Legislators have been busy in Springfield: Hundreds of new Illinois laws take effect in January

Jennifer Geer

Also coming to Chicago, vaccine requirements for indoor venues to start in 2022.

Due to government shutdowns during the pandemic, only three new laws took effect in Illinois in 2021. State legislators had a lot to make up for this year.

In 2020, Gov. J.B. Pritzker had issued a statewide disaster declaration due to the pandemic. As a result, the Illinois General Assembly convened only once during a four-day emergency session in Springfield in May.

The result: Only three laws passed the books and became law in January 2021, down from 250 from January 2020.

But in 2021, lawmakers got to work, and now Illinois is set to have 296 new laws take effect in 2022.

Here are highlights of a few of the new laws:

HB 562

FOID Modernization Act is a change to Illinois gun laws that will encourage (not require) fingerprinting for firearms and issue a combined FOID card and concealed carry license. Further, a public database will be established to keep track of stolen firearms.

HB 576

Amends the school code to allow up to five mental health days for students.

SB 1846

Amends the Illinois Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to require the default beverage for children's meals to be either unsweetened water, milk, or juice.

SB 119

Hayli’s Law allows kids to run lemonade stands without a permit. Teenager, Hayli Martenez of Kankakee inspired the law after she was forced to stop selling lemonade for 50 cents a cup at her neighborhood lemonade stand.

HB 376

Teaching Equitable Asian American History Act requires public schools to teach students about the contributions of the Asian American community.

SB 817

The Jett Hawkins Law forbids public or private schools from mandating dress codes related to hairstyles. Jett Hawkins is a four-year-old boy who received a lot of media attention when he was sent home from his Chicago preschool because he had braids in his hair.

SB 818

Beginning in August 2022, sex education will change in Illinois. Parents can choose to opt-out.

Chicago vaccine requirement

It's not one of the laws passed in Springfield, but it will have a big impact on Chicago. It's the requirement announced by Mayor Lori Lightfoot that everyone over the age of 5 years in Chicago will need to show proof of vaccination in indoor venues.

"Despite our diligent and equitable vaccine distribution efforts throughout this year, unfortunately, our city continues to see a surge of COVID-19 Delta and now Omicron cases," said Mayor Lightfoot in a press release. "New steps must be taken to protect the health and wellbeing of our residents. This public health order requiring proof of vaccination to visit certain indoor public places is a necessary measure to ensure we can continue to enjoy our city's many amenities as we enter the new year."

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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area. New articles published each weekday.

Chicago, IL

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