While you may not realize that 100 new laws went into effect the first of this year, a few laws regarding the healthcare and safety of children merit a closer look.
One new law focuses on healthcare benefits for parents of autistic children, requiring that state, local and private insurance plans pay for treatment of pervasive developmental disorders (PDD)-such as autism, Asperger's syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder. The law requires that group health benefit plans now provide 20 additional speech therapy sessions per year to children with PDD. Speech therapy gives children with PDD a 90 percent chance of learning to use spoken language properly, according to the Autism Society of Illinois.
Under another new law, landlords and homeowners now must install at least one carbon monoxide detector within 15 feet of any room used as a sleeping area. While landlords are expected to install the detectors, the law says tenants must keep them in working order. Homes that use all electric appliances and do not have a fireplace or attached garage are exempt.
A total of seven laws aim to keep a closer watch on sexual predators in Illinois. Among the new restrictions, sex offenders are required to wear an electronic tracking device during his or her parole and they face stricter guidelines on where they can live. The laws also require schools to remind parents during school registration that information on local sex offenders is available on the Statewide Sex Offender Database at www.isp.state.il.us/sor and now requires registered offenders to provide more detailed information, such as license plate numbers.
In an effort to ensure that Illinois working families have access to affordable housing, another new law offers financial incentives for businesses to locate in areas where their workforce lives and in areas closer to public transportation.
To search for more laws that went into effect Jan. 1, visit www.ilga.gov.