What you need to know about new Illinois laws taking effect in 2023
New laws signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker are set to impact education, public safety, agriculture and labor
While much of the recent political spotlight in Illinois concentrated on the state’s gubernatorial election and the passage of Amendment 1, over 180 new laws passed by the General Assembly are set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. Ten days later, the 103rd General Assembly, most recently elected this past cycle, will be inaugurated.
Several laws are anticipated to have potentially far-reaching consequences on Illinois’ existing policies on education, public safety, agriculture and labor.
A hot-button topic in the 2022 election cycle, provisions of the SAFE-T Act taking effect in 2023 will replace the state’s current cash-bail system with a pretrial release framework intended to eliminate inequality for defendants who can’t afford to post bail.
Under the new system, judges have a heightened discretion to release or detain defendants awaiting trial based on their threat to public safety or likelihood to flee or obstruct justice.
The bill also requires increased training for police officers and phases in a mandate that all police departments use body cameras by 2025. It loosens the requirements for complaints against officers and would end so-called “prison gerrymandering” by counting prisoners as living in their last known residence for the purposes of legislative redistricting.
Trauma-informed school boards
Senate Bill 2109, filed by Illinois state Sen. Karina Villa, D-West Chicago, and signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Aug. 27, 2021, mandates school board members to receive training on “trauma-informed practices.”
Practices include “the prevalence of trauma among students, including the prevalence of trauma among student populations,” and “the effects of implicit or explicit bias on recognizing trauma among various students in connection with race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation,” among other things.
Such training may be provided by an association established under the Illinois School Code and the State Board of Education has the power to adopt rules with respect to administering this law.
Changes to employee sick leave
Senate Bill 0645, filed by state Sen. Michael E. Hastings, D-Frankfort, modifies the Employee Sick Leave Act by mandating rights afforded under the act are the minimum standard in any negotiated collective bargaining agreement.
The Employee Sick Leave Act required that any sick leave granted to employees is usable by that employee for sickness of a family member, but left room for negotiation in any collective bargaining agreement. The bill’s changes will be a minimum standard in collective bargaining agreements that could not be reduced in negotiation.
Interestingly, this would be a diminishment of collective bargaining rights which Amendment 1, granting employees the exercise of their “fundamental right to collectively bargain,” purports to protect.
Gas tax hikes
Gas prices nationwide are going down, but the state gas tax in Illinois is scheduled for two increases in 2023. First, a predicted 3-cent hike Jan. 1 will take Illinois’ gas tax to 42.4 cents a gallon. Then another hike on July 1 will leave Illinoisans with an estimated 44.3 cents a gallon tax.
Illinois’ gas tax was 19 cents before Gov. J.B. Pritzker doubled it in 2019 and built in automatic annual hikes every July 1. The extra hike in 2023 is because he delayed the 2022 increase until after the election.