Just like those wrapping up last-minute housework before hosting holiday houseguests, today’s look at laws taking effect Jan. 1 focuses on House of Representatives actions; next week’s columns will consider legislation originating in the Senate.
As with every year there are some official state designations: HB 4261 establishes Dolostone as the state rock, HB 4821 makes the Eastern Milksnake the official state snake and HB 4986 makes “Theatre in the Park” the official state theater.
The last time lawmakers designated an official state theater was 1995, honoring the Great American People Show, a nonprofit company in New Salem that staged outdoor shows in Petersburg largely focused on Abraham Lincoln. The company dissolved the next season, ending a two-decade run. Here’s wishing more longevity to the new designee, also based at Lincon’s New Salem State Historic Site.
Some legislation is easily summarized but shouldn’t pass without mention: HB 5488 gives middle and high school students one excused absence per year to engage in a civic event. School boards may require advance notice and proof of participation. HB 5265 waives school fees for students who lack permanent housing. HB 4798 allows people studying to become teachers to qualify for substitute licenses after reaching 90 college credit hours.
Other bills just clean up government operations: HB 5220 addresses collections agencies under the the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. They’ll now fall under the financial side instead of the professional. HB 5205 amends the Highway Code so government bodies get a chance to buy excess property from the Department of Transportation before it goes up for public sale.
Then there are steps taken to make things easier for average folks: HB 3772 guarantees you’re not liable for red light or speeding cameras if your car is stolen. HB 5426 limits how much a condo association can charge unit owners to produce paperwork required when selling a property. HB 5304 cuts the senior citizen vehicle registration fee from $24 to $10.
The business of the General Assembly is about much more than the issues dominating headlines during campaign season. Not all the work is exciting – and some is purely ceremonial – but it’s all official and impactful. More to come next week.
ON THIS DAY: Given holiday production schedules, I filed Wednesday evening after making sure I could park both cars in the garage and access the snowblower. (Whether it works is another story, but we have four sons and three shovels.) So it’s unfortunately too early to tell just how severely winter storm Elliott affected Illinois, though unlikely as legendarily as Christmas Eve 1830. Predating official weather records, memories of “The Deep Snow” lived on well into the 20th century. For more, visit illinoishistory.com/deepsnow.htm.
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December 24, 2022 at 11:51AM