New laws take effect January 1

New laws take effect January 1

Legislative activity during the year was very light as a result of the Governor’s ordered shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the list of bills passed by lawmakers and signed by the Governor is, not surprisingly, very short.

Of the new laws that take effect on January 1, one new law will not be necessary in the wake of the general election defeat on November 3 of the controversial graduated income tax amendment proposed by Democrat lawmakers.

Senate Bill 687 set out new graduated individual and corporate income tax rates, which would have been enacted if SJRCA 1 was approved by voters on November 3. SJRCA 1 would have allowed the state to impose a graduated-rate income tax structure that would tax different brackets of income at different rates. Senate Republicans have argued that such a proposal left the door open for future, unchecked income tax hikes for Illinois taxpayers.

As SJRCA 1 did not receive the 60 percent of voters required to amend the Illinois Constitution, Senate Bill 687 is not needed.

Capping insulin price increases (Senate Bill 667)

Illinoisans whose health relies on insulin each day will benefit from a new law that caps increases in the drug’s costs.

Senate Bill 667 caps the amount insulin prices can rise each year at the level of inflation, stopping price spikes that could otherwise make the important medication unaffordable. The new law specifically ties the price increase to the medical care component of the Consumer Price Index, which is determined by the United States Department of Labor.

In Illinois, 1.3 million people rely on insulin, and access to these lifesaving medications must be protected.

The new law also requires the Illinois Departments of Insurance, Human Services, and Health and Family Services to investigate pricing practices for insulin. The goal of the investigations will be to determine what causes price spikes, and to protect patients from sudden increases. The agencies will also be required to compile and publish a report on their findings.

Missing persons reporting (House Bill 2708)

A new law will modernize the search for missing persons and provide law enforcement professionals with access to updated tools, processes and databases available to help locate missing persons.

House Bill 2708 stipulates that law enforcement may attempt to obtain a DNA sample from a missing person’s DNA or a reference sample from family members’ DNA samples, and may also submit DNA to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs).

NamUs is a national information clearinghouse and resource center for missing, unidentified, and unclaimed person cases across the United States

Confidentiality for stalking victims (House Bill 2818)

Another new law will expand protections for victims of sexual assault or stalking.

House Bill 2818 allows victims of sexual assault or stalking to apply for the address confidentiality program. Address confidentiality could help prevent future assault or stalking by keeping the victim’s address out of public record.

This new law expands the program, which had previously only provided address confidentiality for domestic violence victims.

Dale Fowler

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