• Ben Szalinski
    DEC 22, 2023


    More than 300 new Illinois laws to take effect in 2024  

    The Illinois Capitol 

    Study up — Illinoisians will have 318 new laws to follow when they ring in 2024. The laws include new prohibited activities such as vaping indoors and having video calls while driving and new requirements for units of government to solve carjackings and uphold abortion access. 

    HB1342: New safety rules for public transit agencies 

    Lawmakers passed HB1342 in May, which extends relief lawmakers have granted transit agencies since the pandemic severely reduced ridership. Normally, transit agencies are required to receive 50 percent of their revenue from rider fares, but with ridership remaining sluggish even since significant pandemic restrictions were lifted, agencies have struggled to reach the 50 percent threshold. The law, which Pritzker signed earlier this summer, extends a pass for the agencies through 2025 that does not require them to receive half their revenue from fares.       

    The law also includes a provision supporters say is driven by feedback from riders who want safer public transportation. It allows transit agencies to suspend riders for assault, battery, sexual assault or public indecency, though it does allow for an appeals process.   

    Related: Senate advances bill giving transit agencies financial breathing room, mechanism to improve safety  

    HB1540: E-cigarettes part of indoor smoking ban  

    The law treats e-cigarettes the same as traditional cigarettes and smoking, which has already been banned in indoor public places. People will no longer be allowed to use vapes or e-cigarettes inside public places or outside entrances to public places.   

    As e-cigarettes grow in popularity, proponents of the legislation said state law needs to keep up and people cannot ignore the negative health effects from the liquid-based devices. They added that despite their seemingly harmless effects on people around those who smoke them, e-cigarettes carry many of the same secondhand smoke risks as tobacco cigarettes.     

    HB2245: Vehicle theft hotline in Cook County  

    The law allows the Cook County Sheriff’s Office to establish a hotline to help police officers recover vehicles stolen in carjackings or in kidnappings. Vehicle manufacturers will also have to maintain a 24/7 hotline for police officers to contact to help them track stolen vehicles when law enforcement obtains a warrant, the car’s owner gives permission, or when contacted by police. Many newer vehicles can be remotely tracked by manufacturers who will relay that information to law enforcement when asked.  

    HB2389: Objects hanging from rearview mirror no longer cause for stop  

    Small items blocking a part of a driver’s view of the windshield cannot be a basis for a traffic stop. This change allows drivers to have small obstructions such as an object hanging from the mirror such as an air freshener or parking place card. GPS mounts will also be OK. However, police will still be allowed to ticket for significant obstructions that obstruct a driver’s view.   

    HB2431: Bans Zoom and FaceTime while driving  

    Participating in a Zoom meeting, making a FaceTime call or any other type of video conference call while behind the wheel will be prohibited. The law applies even if the driver is not holding the electronic device and is in addition to existing state law that requires hands-free phone calls and bans texting while driving. The law also closes loopholes to ban using social media or watching a video while driving.   

    More than 24,000 drivers were cited for districted driving in Illinois in 2022, according to the Secretary of State’s office.   

    HB2789: Bans book bans  

    Illinois libraries will be required to adopt the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights or develop a written policy prohibiting book bans in order to continue receiving state grants — a key source of funding for public libraries in Illinois. Libraries that ban books risk losing grant funding under the new law. The law is an initiative of Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias in response to attempts in Illinois and around the country to ban certain books, often related to racial or LGBTQ issues. The secretary of state’s office oversees the state’s libraries.   

    HB3326: Bans automated license plate readers from enforcing abortion ban  

    Another initiative of Giannoulias bans out-of-state police departments from using automated license plate reader data to track or punish someone traveling to Illinois to seek an abortion, most likely from a state that outlaws the procedure. The technology would also be prohibited from being used to track a person’s immigration status.  

    The plate readers are often used to give police information on a vehicle’s location when it has been associated with a crime and can be found on squad cars, traffic lights and other places along roadways. Out-of-state law enforcement agencies will need to enter into an agreement with Illinois-based law enforcement not to use data from plate readers to track women seeking abortions even if it violates their own state laws.     

    Related: Bill prevents out-of-state law enforcement from using license plate reader data to track people traveling for abortions  

    HB3396: Misdemeanor to interfere with a union protest   

    It will be a class A misdemeanor to interfere with, obstruct or impede a picket or other demonstration of protest, and violators will be subject to a $500 fine. The law amends the Labor Dispute Act and is designed to protect unions’ ability to protest. The law does not define what actions count as interference and violations of the law.   

    HB3751: Creates pathway to non-citizens to be police officers  

    The law allows Illinois residents who are DACA recipients to become police offers, but only if Congress takes action to allow non-citizens to carry a firearm as a police officer. The law is supported by the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, and the Illinois Sheriff’s Association officially took a neutral position on the bill.   

    Related: House, Senate Republicans take opposing stances on bill to allow non-citizens to become police officers   

    SB1883: Misdemeanor to come in contact with a bear 

    The law makes it illegal to allow a person to come into “direct contact” with a bear or nonhuman primate. “Direct contact” is defined in the law as physical contact or a setting where physical contact is within reach without a permanent barrier between the human and animal. The law does not apply to owners of the animal, professional caretakers or other people acting within their official duties involving the animal, such as a law enforcement officer. Violations of the law are a class B misdemeanor.  

    The law was supported by the Shedd Aquarium and Chicago Zoological Society. The Human Society Legislative Fund, which also supported the bill, said it is necessary because the animals can be unpredictable and it is “cruel” to allow the animals and people to interact.  

    A full list of the new laws taking effect in 2024 can be found on the Senate Democrats’ website: https://www.illinoissenatedemocrats.com/images/PDFS/2023/bills-taking-effect-2024.pdf  

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