A fast-food restaurant worker affixes a Fight for $15 sign to a window at a McDonald’s in the city. --Photo courtesy of FightFor15.org

A fast-food restaurant worker affixes a Fight for $15 sign to a window at a McDonald’s in the city. --Photo courtesy of FightFor15.org

New laws taking effect

Statewide jump in minimum wage ‘just a start’

By Bob Bong and Peter Hancock
Capitol News Illinois

Minimum-wage workers across Illinois will see a boost in their hourly pay to $12 per hour starting Jan. 1, while tenants in affordable housing units will be allowed to keep pets.

Those are just some of the more than 300 new laws that take effect in the new year.

The minimum wage increase is actually the result of a 2019 law that phases in a state minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. This year, it will increase by one dollar to $12 an hour.

GSWNH FightFor15Sign 123121

A fast-food restaurant worker affixes a Fight for $15 sign to a window at a McDonald’s in the city. –Photo courtesy of FightFor15.org

Last July, the minimum wage in Chicago increased to $15 per hour for employers with more than 20 employees and to $14 per hour for employers with 4 to 20 employees. The minimum wage for employers in suburban Cook County remains $13 per hour.

Nonetheless, leaders of the Fight for $15/Chicago labor advocacy organization said this week that a rising minimum wage is “just a start” and that they continue to press for higher wages, improved working conditions and employee unionization at worksites across the metro area, especially at fast-food restaurants.

The law allowing public housing tenants to keep pets is the result of Senate Bill 154, by Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) and Rep. Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego). It provides that tenants of multifamily housing units that are acquired, built or renovated with money from the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund may keep up to two cats or one dog weighing less than 50 pounds.

It applies to residents of housing units that are designated as affordable housing for low- and very-low-income families. The bill passed both chambers in its final form on May 30 and Gov. JB Pritzker signed it into law Aug. 6.

Other new laws include:

  • Vehicle taxes: SB58 raises the private vehicle tax, which is a sales tax paid on the purchase of vehicles, by $75 for each model year where the purchase price is less than $15,000 and by $100 for vehicles priced above that amount. However, the registration fee for trailers weighing less than 3,000 pounds will drop to $36 instead of $118.
  • College admissions: HB226, establishing the Higher Education Fair Admissions Act, prohibits public colleges and universities from requiring applicants to submit SAT, ACT or other standardized test scores as part of the admissions process, although prospective students may choose to submit them if they wish.
  • Drug prices: SB1682 requires pharmacies to post a notice informing consumers that they may request current pharmacy retail prices at the point of sale.
  • FOID card changes: HB562 enacts several changes to the Firearm Owner Identification card law. Among other things, it provides for a streamlined renewal process for FOID cards and Concealed Carry Licenses for people who voluntarily submit fingerprint records. It also allows the Illinois State Police to issue a combined FOID card and Concealed Carry License to qualified applicants, and it establishes a new Violent Crime Intelligence Task Force to take enforcement action against people with revoked FOID cards.
  • Student mental health: HB576 and SB1577 allow students in Illinois up to five excused absences to attend to their mental or behavioral health without providing a medical note. Those students will be given an opportunity to make up any work they missed during the first absence and, after using a second mental health day, may be referred to the appropriate school support personnel.
  • Official flags: HB605 requires state agencies and institutions to purchase Illinois and American flags that are made in the United States.
  • Hair styles: SB817 prohibits discrimination in schools against individuals on the grounds of wearing natural or ethnic hairstyles, which include dreadlocks, braids, twists and afros.
  • Lemonade stands: SB119 prohibits public health authorities from regulating or shutting down lemonade stands or similar operations that are operated by children under the age of 16. Known as “Hayli’s Law,” it was inspired by 12-year-old Hayli Martinez, whose lemonade stand in Kankakee was shut down by local officials.
  • Juneteenth: HB3922 recognizes June 19, or “Juneteenth,” as an official state holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. In June, President Joe Biden also signed a bill designating Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
  • Animal abuse:HB168prohibits people who have a record of felony offense like torture or animal fighting cannot own or live with animals.
  • Deceased termination fees: HB122. Families have enough to worry about when a loved one passes. Illinois is ending early termination fees on utility contracts for deceased residents.
  • Trailer registration: SB58lowers the registration fee for trailers weighing less than 3,000 lbs. from $118 to $36.
  • Test scores: HB226.To increase enrollment among Illinois students, Illinois public universities will make admissions decisions regardless of students’ ACT/SAT scores. Students can now choose whether to submit a standardized test score when applying to Illinois public institutions.
  • Speech and debate: SB2534allows for students to take one year of forensic speech and debate in high school as a replacement for music, art or foreign language classes that are currently required.

Tim Hadac contributed to this story.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Local News

Runners get off to a fast start at the Orland Park Turkey Trot, where a record 1,000 runners signed up. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Orland Park man wins Turkey Trot; St. Laurence runner takes women’s title

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The number 19 meant good things on Thanksgiving morning. The top two finishers in the 34th running of the Orland Park Turkey Trot had “19” as part of the number on their bibs. Brandon Lukas, 25, of Orland Park, wore No. 7519 and took first place with a time of…

The varsity Orland Park Pioneers team had a huge 2022 season. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: Orland Park Pioneers honored; local hoops teams win Thanksgiving tourney titles

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Two youth football teams teams were honored by the Orland Park Village Board for winning Super Bowl championships in their respective divisions. The Orland Park Pioneers’ varsity and super lightweight players received awards and recognition Nov. 21 from the board and Mayor Keith Pekau, who has the distinction of playing…

cook county helicopter

Cook County Board approve Aguilar’s proposal for a sheriff’s helicopter

The Cook County Board of Commissioners voted overwhelmingly last week to approve Commissioner Frank J. Aguilar’s proposal to lease a helicopter to the Cook County Sheriff’s office. While Cook County is among the largest metropolitan areas in the nation, its helicopter fleet lags far behind other large urban areas. The Los Angeles metropolitan area has…

Nazareth players celebrate winning the fourth football championship in the school's history on Nov. 26 in Champaign. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Football Class 5A State Championship: Roadrunners win shootout for fourth state title

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Nazareth opened the season in August with a 2-0 win over Kankakee. It closed the season the afternoon of Nov. 26 with a 45-44 win over Peoria at Memorial Stadium in Champaign to take the IHSA Class 5A state championship. In between was a rollercoaster of wins and losses and…

Brookfield Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs—Skinner (left) and Moses—were treated to an early Thanksgiving feast that featured all the trimmings. This annual tradition, now in its ninth year, takes place the day before the holiday. (Photo by Jim Schulz/Brookfield Zoo)

Ring-tailed Lemurs at Brookfield Zoo enjoy 9th annual Thanksgiving feast

The annual tradition of Brookfield Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs receiving an early Thanksgiving feast took place today, November 23. Now, in its ninth year, the animal care staff prepared the meal for the primates that featured all the trimmings laid out on a fall-themed table setting. This year, the menu for the lemurs—15-year-old Moses and 12-year-old…

Mary Stanek

‘Blue Mass’ coming to St. Nick’s

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Happy shopping everyone. ‘Tis the season. I will be heading over the morning of Dec. 4 for 10:30 a.m. Mass, a “Blue Mass” at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church, 3721 W. 62nd St. The Mass is in…

Kathy Headley

Getting kids involved in the community

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Last week, the Southwest Organizing Project held its first in-person Action Council meeting since the start of the pandemic. This one was geared toward the youth of the area, and it was very well attended. The purpose of…

Peggy Zabicki

Food truly brings people together

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 As we enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers, we look forward to Christmas. The holidays mean different things to different people, but it seems everyone celebrates with special holiday foods. Food does bring us all together. Christmas means, among other things, Christmas cookies. I got…

mount carmel logo

Strong second half lifts Mount Carmel over St. Rita for trip to 7A title game

By Steve Millar Correspondent After the Mount Carmel offense was shut out in the first half by St. Rita in the teams’ IHSA Class 7A semifinal, Caravan coach Jordan Lynch remained confident his offense would get going on a cold, windy night. “It was just a matter of time,” Lynch said. “Penalties were killing us,…

Nazareth coach Tim Racki is taking his sixth team to a state championship football game at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Photo by Jeff Vorva.

Area Sports Report: Nazareth finishes run to Class 5A state title game

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Nazareth has played in five state championship football games. But the Roadrunners never took a road this bumpy to get there. After opening the season 1-3 and at one point being 2-4, they had to run the table just to make it to the playoffs. Mission accomplished. They beat Leo,…

Neighbors

Nael Digital Ad2
Flagpole removed from Old State Capitol

Flagpole removed from Old State Capitol

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – People walking through downtown Springfield on Monday morning looked up to an unusual sight – a helicopter hovering over the Old State Capitol, dropping a rope and lifting away the flagpole that sat atop the bronze-colored dome. “We took off the flagpole of at the Old…

Welch, poised for another term as speaker, reflects on growing House majority

Welch, poised for another term as speaker, reflects on growing House majority

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, who recently announced he has the support for another term as House speaker, says he looks forward to governing with an even larger supermajority than he had during his first two years. “Expanding our caucus was definitely a priority of…

Curran eyes ‘balance’ as he prepares to lead Illinois Senate’s GOP minority

Curran eyes ‘balance’ as he prepares to lead Illinois Senate’s GOP minority

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Senate Minority Leader-elect John Curran will take over a caucus that’s more than doubled in size by the majority-party Democrats. His goal: “Bring balance to state government.” “Because we’re going to produce better results with that balance for working families throughout all Illinois communities,” Curran said…

CAPITOL RECAP: Statehouse Republicans choose new leadership

CAPITOL RECAP: Statehouse Republicans choose new leadership

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Republicans chose new leadership for their caucuses in the Illinois General Assembly on Tuesday night, Nov. 15, while the two Democratic leaders have each announced they have the votes to maintain their positions. House Republicans elected Tony McCombie of Savanna and Senate Republicans chose John Curran of Downers Grove.…

With three session days left, SAFE-T Act changes could be forthcoming, ‘technical’ in nature

With three session days left, SAFE-T Act changes could be forthcoming, ‘technical’ in nature

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Changes may yet come to the SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform before its Jan. 1 effective date, but some of its major proponents in the General Assembly said the results of the Nov. 8 general election have signified that the ship has sailed drastic amendments to…

McCombie to take reins of House GOP caucus

McCombie to take reins of House GOP caucus

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Tony McCombie said Wednesday that her top priority when she becomes the next House minority leader will be to rebuild the GOP caucus following last week’s elections that were, for Republicans, a disappointment. “The top priority is to bring balance to the Republican Party,”…

GOP chooses new leadership in General Assembly as Dems retain control

GOP chooses new leadership in General Assembly as Dems retain control

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Republicans chose new leadership for their caucuses in the Illinois General Assembly on Tuesday night, while the two Democratic leaders have each announced they have the votes to maintain their positions. House Republicans elected Tony McCombie of Savanna and Senate Republicans chose John Curran of Downers…

Right to unionize amendment projected to pass

Right to unionize amendment projected to pass

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Illinois voters have approved a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing workers the right to organize and engage in collective bargaining. Estimates compiled by multiple media outlets projected Tuesday that the ballot measure had support on an estimated 53 percent of the total ballots cast in the election,…

Theis, sworn in as chief justice, says partisanship has no role on state Supreme Court

Theis, sworn in as chief justice, says partisanship has no role on state Supreme Court

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Mary Jane Theis was sworn in as chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court on Monday in a public ceremony, becoming the fourth woman to hold the gavel since the court was created in 1818. By next month, the Democrat will find herself presiding over a…

CAPITOL RECAP: Democrats maintain control in Illinois

CAPITOL RECAP: Democrats maintain control in Illinois

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – As votes continued to be tallied this week, returns showed Illinois Democrats would hold every statewide elected office and maintain supermajorities in the General Assembly while extending their majority on the Illinois Supreme Court. After a fiery election night speech in which Gov. JB Pritzker excoriated the Republican Party…

CRR NH Reliable Waterproofing House Ad
Regional Palos Gaidas Funeral Home House Ad