New Illinois Laws to Know for 2019

Over 200 new laws have already taken effect for 2019 in Illinois.

Below are a few that could impact you on a day to day basis.

  1. Employee Expense Reimbursement

In case you missed it from a previous newsletter, Illinois now requires that all employers reimburse their employees for personal phones or computers that are required for work. This reimbursement policy includes any other expenses that the employer authorized or required, however employers are not liable for any losses due to the employee’s negligence.

  1. Government Severance Pay Act

In an attempt to limit large severance packages for government employees, Illinois law now caps severance packages for government workers to up to 20 weeks of that employee’s compensation. The law also prohibits any severance packages for employees that have been terminated for misconduct. This law includes any officer, agent, employee or contractor.

  1. Employer Sexual Harassment Protection

All companies doing business in Illinois must have a sexual harassment policy to protect its workers in accordance with the provisions of the Illinois Human Rights Act. In addition, any company that chooses to apply for EDGE tax credits must include a sexual harassment policy report that provides a written copy of the contents and requirements of its sexual harassment policies.

  1. Ban on Synthetic Marijuana

Illinois has broadened the ban on synthetic marijuana, making all synthetic cannabis illegal. The law amends the Illinois Controlled Substances Act and expands the existing list of each specified drug that is considered a Schedule I controlled substance. Any drug that is not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration is considered “synthetic” and is illegal.

  1. 72-Hour Waiting Period for Firearms

Illinois now requires a 72-hour waiting period for all firearms. In addition, the new law removes an exemption that once allowed a non-Illinois resident to purchase a firearm at a recognized gun show without waiting 72-hours. A violation of this law is a Class 4 felony.

  1. Firearms Restraining Order

This “red flag law” allows a relative of a gun owner to petition to the court to grant a restraining order when the gunowner appears to be a danger to themselves or others. The court can remove the gunowner’s firearm and suspend the individual’s firearm license between 14 days and six months. It also allows the court to issue a search warrant to seize other weapons from the individual’s possession.

  1. Urban Agriculture Zones

Illinois lawmakers established urban agriculture zones that are meant to break up food deserts in Chicago. Local governments will now be able to provide incentives in urban agriculture zones including reduced water rates, property taxes and utility fees.

  1. Toddler Safety

All children under the age of two must be properly secured in a rear-facing car seat while the vehicle is operated.

  1. School Safety

All Illinois schools must conduct at least one “active shooter” safety drill per year led by local law enforcement.

  1. Social Media Protection

Companies, places of worship, and schools can now seek restraining orders against individuals that send unwanted messages through social media apps.

  1. Semi-Truck Safety

As also mentioned in a previous newsletter, all truck tractors, semitrailers or property-carrying vehicles that weigh 10,000 to 26,000 pounds are to be safety tested every 12 months.

  1. New Mothers

Nursing mothers can exclude themselves from jury duty upon request to remain home and care for their child.

  1. Pets in Need

Police can now temporarily take custody of dogs and cats that are exposed to weather conditions that are likely to result in injury or death to the pet.

For more information on any of these new laws, or how they may affect your business, contact your attorney at Rock Fusco & Connelly.

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