SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — With the calendar-page turn to 2024 on Monday comes 320 new state laws that Illinois residents will need to navigate.
Some will have a widespread effect, including a law banning semi-automatic rifles and another requiring paid time off. But others won’t have an immediate or noticeable impact, including a law that lets county governments consider a potential contractor’s participation in an approved apprenticeship program in determining the winning low bid for a project.
One law that took effect in 2019 but is still impacting tens of thousands of workers is an increase in the minimum wage. It increases to $14 an hour on Jan. 1 for non-tipped workers and will reach $15 in a year.
Here are some of the other major changes to Illinois state law as of New Year’s Day:
BAN ON SEMI-AUTOMATIC WEAPONS
The U.S. Supreme Court has failed to take up the case of Illinois’ ban on the sale, possession or manufacture of automatic weapons like the type used in a mass shooting at a 2023 July Fourth parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park.
The law bans dozens of specific brands or types of rifles and handguns, including .50-caliber guns, attachments and rapid-firing devices. No rifle will be allowed to accommodate more than 10 rounds, with a 15-round limit for handguns.
Those who previously purchased such guns must register them with the Illinois State Police by Jan. 1.
Libraries that indiscriminately ban books will not be eligible for state funds. They must adopt the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights stating “materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.”
The library association reported that attempts to censor books reached a 20-year high in 2022, especially those with LGBTQ+ themes and those written by people of color.
PAID TIME OFF
Employers will be required to offer paid vacation for any reason. Workers will accrue one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours total. Employers may offer more than 40 hours and employees may take time off after working for 90 days.
AIR FRESHENERS ALLOWED
Police will no longer be able to pull over a motorist solely because there is an object hanging from their rearview mirror. The law was approved after Daunte Wright was pulled over in Minnesota in 2021 for having a dangling air freshener. He was shot when the officer, reaching for her stun gun, instead grabbed her sidearm.
NO VIDEOCONFERENCING ON THE ROAD
Video meetings, streaming or accessing a social media website while driving will be prohibited. There will be an exception for video on a hands-free or voice-activated device or an application requiring the push of no more than a single button to activate or terminate it.
NO INDOOR VAPING
Vaping or smoking an electronic cigarette or cigar in a public indoor space will be prohibited. The law adds electronic smoking devices to the list of items prohibited in indoor public places under the 2008 Smoke Free Illinois Act, which banned regular tobacco products’ indoor use.
LICENSE-PLATE READER RESTRICTIONS
Interstate agreements between law enforcement agencies must specify that license-plate reader technology not be used on cars driven by women coming into Illinois to have abortions.
Following the Highland Park parade shooting, lawmakers approved the use of drones by law enforcement to surveil “routed” or “special events.” The drones may not be equipped with weapons or facial-recognition technology.
Victims of digital forgeries known as deepfake pornography may file civil lawsuits against anyone who shares or threatens to share an image that falsely depicts a person exposing genitalia or other private parts or engaging in a sex act. Identifying the image as materially altered is not a defense to liability.
RESTROOMS MAY BE ALL-GENDER MULTIOCCUPANCY
Businesses have the option of installing restrooms that may be used by any gender simultaneously. Current restrooms may be renovated to accommodate all genders. Urinals may not be included and stalls must have floor-to-ceiling, locking dividers.
VOTER REGISTRATION FOR TEENS
Teenagers may pre-register to vote at age 16 or 17 while obtaining a driver’s license or state identification card at a drivers’ services office run by the secretary of state. When turning 18, the legal voting age, they will already be registered to vote.