Illinois News

New laws take effect in 2017

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Dec. 26, 2016 11:10 am

QUINCY -- Doug VanderMaiden is surprised there won't be more changes for Illinois law enforcement in 2017.

Typically, the Quincy deputy police chief noted, there are several annual changes to the state's traffic laws.

"It seems like there are fewer changes that affect traffic," VanderMaiden said. "I don't think I've seen any of those."

VanderMaiden said one of the most-sweeping recent changes for law enforcement agencies has already happened -- the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana. The change took effect immediately after the measure was signed into law earlier this year. The law allows fines of $100 to $200 for those caught with up to 10 grams marijuana, instead of class B misdemeanor charges, which can carry a sentence of up to six months in jail.

Law enforcement agencies also will have to make some changes to the investigation of sexual assaults, including required training.

VanderMaiden said the law mandates agencies to take reports on sexual assault that weren't required before.

"If someone is reporting a sexual assault that happened in California, we're required to take that report and send it off to that jurisdiction," he said. "(Before) we would contact (the other jurisdiction) and have them contact (the victim)."

The department will also be required to take a report from a third party.

Adams County Sheriff Brian VonderHaar said his department has monitored those changes the most.

"We started looking at that a couple months ago," VonderHaar said. "That is probably the biggest thing for us."

Agencies also will have to make changes to how they deal with juveniles.

State law will require minors under the age of 15 charged with murder or sexual assault to be represented by counsel throughout interrogation. There also will be certain cases where interviews need to be video taped.

Another law will require police officers be given the first opportunity to adopt their police dogs to allow the dogs to remain with the officer's family.

VonderHaar believes the department has only had one K-9 that lived long enough to retire, and the deputy who served with it adopted it.

"I think that is the absolute best solution in the world," he said.

VanderMaiden said when a police dog is retired in Quincy, it is offered to the K-9 officer.

The state now requires law enforcement agencies to accept cash to post bail. The law was enacted after a credit card machine led to a county detaining a man over a weekend for a minor offense.

Both VonderHaar and VanderMaiden said both departments take cash for bail.

Some of the more than 200 laws that take effect Jan. 1:

º Women's health products such as tampons and pads will not be charged the same sales tax as shampoo.

º Cosmetologists, estheticians, nail technicians and hair braiders will be required to take a one-hour continuing education class about domestic violence and sexual assault to recognize signs of customers.

º Illinois insurance companies will be required to provide coverage for almost all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive options.

º Companies will be banned from asking workers paid less than $13.50 an hour to sign a no-compete agreement.

º Lobbying groups will be ineligible to participate in the state's pension system.

º Employers must provide greater flexibility in using sick time, including allowing them to use up to half of their time to attend to the medical needs of family members.

º The sale or re-lease of properties with high lead levels is banned until the problem is mitigated and the property is considered safe.

º The Department of Corrections must contract with the vendor that offers the lowest rate for inmate phone calls, which is capped at 7 cents per minute, by 2018.

º Minors may not be committed to a Department of Juvenile Justice facility for committing crimes that are not felonies and for certain nonviolent felonies.

º Police officers and coroners may dispose of unused medications found at the scene of a death after consulting with law enforcement investigating the death, but the medicine must be saved if an autopsy is performed.

º The state and local governments are indemnified from providing legal representation for any employee in a criminal proceeding arising out of government employment.

º Courts can fine public bodies between $2,500 and $10,000 if they "willfully and intentionally failed to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and also allows for a $1,000 daily fine if the public body fails to comply with the court's order after 30 days.

º Employers or a prospective employer cannot request or require an employee or applicant to authenticate or access a personal online account in the presence of the employer.

º Drivers education teachers must instruct students on proper actions to take during a traffic stop.

º Emergency medical technicians will be allowed to administer epinephrine if they complete training.

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