As Illinoisans from Cairo to Chicago celebrate the New Year, 253 new laws will take effect on January 1.
These new laws cover everything from helping high school students meet their educational goals, to promoting economic development, to supporting and protecting our military personnel, to targeting “golden parachutes.”
Among the laws featured this week are three that area lawmakers are proud to have sponsored.
Greater dual credit access for high school students
In the New Year, high school students will have greater access to dual credit coursework thanks to two new state laws sponsored by local lawmakers. One of these new laws was signed by the Governor August 10 at Richwoods High School.
Senate Bill 2527 allows qualified students to enroll in an unlimited amount of dual credit courses and earn an unlimited amount of academic credits from dual credit courses taught by a qualified instructor. Another measure, Senate Bill 2838, improves access by requiring community colleges to enter into a dual credit agreement if a high school district within their boundaries requests it.
Our 16th President Abraham Lincoln knew the importance of education. To borrow his words, "Upon the subject of education ... I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in.”
River Edge Development Zone Program revamp
With a focus on redevelopment and economic growth, the River Edge Redevelopment Zone Program gets a facelift in the New Year, thanks to bipartisan legislation sponsored by area lawmakers.
Senate Bill 3527 was signed into law July 26 by Governor Bruce Rauner at a ceremony in Peoria.
The new law expands availability of the historic tax credits to similar projects across the state. It also adds a new Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit with $15 million in credits to be administered by the Historic Preservation Division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources each year between January 2019 and December 2023.
Investing in our state’s historic structures is critical to not only preserve and promote our local history, but also generate economic and community development in our region through construction jobs, permanent employment opportunities and state income tax revenue. Peoria has been at the forefront of this effort. Thanks to the Governor for his continued support of this important tool, which will encourage the revitalization of vacant or blighted historic and riverfront property in other communities across Illinois.
New laws support, protect military personnel
New laws to support and protect our military personnel and veterans are also among those that will be implemented in 2019.
Military personnel believed to have a physical or mental condition related to their service will now be included in the state’s definition of “high-risk missing person,” providing additional resources to help locate and safeguard these heroes, under Senate Bill 2278.
Homeless veterans will be provided a free copy of medical records by health-care facilities and practitioners to help support claims for veterans’ disability benefits, under House Bill 4848.
A new law targeting overly generous severance packages, also known as “golden parachutes,” is set to take effect on January 1.
Golden parachutes have made headlines in recent years when the College of DuPage president was awarded $762,000 at taxpayers’ expense.
Senate Bill 3604 sets severance-pay conditions for government employees to prevent situations like this from happening in the future.
The full list
There’s a lot more to know as we kick off 2019! A list of all 253 new laws is available by clicking here.