When calendars turn to 2018 there will be more than 200 new laws that go into effect in Illinois.
Here are some changes that will happen when the clock hits midnight on New Year’s Eve:
Sixteen- and 17-year-olds will have the option of signing up to be organ and tissue donors when they apply for a driver’s license or identification card. Currently, a person has to be at least 18 years old to register to be an organ donor when applying for a driver’s license.
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Keeping a cell phone number
Domestic violence survivors will be allowed to petition a court in order to keep their current cell phone number without approval of primary account holder. The petitioner may request transfer of each telephone number that the petitioner, or a minor child in his or her custody uses.
Custody over pets
When a couple gets divorced there may be pets involved and who gets to keep Fido may become an issue. Custody over pets can now become part of a divorce proceedings. The custody of pets can be shared and pets have to be treated as property that one person gets to keep. Parties may also enter into an agreement allocating the sole or joint ownership of or responsibility for a pet.
When you drive off from a car dealership after buying the vehicle, or before test-driving the vehicle, signs, decals, paperwork, or other material on the front windshield or on the windows adjacent to each side of the driver, have to be removed.
“This traffic safety measure is a common-sense solution that removes potential obstructions from the front and side windows of a vehicle prior to being driven off the lot of an automobile dealer,” Secretary of State Jesse White said in a news release. “We want to make sure that the driver’s vantage point is not impeded in any situation.”
ID bracelets for nursing home residents
Nursing homes may require residents in Alzheimer’s disease units, and with a history of wandering, to wear identification bracelets. Guardians or power of attorney may direct that the bracelet be removed. The ID bracelets will be required to have the resident’s name, the name of the facility as well as its address and telephone number. The law is meant to enure the resident’s safety.
Mammogram coverage to include MRIs
Starting on Jan. 1, insurance companies will have to include coverage of MRIs of an entire breast or breasts if a mammogram shows heterogeneous or dense breast tissue, when a doctor determines it to be medically necessary. Insurance companies are already required to provide baseline mammogram coverage for women between 35 and 39 years old and annual mammograms for women 40 and older.
Service price lists
In order to prevent women from paying more than men for services, such as haircuts, or dry cleaning, price lists for those services now have to be made available. Businesses such as tailors, barbershops, hair salons, dry cleaners, and laundries will have to post a service price list.
No more doctor shopping
When doctors prescribe a prescription for opioids, they will have to check the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program, as well as keep a record of their action. Checking the PMP would help prescribers catch “doctor shoppers” who are trying to fraudulently obtain multiple prescriptions for controlled substances.
Doctor shoppers are considered people who see three or more prescribers and fill prescriptions at three or more pharmacies. The law is meant to help fight the opioid epidemic.
Military personnel relocation
Military service members who have to relocate for at least 90 days may terminate or suspend contracts for Internet services, television and cable services, gym memberships, or satellite radio services. The new law also allows returning military members to reinstate the original provisions of contracts after completing their service.
Service dogs for veterans
Military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or depression will be eligible to receive service dogs through the Helping Paws Service Program. State law will ensure that veterans with PTSD or depression are included among eligible disabilities.
Clinton County flood relief
Clinton County residents who were effected by the spring floods, may be able to claim the Natural Disaster Income Tax Credit on their 2017 state income tax returns. Residents will be able to claim a tax credit of up to $750 if they had property damaged because of flooding in Clinton County and do not receive a natural disaster homestead exemption on their property taxes.
Through the ambulance revolving loan program, a maximum loan for a new ambulance will be $200,000, an increase from $100,000, in order to help local emergency departments purchase the most modern and up-to-date ambulances.
“This new law will help ease the burden for local governments when making improvements to our public safety,” said state Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville.
No more elephant acts
Circuses or any other traveling animal act no longer may have elephants as part of their shows while in Illinois. Ringling Brothers Circus itself ended its elephants acts in 2016, and retired its elephants to a conservation center in Florida.
A new law prohibits part-time officeholders, who are elected or appointed, from participating or receiving benefits from the Illinois Municipal League Retirement Fund. An officeholder is considered part-time if the position requires working less than 1,000 hours a year for the local unit of government.
Will there at least be birthday cake?
Aug 4. will be known as Barack Obama Day in Illinois. The former president’s birthday, however, will only be commemorative, and will not result in workplace closures.