January 1 New Laws

Click here to view a full list of new laws taking effect January 1, 2020.

Notable New Laws:

Recreational cannabis sales begin Jan. 1

Starting January 1, Illinois will join ten other states and the District of Columbia in allowing for the sale and use of recreational cannabis.

Once the new year begins, Illinois residents 21 and older can buy and possess up to 30 grams of cannabis or 5 grams of concentrate from a licensed dispensary. Out of state residents will only be able to purchase up to 15 grams of cannabis or 2.5 grams of concentrate. Furthermore, medical marijuana cardholders will be allowed to grow up to 5 plants.

Although sales will begin January 1, the number of locations consumers will be able to purchase cannabis products from will be limited for several months. That’s because the state is currently only approving recreational licenses for existing medical cannabis dispensaries. The state will begin to award licenses for new business owners later in the year.

As of December 11, 30 medical dispensaries have been approved to sell recreational cannabis starting January 1. However, the new law allows local municipalities to deny the sale of recreational cannabis within their jurisdiction. Therefore, depending on local ordinance, not all approved medical dispensaries will be allowed to sell cannabis for recreational use.

As a reminder from law enforcement agencies, public consumption and driving under the influence of cannabis is still illegal.

Strengthening Scott’s Law

2019 will be a year the Illinois State Police never forget. With three tragic deaths and numerous other incidents causing injuries, 2019 broke records early in the year for the number of accidents involving our State Troopers along Illinois roadways.

The drastic increase prompted the Illinois State Police to ramp up patrols to enforce Scott’s Law, more commonly known as the “move over law,” requiring drivers to reduce speed and switch lanes when approaching an emergency vehicle on the side of the road. As of November 3, 5,860 tickets had been issued for Scott’s Law violations. During the same period in 2018, 738 citations were given.

The General Assembly and the Governor also took the tragic incidents of 2019 seriously and passed several measures into law. Beginning January 1:

  • The minimum fine for violating Scott’s Law will increase from $100 to $250 for the first violation and $750 for the second violation.
  • Those who violate Scott’s Law and cause an injury or death will be charged with a Class 4 felony.
  • The Scott’s Law Fund will be created to educate motorists on the importance of Scott’s Law.
  • The Secretary of State will be required to include at least one question about Scott’s Law on the written driving test.

Increased traffic fines

Illinois motorists may want to think twice about disobeying traffic laws next year. Starting January 1, drivers can expect to pay more for passing a stopped school bus and speeding through a construction zone.

House Bill 1873/PA 101-0055 increases the fine for passing a stopped school bus that has its stop arm displayed from $150 to $300 for the first offense and from $500 to $1,000 for the second or subsequent offense. Similarly, Senate Bill 1496/PA 101-0172 increases the fine from $10,000 to $25,000 for failing to reduce speed when approaching a construction zone.

New rules of the road

Some changes are coming about what is not allowed on Illinois’ roadways. Beginning January 1, Senate Bill 87/PA 101-0189 will make it illegal for vehicles to have tinted or smoked lights. Law enforcement officials say these lights often make it difficult to see the vehicle. 

Also, starting in the new year, Senate Bill 86/PA 101-0297 will add to the current ban on cell phone use while driving by prohibiting drivers from operating a vehicle while also watching or streaming video on a device.

Baby changing stations required in all public buildings

Finding a location to change that little one’s diaper will become a lot easier for parents starting in 2020. House Bill 3711/PA 101-0293 requires all public buildings with restrooms open to the public to have at least one baby diaper changing station accessible to both men and women. Additionally, signage is required near the entrance indicating the location of the diaper changing station.

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