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2020 Illinois Significant Law Changes

2019 was a very active year for the Illinois legislature. Over 200 new laws went into effect as of January 1, 2020. Listed below are some new laws that may have a significant impact on our clients.

Marijuana Legalization

Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use. Consumers aged 21 and older can buy marijuana products from licensed sellers in Illinois – with or without a medical marijuana card. Illinoisans can legally possess 30 grams, or about an ounce, of cannabis flower. The legal limit for cannabis concentrate is 5 grams. And the limit for cannabis-infused products, such as edibles or tinctures, is 500 milligrams of THC, the chemical that gets users high. Illinois visitors are allowed to possess half of those amounts.

Remember that Illinois already makes it illegal for drivers to drive high. A driver with THC blood concentration of five nanograms or more per milliliter guilty of driving under the influence. Additionally, the new law creates a DUI Task Force led by Illinois State Police to examine best practices for roadside testing.

Scott’s Law

When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with flashing warning lights, Illinois motorists must slow down, drive with caution, and move over to another lane. If changing lanes is unsafe, they must reduce speed. This law is known as Scott’s Law. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, the following violations and measures will take effect in Illinois regarding Scott’s Law:

  • The minimum fine for violating Scott’s Law will increase from $100 to $250 for the first violation, and $750 for the second violation.
  • Those who violate Scott’s Law and cause an injury or death will be charged with a Class 4 felony.
  • The Scott’s Law Fund will be created to educate motorists on the importance of Scott’s Law.
  • At least one question about Scott’s Law is required on the written driving test.

While driving on Illinois highways, pay attention for emergency vehicles and be safe.

Special Interrogatories

HB2233 eliminates “special interrogatories,” which are questions that either side in a case may ask jurors to test whether they understand the instructions given before they begin deliberating. Special interrogatories allowed the parties in a lawsuit and the judge to get specific details of a jury’s findings, separate from the general verdict. If a jury’s answer to a special interrogatory question is inconsistent with the verdict, one of the parties can move for the judge to override the jury’s verdict.

Expressway Cameras

The Illinois State Police, the Illinois Department of Transportation, and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority will work together to conduct a program to increase the amount of cameras along expressways in Cook County. The images from the cameras may be used for law enforcement investigations of any offense involving the use of a firearm and to detect expressway hazards. However, these images from the cameras will not be used to enforce petty offenses.

Video Devices while Driving

Illinois clarified that a person may not operate a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device, including using an electronic communication device to watch or stream video. This forbids people from watching YouTube or Netflix or other streaming services while driving. If you or someone you love has been injured by a distracted driver, please contact the experienced Arlington Heights car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. today.

Worker Protection Unit

Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation creating a Worker Protection Unit within the Office of the Attorney General which will protect Illinois workers from wage theft and other unlawful employment practices. The new law gives the Attorney General’s office the express authority to investigate and file suit against violators of

  • the Prevailing Wage Act,
  • the Employee Classification Act,
  • the Minimum Wage Law,
  • the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act and
  • the Wage Payment and Collection Act.

The new unit will work with the Illinois Department of Labor to detect unlawful conduct. It will also work within the Attorney General’s office to share information with local and state prosecutors.

Service Animal Accommodation

Effective January 1, 2020,  the Assistance Animal Integrity Act took effect in Illinois. It supplemented existing federal law regarding reasonable accommodation requests for service animals and emotional support animals. It focuses on landlords who have existing policies regarding pets and sets up a framework on when they must make an exception for an individual with a service animal.

If you have any questions or concerns about how you or your loved ones may be affected by the new laws, please contact the experienced lawyers at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. today.

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