This electronic newsletter is an opportunity for you to learn more about what we’ve accomplished in Illinois government, and how you can get involved. Whether it’s volunteering in a Serve Illinois volunteer project, receiving state services, or learning about new laws and programs, I want to ensure that you know what’s happening in your government.
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Infant Safe Havens
On August 11, Governor Quinn signed House Bill 106 into law, allowing parents to safely release their newborn into state custody. The law expands legal havens to include Illinois State Police (ISP) district headquarters and college or university police stations. These safe havens allow parents to relinquish an unharmed newborn, younger than 30 days old, at any safe haven location without fear of prosecution or abandonment. Employees of the police departments must be present when the infants are dropped off anonymously. The law went into effect immediately.
On August 10, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 2106 into law, overhauling the State’s Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act by requiring more electronic products to be recycled by state government. Keyboards, portable music devices, scanners, videocassette recorders and video game consoles were added to the list that already included items such as computers and televisions. By signing the bill, Governor Quinn increased Illinois’ recycling goal and strengthened penalties for rule breakers. The law went into effect immediately.
Workers Comp Reform
On August 8, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 1147, which prevents state workers convicted of serious crimes from claiming workers’ compensation benefits for injuries resulting from those crimes. The new law also prevents an employee from collecting benefits or attorney’s fees until their forcible felony, aggravated DUI or reckless homicide criminal cases conclude. The law went into effect immediately.
Veteran-owned Small Businesses
On August 5, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 1270, helping small businesses owned by Illinois Veterans. The new law amends the Illinois procurement code, requiring Illinois to set an annual goal of 3 percent of all state contracts for businesses owned by Veterans and service-disabled Veterans. The businesses must be based in Illinois and at least 51 percent owned by Veterans or disabled-service Veterans that gross $75 million or less annually. Larger Veteran-owned businesses may also apply for exemption by proving a significant number of Veteran-owned supplier or subcontractors would benefit. The law went into effect immediately.
On August 3, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 1637, which will help reunite lost pets with their owners. The law requires animal control centers to scan for implanted microchips twice, among other efforts to help identify a lost animal’s owner. The identification efforts must take place within 24 hours of the animal’s arrival at the impoundment, with the second scan taking place before the animal is adopted. Animal control and shelters now have the option to call or e-mail the owner or an agent, such as the animal’s veterinarian, in lieu of a mailed letter to only the owner. The law takes effect January 1, 2012.
Soccer Goal Safety
On August 2, Governor Quinn signed House Bill 1130, known as “Zach’s Law.” It requires all movable soccer goals manufactured and sold in Illinois to be tip-resistant. The law honors the memory of six-year-old Zachary Tran of Vernon Hills, who died of injuries from an improperly secured 184-pound metal soccer goal that fell and struck his head in 2003. The goal measurements must conform to the tip resistant standards set forth by the American Society of Testing and Materials, which will also work with the Illinois Consumer Product Safety Commission. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will make the guidelines available on its website by June 2012. The law also makes Illinois the first state to ban the manufacture and sale of soccer goals that do not meet the new tip-resistant standards. The law went into effect immediately.
Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions
On July 28, Governor Quinn signed House Bill 200, which protects student athletes from concussions and other brain injuries. The law requires every Illinois school board to adopt a concussion policy that complies with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) guidelines. The new guidelines prevent students who are removed from a game or practice due to a possible head injury from returning without being evaluated and cleared by a medical professional. In addition, school boards must partner with the IHSA to develop materials to educate coaches, student athletes, and their parents about concussions. Park districts are encouraged to participate in the measure as well. The law went into effect immediately.
Improved Health Insurance
On August 9, Governor Quinn signed four bills to improve the health of residents throughout Illinois. House Bill 2249, which goes into effect January 1 of 2012, requires insurance companies to cover education programs to help diabetics maintain their A1C levels within normal ranges. Senate Bill 1948, which took effect immediately, requires the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to work with the dental community to develop and promote “dental homes” for children covered under CHIP, All Kids and Medicaid programs. The dental home concept allows dentists to collaborate and deliver comprehensive, coordinated, and family-centered preventative and restorative oral health care services. House Bill 3039, which takes effect immediately, requires insurers to provide annual information regarding heart disease. In addition, doctors have 60 days to update their information concerning the early detection and proactive management of heart disease. House Bill 105, better known as the Patients’ Right to Know Act, requires the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to make physician profiles available for public inspection, including an online database. The law takes effect immediately.
Fighting Gun Violence
On August 2, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 1589 into law, which is aimed at reducing gun violence in Illinois. Felons convicted of new weapons offenses will be sent to prison for two to ten years and cannot be sentenced to probation. Additional violations may increase the sentencing for three to fourteen years. The defendant must be previously convicted of a felony. The bill came about following the death of Chicago Police Officer and Iraq War veteran, Thomas Wortham, who was shot outside of his family home by suspects who had previously been convicted of gun charges. The law takes effect January 1, 2012.
Protecting Illinois Homeowners
On August 2, Governor Quinn signed House Bill 3034, which protects Illinois homeowners who are recovering from natural disaster damage. The law prohibits roofing contractors from leasing their license number for compensation. The law prevents contractors from misrepresenting themselves in order to persuade homeowners to sign contracts for home repairs caused by natural disasters. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) issues licenses to roofing contractors. Homeowners are encouraged to visit www.idfpr.com to view roofing contractors and determine a contractor’s activity and standing. The law takes effect January 1, 2012.