pay the $45 per year fee for expanded-use antique vehicle registration.

Background Information Sharing (HB 1240/PA 97-0248): Requires criminal background information on an employee that has been obtained by a school district within the last year to be shared, upon request, with any other school district.

Bilingual Education Reporting (HB 3109/PA 97-0305): Requires the Advisory Council on Bilingual Education to submit a one-time report to the State Superintendent, Governor, and the General Assembly about the regulations controlling bilingual education in Illinois.

Brand Name Prescriptions (SB 2046/PA 97-0426): Authorizes HFS to reimburse the dispensing of a 90-day supply of a brand name drug when it is a cost effective, non-narcotic maintenance medication. This bill will also authorize the 90-day supply for brand name drugs.

Brush Clearing (SB 41/PA 97-0417): Allows a township to authorize without a referendum the use of road funds to finance the collection, transport and disposal of brush and leaves within the unincorporated areas of the township.

Bus Drivers (HB 147/PA 97-0466): States that a non-CDL holder school bus driver will be subject to reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing that’s in conformance with federal regulations, except the results of the tests must be reported in a manner approved by the Secretary of State instead of on federal forms. Aligns the drug testing standard with that of the federal government because the state standards were more rigid than the federal standards creating a significant risk of false positive tests.

Cancer Insurance Coverage (HB 1191/PA 0091): Mandates that routine patient medical care must be provided to patients participating in qualified clinical cancer trials, if the patient’s policy would cover that routine medical care if they were not enrolled in the clinical trial.

Charter Schools (HB 2401/PA 97-0151): Requires that with regards to the five Òre-enrolling drop-out” charter schools and the 15-maximum Òcampuses” 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.

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.

Child Luring (SB 1038/PA 97-0160): Requires all child abductors convicted of child luring to undergo a sex offender evaluation prior to sentencing. Increases the penalty to a Class 2 felony for a second offense when a person has a prior conviction of a sex offense as defined in the Sex Offender Registration Act or any substantially similar federal, Uniform Code of Military Justice, sister state or foreign government offense. Adds language to make it harder for an offender to claim a lawful intent (of trying to lure a minor) if they do not have express permission of a parent.

Child Pornography (HB 3283/PA 97-0157): Enhances the penalty for filming, videotaping or creating a moving image of child pornography, or possessing such items.

Closed Meetings (HB 1277/PA 97-0318): Creates an exemption in the Open Meetings Act to allow public bodies to hold closed meetings with auditors or financial committees, if the meeting was called to discuss suspected or potential fraud, or internal control weaknesses.

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