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More than 300 new laws take effect in Illinois on Jan. 1. Here are a few of the biggest changes

Gov. JB Pritzker is shown here earlier this year in a Capitol News Illinois file photo. The governor signed more than 300 bills that become law on Jan. 1.
File Photo
Capitol News Illinois
Gov. JB Pritzker is shown here earlier this year in a Capitol News Illinois file photo. The governor signed more than 300 bills that become law on Jan. 1.

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Minimum wage workers in Illinoiswill 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 $1 to $12 an hour.

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 theIllinois Affordable Housing Trust Fundmay 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. J.B. Pritzker signed it into law Aug. 6.

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.

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.

SB1682 requires pharmacies to post a notice informing consumers that they may request current pharmacy retail prices at the point of sale.

HB562 enacts several changes to theFirearm 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.

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.

HB605 requires state agencies and institutions to purchase Illinois and American flags that are made in the United States.

SB817 prohibits discrimination in schools against individuals on the grounds of wearing natural or ethnic hairstyles, which include dreadlocks, braids, twists and afros.

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.

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.

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.

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Peter Hancock joined the Capitol News Illinois team as a reporter in January 2019. Email: phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com
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