New Laws, Real ID, Pheasant Hunting, and More

New laws you should know about

More than 300 new state laws went into effect this week. They cover a wide variety of issues including gun registration rules, minimum wage, and new protections against fentanyl overdose, just to name a few.

Despite ongoing legal challenges to the Illinois Democrats’ new gun ban and registration law, the law’s January 1 deadline remained in place for gun owners to register firearms and ammunition they currently own that are listed under the law. The Illinois State Police has been tasked with creating rules for the registration process and have provided registration information here.

Illinois’ minimum wage also increased on January 1. With the new year, it automatically increased to $14.00 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped employees has risen from $7.80/hour to $8.40/hour. These increases are mandated by a schedule enacted within the Illinois Minimum Wage Law.

Other new laws you should know about include:

  • Drivers are now prohibited from video conferencing while behind the wheel (HB 2431).
  • Electronic cigarettes and vapes are prohibited in public places and near building entrances (HB 1540).
  • Utility companies cannot cut off electric or gas service to residential customers when the temperature reaches 90 degrees (HB 1541).
  • Paid Leave: allows workers to earn up to 40 hours of paid leave in a 12-month period. Workers will accrue one hour of leave for every 40 hours worked (SB 208).
  • All new single and multi-family homes must include electric vehicle-capable parking, including the electric panel capacity and conduit needed for charging (SB 40).
  • Children testifying in abuse cases do not have to confront their abusers in open court (HB 2607).
  • Pharmacies and retail stores are now permitted to sell fentanyl test strips over the counter (HB3203), and schools are required to have an opioid antagonist in secure locations where an opioid overdose may occur (HB 3428). 

Some of these are very worthy changes, but it’s disappointing that with hundreds of new laws passed there were so many necessary fixes left on the table…most notably, serious changes we need to make to the Democrats’ disastrous Safe-T-Act. Our Truth in Public Safety Task Force held hearings throughout the state, and we filed two dozen bills to help restore public safety in our communities, and to support our police. Not one of the bills was allowed to even be debated in a House committee. In 2024 we must make crime illegal again in Illinois.

Real ID

The deadline for Illinoisans to make the switch to “Real ID” has changed multiple times.  Current Illinois driver’s licenses or ID cards will continue to be accepted at airports, military bases and secure federal facilities until May 7, 2025. You can read more information at this link.

Grant availability alert!

Grant applications are being accepted through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to help with local infrastructure and housing improvements.

For more information and to apply for the Public Infrastructure Grant, click here. For further information and to apply for the Housing Rehabilitation Grant, click here.

Both applications are due January 18, 2024.

IDNR extends the season for controlled pheasant hunting

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is extending the controlled pheasant hunting program for the 2023-2024 season. Some sites will be extended by one to two weeks in different areas of the state. Hunters should check the permit calendar on the controlled pheasant hunting website for permit availability. Sites with extended opportunities include:

  • Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area, Will County
  • Silver Springs State Park, Kendall County
  • Iroquois County State Fish and Wildlife Area
  • Kankakee River State Park, Kankakee County
  • Moraine View State Park, McLean County
  • Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area, Cass County
  • Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park (Rend Lake), Franklin County
  • Eldon Hazlet State Park (Carlyle Lake), Clinton County

Pheasant hunters will need to acquire a Reserved Controlled Pheasant Hunting Permit to hunt on controlled pheasant hunting sites. Permits can be acquired through the online reservation system.

Around the district

Betsy and I spent the afternoon at the 92nd Annual Pontiac Holiday Tournament with our good friend Tom Corcoran. Had a fun afternoon watching some great teams play!!

High School Leadership Opportunity- Are you a sophomore, junior, or senior high school student living in a home served by Corn Belt Energy? How does an all-expense-paid leadership opportunity experience sound?

More information and application are available here:

Happy New Year to one and all! May 2024 be our Best Year Yet!