Nearly 200 New Illinois Laws To Take Effect In January 2017

CHICAGO (AP) — Nearly 200 new Illinois laws will take effect in the new year, including first-in-the nation rules requiring hairstylists to undergo training to help domestic violence victims and others making it easier for juvenile offenders to get a fresh start.

The 192 laws taking effect Jan. 1 cover many topics, including health, law enforcement and youth. There’s even one for state history buffs.

Here’s a sampling:

DOMESTIC ABUSE

Illinois is believed to be the first state to require hairstylists to undergo training to help them spot signs of domestic or sexual abuse. Backers say barbers, aestheticians, cosmetologists and nail technicians already have the trust of their clients and are privy to personal information. The law was a next step to equip them to offer help.

New rules will apply to law enforcement when it comes to abuse: Police officers will have to complete written reports of every sexual assault complaint.

Illinois will expand job protections for victims of domestic or sexual violence, requiring small companies to allow victims four weeks of unpaid leave a year.

WORKERS

Illinois is the first Midwest state to grant legal protections to housekeepers, nannies and in-home caregivers, joining six coastal states that have already adopted such protections for the mostly female and largely immigrant workforce. Illinois’ law extends sexual harassment protections to such workers and requires they be paid at least the minimum wage and get at least one day off per seven-day workweek.

Another law says employees allowed sick leave for injuries or doctor appointments can take leave for the illness or appointment of a family member.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

Illinois jails must accept cash to post bail under a law inspired by a Rockford-area resident whose teenage son was arrested for a traffic offense. Since the credit card machine wasn’t working that day, the father couldn’t pay and the teen had to spend the weekend in jail. Supporters believe the measure will cut incarceration costs.

The state will also extend the statute of limitations from two years to five years for people to file wrongful death lawsuits and will increase fines for public bodies, including police departments, that don’t comply with court orders to release information. The plans are dubbed “Molly’s Law,” after Molly Young, a Carbondale woman who was found shot to death in 2012 in her ex-boyfriend’s apartment. A special prosecutor couldn’t determine whether Young’s death was an accident, suicide or homicide. Her father fought for public records, but it took so long he couldn’t take civil action.

JUVENILES

Police can no longer interrogate anyone younger than 15 without an attorney present when investigating serious crimes. The age was previously 13.

Also, people charged or arrested for an incident occurring before their 18th birthday can petition the court to expunge the records. The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission pushed for the changes, saying mistakes made as a youth can limit access to employment, housing and education.

State agencies must keep paperwork up to date on juveniles, including requiring the Department of Juvenile Justice to file a report within ten days of any “critical incident,” such as a suicide attempt.

HEALTH

Illinois will eliminate the so-called “tampon tax,” which proponents say is a matter of gender equity. Illinois became the third state over the summer to approve a law repealing taxes on feminine hygiene products. Several others are considering similar measures.

Insurance companies must provide coverage for nearly all forms of contraception approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which the law had limited to fewer options.

Two laws focus on the state’s ongoing efforts to fight opioid addiction. One allows drug court participants to use medication, like methadone, for treatment. Another requires state-licensed treatment programs to provide education information about medication-based treatments and the use of anti-overdose drugs.

OFFICIAL ARTIFACT

The new state artifact will be a long canoe once used by Native Americans, including the Illini. It’s called a “pirogue” and state Rep. Laura Fine, a suburban Democrat, credited a middle-school history project as the impetus.

The legislation created momentary confusion, with some mistaking the vessel pronounced PEE’roag with “pierogi,” a Polish dumpling particularly well-known around Chicago.

Fine says the designation is a way to reflect the importance of the state’s waterways and recognize Illinois’ namesake tribe.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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