On January 1, more than 180 new state laws took effect in Illinois. Some are slight modifications to existing laws and others are complete overhauls. Here are the big changes in store for Illinois families in the new year.
Many new laws that impact the education, wellbeing, and futures of young students went into effect on January 1. Here’s some of the most important changes:
- Middle school and high school students will be allowed one excused day of school per year to attend a civic event.
- Schools must teach about safe gun storage in the state’s safety education curriculum.
- Schools can establish wellness checks for students in the 7th grade through 12th grade to identify and help students who are at risk of mental health conditions.
- The Student Confidential Reporting Act establishes a Safe2Help helpline where officials from schools can receive reports and other information regarding the potential harm or self-harm of students or school employees.
- A new drivers education curriculum will be implemented in hopes of leading to safer driving practices.
- High schools will be allowed flexibility in offering dual credit classes in partnership with community colleges.
- All public high school students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. If they do not want to file it, they must waive it in order to graduate.
- Once every five years, Chicago Public Schools’ high school district boundaries will be re-evaluated based on demographics and enrollment. Some of the factors reviewed and evaluated would include income level within the boundaries, travel time and distance to school, and more.
- By July 1, 2025, school boards must establish a career and technical education pathway program for students in grades 6 through 12.
Child Bereavement Leave Act expansion
This law allows women who have a miscarriage, still birth, or other diagnosis or event that impacts pregnancy or fertility to take 10 days of unpaid leave.
Family Bereavement Leave Act expansion
This act requires employers to give leave time after the loss of family members previously not covered in the Family Bereavement Leave Act, such as spouses, domestic partners, siblings, grandparents and stepparents.
New penalties for school zone driving violations
This new law adds community service as a penalty for failing to stop for a school or for speeding in excess of 20 miles per hour in a school zone.
Child Labor Law waivers
The Child Labor Law now allows minors under 16 years of age to work until 10:00 p.m. without having to seek a waiver from the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL). A waiver request must be received by IDOL at least 72 hours before working between 12:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
Assistance to youth entrepreneurs
The requirements concerning entrepreneurship assistance centers will now include assistance to youth entrepreneurs starting at the age of 16.
New home smoke detector rules
The state’s Smoke Detector Act was changed to state that any smoke detectors must have a self-contained, non-removable, long-term battery.
Several insurance coverage laws were passed in 2023 but will be implemented on January 1, 2024. On that date, health plans will now cover:
- Costs for genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes to detect risks for breast and ovarian cancer, if recommended by a physician.
- Annual prostate cancer screenings upon the recommendation of a doctor.
- Prenatal vitamins.
- Medically-necessary breast reduction surgery (applies to state-regulated private insurance).
See the full list of 2023 Illinois Laws here.
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