New IT Laws on Ethics, Teenage Business Owners and More in 2022

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Illinois State Capitol

Capitol News Illinois file photo

With nearly 300 laws coming into effect on New Years Day, Illinois lawmakers have decided to hold themselves to a higher ethical standard, remain the government’s regulatory arm on young entrepreneurs, and consider ways to revive the struggling local journalism industry.

After the traditional spring legislative session continued into late summer, the Democratic-controlled legislature produced 286 pieces of legislation approved by Democratic Governor JB Pritzker.

A dominant measure was a plan to fight ethics after corruption scandals involving both members of the House and Senate, a senator’s confession to tax evasion and the ongoing investigation after the admission by the public service ComEd that it had embarked on a long-standing corruption program. This involved and led to the ousting of longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan, even though he has not been charged and denies any wrongdoing.

Like many efforts before it, the measure has been criticized. It demands additional financial reporting from lawmakers and implements the very first period of “cooling off” before ex-lawmakers can start pressuring their former colleagues, but with great leeway.

It allows the inspector general of legislation to open an investigation without the blessing of a bipartisan panel of lawmakers, but retains the power of subpoena. Inspector General Carol Pope resigned in protest in July, complaining like her two predecessors that the post lacks investigative teeth. And there is no blanket ban on lawmakers lobbying other levels of government, the main driver of the law.

Another law gives young business owners a little leeway. If you’re under 16 and setting up a card table on a hot July day to sell lemonade or other soft drink, you can’t be closed. The measure is named after Hayli Martenez of Kankakee, who clashed with local health officials when, at age 11, she set up a business in 2017 to raise funds for the university.

A former Rockford news anchor, Democratic Senator Steve Stadelman, also got approval from a task force to study the local news industry. Amid declining advertising and broadcast revenues, Stadelman says more than half of newsroom jobs nationwide have evaporated in the past 17 years at a time when demand for information is growing. higher than ever.

Thirteen members of the working group representing broadcast and print media, journalism schools and state and local governments are due to report by January 1, 2023 on ways to preserve media coverage in small and medium communities.

Other laws coming into force on January 1:

– The minimum wage increases to $ 12 an hour, up one dollar from the current rate, to rise to $ 15 an hour by 2025.

– Part of a vast overhaul of criminal justice, spurred by the deaths of George Floyd and others involved in law enforcement, will be implemented. This is the very first statewide certification and decertification process for police officers. It standardizes agent certification to be followed by the Illinois Law Enforcement Standards and Training Council and allows for revocation of agent certification for repeated erroneous or unethical behavior, instead of only when convicted of a crime.

– Illinois schools may not regulate hairstyles historically associated with race and ethnicity, such as dreadlocks, braids, and twists. The new law aims to end discrimination based on student hairstyles and was inspired by Gus “Jett” Hawkins, a black college student who, at the age of 4, was asked to remove his braids because the hairstyle violated the dress code at his private Chicago school.

– Juneteenth, which celebrates June 19, 1865, the day two months after the end of the Civil War when Texas slaves finally learned they were free, will be a paid holiday.

– Married people can request a copy of their marriage certificate with the term “spouse” instead of a gender identification word. Under a different law, when listing their directors, public companies must use the director’s self-identified gender or sexual orientation.

– Insurers that issue group plans will be required to ensure that those they cover have prompt access to treatment for mental or emotional disorders or drug addiction. Another law allows schoolchildren to take up to five absences for mental health reasons without producing a medical certificate.

– Pharmacies must post a notice to customers indicating that they can ask for the retail price of brand-name or generic prescriptions.

– Health care providers will be prohibited from discriminating against a person with a mental or physical disability by deciding that they are not eligible for an organ transplant.

– State agencies and institutions can only purchase Illinois and United States flags made in the United States

– Along a national road, you can no longer catch a fish or other aquatic life with a pitchfork, a harpoon gun, a bow and arrows or a spear.

– The vet will no longer “sterilize” or “sterilize” your cat or dog, but regardless of gender, they will “sterilize” your fluffy friend, in the language of the Animal Control Act.

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