New year, new laws

Changes for gun purchases, school safety drills, mental illness training a few

SPRINGFIELD — As the new year ushers in there will be 253 new Illinois state laws going into effect.

The laws’ topics span anywhere from agriculture, animals and hunting to veteran and military affairs. Some of the new legislation include: 

 A 72-hour waiting period on all gun purchases

 Rear-facing car seat for all children under the age of two (weight of more than 40 pounds or taller than 40 inches is exempted)

Law enforcement officers can rescue pets from extreme heat or cold after attempting to make contact with the owner

Hunters may wear blaze pink during firearm deer season and upland game season

Nursing mothers are exempt from jury service

All schools will be required to conduct an active shooter/threat safety drills within 90 days of the start of the school year

An amendment to the election code now replaces gender specific terms with gender neutral terms (“chairman” to “chair” or “councilman” to “councilperson”)

Prescriptions, other than controlled substances, will now be valid for up to 15 months from issue date

The sale of ivory is banned (certain exemptions apply based on age of items)

Government employees’ severance is now limited to pay structure, preventing “golden parachutes”

December 3 is now designated as Illinois Statehood Day.

Other notable new laws

Mental illness training:  HB 4658 states licensed school personnel and administrators who work with students in Kindergarten through 12th grade have to be trained once every two years to identify the warning signs of mental illness and suicide behavior in youth. This includes knowing appropriate intervention and referral techniques.

Reckless dog owner penalties: SB 2386 sets penalties for those found to be reckless dog owners and allows courts to confiscate dogs from those owners for periods ranging from 12 to 36 months for the first violation. “Reckless dog owner” determination is made if owner’s dog is deemed dangerous for killing another dog and is found running at large twice within 12 months of being deemed dangerous.

Health care violence prevention:  HB 4100 requires all licensed health care facilities to establish violence prevention programs to prevent violence against medical staff. 

Education for doctors prescribing opioids:  SB 2777 requires licensed prescribers of controlled substances to complete continuing education on safe opioid-prescribing practices prior to renewal. 

Out-of-state vehicle liability insurance:  HB 4472 requires a person operating a vehicle that is registered in another state on Illinois highways must be covered by a liability insurance policy. The operator must also carry evidence of insurance in the vehicle.

Labor laws

The Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) will enforce these new laws effective Jan. 1, 2019.

Employee expense reimbursement:  SB 2999 clarifies that employers shall reimburse employees for expenses the employer authorized or required the employee to incur. This mandate also provides that employers are not responsible for losses due to an employee’s own negligence, losses due to normal wear, or losses due to theft unless the theft was a result of the employer’s negligence.

Carnival background check:  SB 3240 amends the amusement ride and attraction safety act to increase penalties and allow for revocation of a permit if the employer fails to conduct a criminal background check on employees. Fines are raise for violations from $1,000 to $5,000 for a first offense; a fine is not to exceed $10,000 for a second office and revocation of permit for three or more violations of the background check law.

A full list of new laws is available at or 


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