Bruce Rauner, Governor

State Links Skip to Content Skip to State Links

 Health & Safety
 Family & Home
 About Illinois

Stay Informed

Your Government

Illinois Flag Honors

Inspector General

 IGNN: State/All Press Release

The State of Illinois News page provides access to the Illinois Government News Network and all state press releases.

December 31, 2003

New Laws Take Effect on New Year’s Day
Senior Drug Buying Club, Seat Belt, Elder Abuse, Environmental, Female Contraception are some laws to start

CHICAGO – During his first year in office, Governor Blagojevich pushed for and signed into law landmark legislation from raising the minimum wage to protecting elders from abuse to ensure women’s access to contraceptives and to improving road safety. These laws and others will take effect New Year’s Day.
For additional information about the laws, please visit  http://www.illinois.gov/government/gov_legislature.cfm. Highlights of some of the new laws include:
Senior Drug Buying Club - The Illinois Rx Buying Club, a state-sponsored initiative, designed to win discounts on all FDA-approved prescriptions at retail pharmacies and also through a mail-order option. The Club, which is open to all Illinoisans who are 65 and older and those with disabilities, expects to win a range of discounts, averaging about 20 percent, on drugs for members who pay an annual $25 administrative fee. The program requires no paperwork after initial application, no caps on the benefit, no co-pays and imposes no income barriers to membership. Information about the Club and application form are available at 1-866-215-3462 (Voice) or 1-866-215-3479 (TTY).
Booster Seat Law - Provides that whenever a person is transporting a child under age eight, the person is responsible for properly securing the child in an appropriate child restraint system, which includes a booster seat and when transporting a child eight years of age or older, but under age 16, is responsible for properly securing that child in a safety belt.
New Teen Drivers - Any person under the age of 18 who receives a graduated driver’s license, for the first six months of the license or until the person reaches the age of 18, whichever occurs sooner, may not drive with more than one person in the vehicle who is under the age of 20 unless they are siblings, children, step-siblings, or stepchildren of the driver.
Left Lane Law - While traveling on an interstate highway, a vehicle may not be driven in the left lane, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle. This prohibition does not apply to authorized emergency vehicles while engaged in official duties.
Contraceptive Coverage - Public Act 93-0102 (House Bill 211) prohibits insurance companies that already cover prescription drugs and devices from excluding coverage for contraceptives. In addition, the bill requires plans that cover outpatient medical services to also cover contraceptive services such as consultations, examinations and procedures related to pregnancy prevention. The new law does not extend to abortion services.
Women of reproductive age currently spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men, due in large part to the cost of reproductive health drugs and services. A prescription for an oral contraceptive costs approximately $30 a month, or $360 a year. In contrast, employers can save money by providing contraceptive coverage and avoiding high costs associated with unplanned pregnancies. The Washington Business Group on Health conducted a study and found that not providing coverage for contraceptives can cost employers 15 percent to 17 percent more than providing coverage.
"For the first time in our state’s history, contraceptive prescriptions for women will be paid for by their insurance companies, instead of out of their own pockets,” said Governor Blagojevich. “For far too long, when it comes to issues of reproductive health care, women have not received the same treatment as men.”
Equal Pay – The new Illinois Equal Pay Act expands the scope of the original law to cover all public and private employers with four or more employees.  An additional 330,000 Illinois workers will enjoy protection from gender-based discrimination in pay.
In addition, the new law stiffens penalties for employers who violate the act.  If an employer is found guilty of pay discrimination, they will be required to make up the wage difference to the employee, pay legal costs, and may be subject to civil fines of up to $2,500 per violation.
Racial Profiling Study – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will begin a four-year study of racial profiling in Illinois to determine if racial profiling exists. The new law requires all police officers to collect specific data including race and gender during each traffic stop. IDOT will collect the data to examine if minorities are over-represented in traffic stops. IDOT will report the results to the Governor and General Assembly annually between 2005-2008.  
Boating/Snowmobiling under the influence - A tough new law bringing penalties for boating and snowmobiling under the influence in line with the same offenses committed when driving an automobile takes effect Jan. 1. The new law expands the type of illegal substances covered by boating and snowmobiling under the influence to include intoxicating compounds. These are substances ingested by drinking or inhaling such as acetone or dichloro-ethane found in industrial solvents. An additional $100 fine would be assessed of individuals found guilty of operating a boat or snowmobile while under the influence. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will use the additional dollars for law enforcement training and equipment purchases.
Illegal Plants - Kudzu and six varieties of buckthorn, all exotic species that can take over the landscape and choke out native plants, are now illegal in Illinois. The new law adds kudzu and six non-native species of buckthorn (common buckthorn, glossy buckthorn, saw-toothed buckthorn, dahurian buckthorn, Japanese buckthorn and Chinese buckthorn) to the list of Illinois exotic weeds, making it illegal to buy, sell or plant these species in Illinois. These species join Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) and purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) on the exotic weed list.
Film Production In Illinois - Film Production Services Tax Credit (Senate Bill 785) which provides a 25% non-refundable income tax credit to accredited film and TV productions for wages paid to Illinois residents working on film and TV projects shot in Illinois. The program is aimed at rejuvenating the Illinois Film Industry and stemming the flow of so-called ‘runaway’ production.
Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding - Any person commits aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer if he or she disobeys two or more official traffic control devices in the course of fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer.
Digital Divide - Senate Bill 1056 makes a change connected to the Eliminate the Digital Divide Program. Under current statute, telecommunications carriers are to notify their customers about making contributions to the Program to Eliminate the Digital Divide, and DCEO is to collect the contributions. The new law changes this to apply only to telecommunications carriers that provide local exchange service. These carriers are to notify only their end-users about the contributions.
Elder care - A rule change beginning Jan. 1 will open the door to about 800 older Illinoisans for services that will prevent or delay the need for care in an institution. The annual asset level that limits eligibility for the Community Care Program (CCP) has been raised from $10,000 to $12,500. The increase is the first time in 20 years that eligibility has been expanded for this program that offers services in the home to allow frail elderly people to remain in their communities rather than moving to a nursing home for care. Another elder care law, the Nursing Home Ombudsman Program, has been adopted brining Illinois into compliance with federal requirements. The new law will ensure uniform policies across the state in the program that advocates for nursing-home residents.
Protecting Elders - During 2003, older people benefited when the real-estate tax exemption was changed to accommodate retirees who move during the year. Older people also were protected when the state moved to strengthen laws that punish people who commit elder abuse. In another action, frail elderly people and their families were supported by two increases in the rate paid to adult day service providers. Before the two rate increases, 25 day-care centers had closed due to the low reimbursement rate paid by the state. The rate, now $7.02 per hour, still does not cover net operating revenue, which is estimated by the Illinois Adult Day Services Association to be $8.32 per hour. Adult day care, such as services in the home provided by the Community Care Program, is designed as an alternative to institutionalization.


News Categories

 Governor's Office
 Lt. Governor's Office
 Economic Development
 Flag Honors
 Health/Human Services
 Opportunity Returns

News Resources

 Search the News
 IIS Radio News
 RSS News Feeds
 e-News Subscriptions
 Communications Office
 Privacy Statement


Sign up for an e-news subscription
Copyright © 2017 State of Illinois Site Map | Illinois Privacy Info | Kids Privacy | Web Accessibility | Contact Us