New Year, New Laws for Illinois

By aaroncynic in News on Jan 6, 2011 3:00PM

ilcapitoldome0509.jpg Nearly 200 new laws take effect this week in Illinois. This laundry list of legislature covers everything from campaign finance to monkey ownership. Here’s a quick look at a handful:

While we’ve lamented the Citizens United decision before, at least some campaign finance reform finally comes to Illinois. Individuals are limited to giving $5,000 to a candidate while unions, PAC’s and corporations are capped at $10,000. Candidates must file an expenditure and contribution report every three months and donations above $1,000 must be publicly documented within five days.

The Employee Credit Privacy Act takes effect, which prevents employers from using a potential employee’s credit history as a hiring or firing factor. In addition, the act forbids most employers from obtaining an applicant or employee’s credit report, except for organizations like banks or law enforcement.

Illinois drivers will now face tougher speeding penalties, but will get a break on red light cameras. New legislation goes into effect which prevents someone ticketed for exceeding 40mph from receiving court supervision. In addition, driving between 30 and 39mph will land motorists a misdemeanor. Red light violations will now have to be reviewed by a police officer, retired officer or independent technician not employed by the company running the cameras. Ticketing vehicles that come to a complete stop without entering the intersection is now prohibited.

Illinois residents are now banned from owning primates as pets. Anyone who already owns a chimp, monkey or orangutan may keep their pet, but no new primates may be acquired legally. Service primates for the disabled are exempt, as are zoos, circuses and science labs.

With foreclosure rates still exceedingly high, every little bit helps. House Bill 3762 allows active duty service members to apply for a delay of up to 90 days if facing foreclosure.