Increased penalties for people convicted of terrorism, Facebook requests by employers, and the possession of shark fins are the subjects of three new laws on the Illinois books.
More than 150 new laws are now in place and ready for enforcement, as of Jan. 1, according to the Illinois General Assembly website. Among the new laws are the following:
• Terrorism (HB 5121/PA 97‐990): Provides that a prisoner convicted of an attempt to commit terrorism must serve at least 85 percent of their sentence, rather than the customary 50 percent.
• Aiding a Fugitive (SB 2520/PA 97-741): Allows the state to prosecute family members who help a fugitive flee the state in order to avoid prosecution. Family members who help their relatives skip the country could face felony charges. Previously, immediate family members could not be prosecuted for concealing or aiding a fugitive.
• HB 4081/PA 97-0846: Adds an exception to the state’s eavesdropping laws to allow law enforcement officers to receive approval from a state’s attorney to record or listen with the aid of an eavesdropping device during the course of an investigation into a felony drug violation.
• Car Accidents (SB 3409/PA 97‐763): Allows persons to move their vehicles to the nearest off‐ramp, access road or other safe location following an accident if it is a property damage‐only accident.
• Disability Plate Fraud (HB 5056/PA 97‐844): Increases penalties for using another person’s or a deceased person’s disability plate, decal or device.
• Elder Abuse Records (HB 5266/PA 97‐864): Expands the list of persons and agencies that have access to all records that have been generated as the result of a report of elder abuse, neglect, financial exploitation or self‐neglect investigations. Entities affected include law enforcement agencies, fire department agencies or fire protection districts.
• Electronic Games (HB 4320/PA 97‐1126): Clarifies that electronic, mechanical or computer‐generated games of skill are not considered gambling so long as the value of the potential prize does not exceed $25 per single play of the device. Prizes must be in merchandise form only.
• Facebook/Social Media Privacy (HB3782/PA 97‐875): Prohibits employers from requesting or requiring any current or prospective employee to provide any account information, including passwords, in order to gain access to the employee’s social networking website.
• FOID Cards (SB 1034/PA 97‐1131): Makes a number of changes to state FOID laws. Clarifies the law to ensure people who have been convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” are not issued FOID cards. Restricts issuance of FOID cards to non‐Illinois residents. Enhances mental health reporting by courts to ISP. Addresses Amish religious concern regarding photographs. Provides more accountability for seized/confiscated/revoked cards being returned to ISP.
• Gold Star License Plates (SB 2494/PA 97‐723): Makes Gold Star license plates available to family members, including siblings, of a person who has lost his/her life while serving in the Armed Forces.
• Shark Fin Ban (HB 4119/PA 97‐733): Prohibits a person from possessing, selling, trading, distributing or trying to sell a shark fin on or after Jan. 1, 2013.
Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.