New Year Comes With New Laws

State Representative Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa) is highlighting some of the new laws taking effect on January 1st and warning motorists about the coming state gas tax increase.

“As with every new year we have a wide range of laws that will be in place with the new year; laws ranging from huge consequential legislation that will affect almost everyone to the mundane, like designating Dolostone the State Rock,” Rep. Weber said.

Most notably, Illinois will become the first state in the nation to completely ban cash bail. Instead the state will allow judges to determine whether individuals accused of a specific set of felonies and violent misdemeanors pose a risk to another individual, to the community at large, or are a flight risk. Those individuals may then be detained in jail while awaiting trial. The Illinois General Assembly recently expanded the list of felonies and misdemeanors that allow for detention. (NOTE: The implementation of no cash bail has been put on pause by the court system. The Illinois Supreme Court will likely hear the case against it in spring.)

Other new laws taking effect include the hiring of reentry specialists at Department of Corrections facilities, a ban on latex glove use by food service employees and EMS personnel, a ban on employers discriminating against traits historically associated with race (including hairstyles), and a Task Force on Missing and Murdered Chicago Women. Illinois will also attempt to address the increase in carjackings with new laws like not holding victims liable for violations, fees, or other penalties. Illinois is one of the top 5 states for vehicular crime.

Several new laws will impact school children, including giving them one excused absence a year to partake in “civic engagement” and new career exploration activities. The Student Confidential Reporting Act will also take effect and will establish a program where officials from schools, the state, and Illinois State Police can receive reports and other information regarding the potential harm or self-harm of students or school employees. This Safe2Help helpline will involve a toll-free telephone number and other means of communication allowing messages.

In addition, Rep. Weber is reminding motorists that the state fuel tax will increase by 3.1 cents a gallon come January 1st. The total state gas tax will increase to 42.3 cents per gallon, the second highest in the U.S. “Unfortunately, we’re going to see two gas tax increases in 2023, one in the new year when the six-month pause ends and then again in the middle of the summer with the fiscal new year,” Rep. Weber said. “Governor Pritzker called this pause, ‘inflation assistance’, but instead motorists are just going to be left with twice as much sticker shock.”

Click here for the full list of new laws.