Resolve to follow the (new) rules in '24

Start of the new year once again ushers in hundreds of new state regulations to navigate

Just when you got used to the old rules, 2024 brings a slate of new ones to learn.

More than 300 new laws took effect Jan. 1, ranging from a ban on book bans to the regulation of “deepfake porn” and prohibitions on videoconferencing while driving.

Under the Paid Leave for All Workers Act, workers in Illinois are now entitled to earn up to 40 hours of paid leave during a 12-month period, time they can take off work for any reason, regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time, or seasonal employees.

Scott Cruz, a labor attorney, told Capitol News Illinois in November that the law will be a major change for waiters, waitresses and other workers in the hospitality industry who have never received paid leave benefits in the past.

“That is a game changer for many employers, particularly those who have not previously offered any type of paid leave to their employees,” Cruz said.

Also on the labor front, the state’s minimum wage increases by $1 to $14 per hour as the latest step-up in a multi-year phase-in of a $15 per-hour minimum wage come 2025. Teens who work less than 650 hours in a calendar year will earn $13 an hour while the minimum wage for tipped workers will increase to $9 an hour.

Residents who own guns, ammunition and accessories prohibited under the state’s assault weapons ban will be in violation of the law if they don’t register them with the state.

Libraries who ban books or other material “because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval” will now lose access to millions of dollars in annual grant funding administered by the secretary of state’s office. Libraries must either adopt the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights or develop a written statement prohibiting the practice of banning specific books or resources.

An amendment to protections for existing “revenge porn” victims empowers those falsely depicted in sexually explicit images or videos to sue the creator of that material.

Vaping is now banned in most indoor public spaces and within 15 feet of building entrances, the same restrictions that apply to cigarette smokers.

Drivers can no longer participate in videoconferencing or check their social media pages while behind the wheel under an expansion of the state’s existing distracted driving laws.

Hinsdale’s representatives in the Illinois Assembly sponsored some of the fresh legislation.

State Rep. Jenn Ladisch Douglass (D-45, Westmont) led the effort to charge those who financially exploit an elderly person 70 or older with a Class 1 felony 70, as long as the value of the property in question is $15,000 or more. The law also applies if the victim is has a disability.

“This bill provides common sense solutions to potentially life-threatening problems, improving the safety of long-term care facilities and preventing financial exploitation,” Ladisch Douglass said in a statement.

Gov. JB Pritzker signed into a law a bill sponsored by Sen. Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-24, Western Springs) that requires all school districts, public schools, charter schools and nonpublic schools to maintain a supply of naloxone in a secure location in the event of an opioid overdose.

“By ensuring that naloxone is readily available to all students in Illinois, we are helping save our children’s lives,” Glowiak Hilton said in a statement. “The opioid epidemic has taken a toll on our communities. It’s time we develop and implement the necessary precautions to protect everyone in our classrooms.”

Glowiak Hilton also was the driving force behind legislation requiring businesses to give clear notice to a consumer before a contract is automatically renewed.

“Automatic renewal contracts can be confusing, and businesses take advantage of this all the time,” she said. “This new law will ensure residents give clear consent when entering into a contract so they are not charged for services they do not need or want.”

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean