20 in '20: A look at some of Illinois' new laws

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(WIFR) -- More than 200 new laws will take effect in Illinois as the new year arrives.

With the new year 2020 in full swing, we break down 20 of the more prominent laws for a closer look:

1. Recreational Marijuana Legalized (HB 1438)

Adults who are at least 21 years old can now legally buy and possess recreational marijuana. The law specifies that cannabis products may not be transported over state lines. But local communities can decide how cannabis-related businesses best fit.

2. Minimum Wage Increase (SB 1)

Illinois' minimum wage increases to $9.25 an hour in 2020. The increase comes as part of a multi-year plan to gradually increase Illinois' to $15 an hour by 2025. By July 1, 2020, another $0.75 increase will take effect and raise the state's minimum wage to $10 an hour.

3. Increased Penalties For Scott's Law Violations (SB 1862)

In 2020, the minimum fine for violating Scott’s Law will increase from $100 to $250 for the first violation, and $750 for the second violation. Offenders can be charged with a felony for a violation that causes injury or death. There will also be at least one question about Scott’s Law on the Illinois Secretary of State's written driving test.

4. Increased Fines For Passing School Bus (HB 1873)

Drivers who pass a stopped school bus with its stop arm out will face stiffer penalties if caught. First-time offenders now face a fine of $300, as opposed to $150. Repeat offenders will face a $1,000 fine, as opposed to $500, for a second or subsequent offense.

5. Cannabis Treatment in Schools (SB 455)

School nurses and administrators can now provide medical cannabis to students who are registered patients of the state's Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. The law requires school nurses and administrators to annually complete training, in addition to parent authorization.

6. Teaching Consent in Schools (HB 3550)

Illinois schools are required to offer a clear and comprehensive definition of consent when teaching sex education. The new law amends Illinois' sex education curriculum for middle school and high school students by including "an age-appropriate discussion" on consent.

7. Single-Occupancy Restrooms (SB 556)

A new bill would require single-occupancy restrooms in Illinois to be considered "gender neutral." Single-occupancy restrooms in public places are required to follow the law and not designate a specific gender.

8. Dog and Cat Kennel Safety (HB 3390)

All dog and cat kennels are required to be equipped with a fire sprinkler or alarm system if the kennel is not staffed at all times. This applies for animals housed by kennel operators and all systems should be designed to notify local emergency responders when activated.

9. Combatting Sexual Harassment (SB 75)

The Workplace Transparency Act takes effect, prohibiting any contract or agreement from restricting an employee from reporting allegations of unlawful conduct for investigation. The Illinois Department of Human Rights is also required to create a sexual harassment prevention training program for employers.

10. Schools Teach Illinois History (SB 1601)

Illinois schools must include lessons on the history of the state in their history curriculum. Supporters say the law is a major step to help students learn about Illinois and improve their home state.

11. Voting Rights For Inmates (SB 2090/HB 2541)

Local election authorities can coordinate votes by mail opportunities for pre-trial detainees in county jail. Illinois prisons must also provide educational workshops at adult and juvenile prison facilities on voting rights and civics to outgoing prisoners.

12. Increased Fines For Hitting Construction Worker (SB 1496)

The maximum penalty for hitting a worker in a construction zone increases from $10,000 to $25,000. It applies for drivers who fail to reduce speed and make a lane change when possible when approaching a construction zone.

13. Gender Identification On State ID (HB 3534)

The Illinois Secretary of State will allow applicants for a driver’s license or state identification card to choose from “male,” “female” or “non-binary” when designating gender.

14. Diaper Changing Stations In Public Places (HB 3711)

With a few exceptions, most public places are ordered to have at least one “safe, sanitary, convenient, and publicly accessible” baby diaper changing station accessible to men and women in restrooms. The venues must have signage at or near the entrance of the restroom indicating the location of the diaper-changing station.

15. Penalties For Streaming Videos While Driving (SB 86)

A new law prohibits drivers from watching videos or movies on their phone while driving. Under the new law, drivers could be fined anywhere from $75 to $150 if caught.

16. DCFS Reforms (HB 1551)

Illinois DCFS is required to follow several new guidelines when a child is returned to the custody of a parent or guardian. Among the reforms, DCFS must provide a minimum of six months of aftercare services once the child returns home and complete a checklist within the 24 hours before a child is discharged from foster care.

17. Higher Education Funds (HB 2237)

Illinois will deposit $50 into a college savings account for every child born or adopted in Illinois after Dec. 31, 2020. The funds are meant to encourage families to save money and use it for higher education expenses later in the child's life, like tuition, fees, books.

18. Insurance Coverage For EpiPen Treatment (HB 3435)

A new law requires insurance companies to cover epinephrine injectors for children in need due to severe allergies. EpiPens, which typically have a shelf life of a year, can cost a family up to $700 without insurance.

19. Public University Admission Pilot Program (HB 26)

Starting in 2020, Illinois high school students in the top 10% of their class are guaranteed acceptance into NIU, EIU, SIU and WIU, assuming they meet other admission requirements.

20. Expanded Information Of Pregnancy Rights (HB 2)

A new law outlines 21 specific rights of women in regards to pregnancy and childbirth. It includes rights to receive health care consistent with medical standards, the right to choose a midwife or physician and the right to receive information on her condition and treatment.