July 1 marks the first day of the state’s new fiscal year, and in addition to the balanced budget that will govern spending from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, the following legislation signed by Governor JB Pritzker took effect July 1:
- HB 345: Known as the “Tobacco 21” bill, this new law prohibits anyone from selling or providing cigarettes or vaping materials to individuals under the age of 21.
- SB 28: This new law ensures that Illinois school children are receiving at least five hours of instruction per day in public schools. While the five-hour school day has been in place for several years, this new law takes into account instances when students take college classes for dual high school and college credit, those participating in career development programs away from school, and schools offering blended learning programs for students.
- SB 1814: As part of this year’s budget implementation bill, individuals working for the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) who provide services to children at risk will receive a 5% increase in their reimbursement rates. It is the first increase these employees have received in several years.
- SB 1939: A key element of the $45 billion capital projects bill is an increase to the gas tax that takes effect at the gas pump on July 1. This increase will fund road and bridge projects across the state.
Tougher Penalties for Texting While Driving Take Effect on July 1
A recent survey of Illinois high school students shows that nearly half of Illinois teens admit to texting while driving. Starting today, Illinois drivers caught using or even just holding an electronic device while behind the wheel of a car will now be issued a moving violation ticket. Unlike previous distracted driving laws, tickets issued under this new state law will go on a driver’s permanent record. Fines start at $75 for a first offense and escalate by $25 to a maximum of $150, and three or more repeat offenses of texting while driving could lead to the suspension of a driver’s license. These new rules are not limited to cellphones. They apply to any electronic communication device, including hand-held personal digital assistant, tablet or laptop computers. While adopted last year during the 100th General Assembly, the law that includes these new penalties had an effective date of July 1, 2019.