Happy New Year 2020! I sincerely hope that you were able to enjoy some time off and relaxation with friends, family and loved ones throughout the holiday season. As a new year begins, I want to offer you some information on new laws that took effect January 1, 2020.
In 2019, Governor Pritzker signed 591 bills into law and vetoed 8.
Not every piece of legislation passed and signed last year was monumental, but there were several substantive changes worth noting. Examples of these major legislative items include the legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use, the passage of expanded abortion rights and use of taxpayer dollars for abortive procedures, an increase in the minimum wage to $15/hr, a record-spending $40 billion budget, and a $45 billion capital infrastructure bill that raised $1.7 billion in taxes and fees. As your State Representative, I did not support any of the aforementioned policy changes.
The General Assembly took action itself to create some important task forces to study critical issues. Examples of these include the Joint Commission on Lobbying and Ethics Reform, Property Tax Reform, Firearms Public Awareness and Rural Economic Development Task Forces, as well as a task force charged with studying the possible reopening and repurposing of the shuttered Tamms Correctional Center’s Minimum Security facility. I am proud to serve on the ethics reform and Tamms task forces, although the jury is still out on whether any of these task forces will produce any results for the people of Illinois.
New Laws I Sponsored
In 2019, I was proud to carry two pieces of legislation aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence and stalking. Both of these bills passed the House and Senate with unanimous support.
HB 2308 (now Public Act 101-0138) allows a judge to prohibit a defendant from contacting victims or witnesses from jail while awaiting trial. Inmates awaiting trial sometimes use their phone privileges to harass victims while waiting for their court date. When someone goes to law enforcement asking for protection, they should be able to rely on the fact that they will be kept safe from their aggressor.
HB 2309 (now Public Act 101-0255) also passed the House with unanimous support. The new law says that when a petition for an emergency stalking no- contact order, a civil no-contact order, or an emergency order of protection is filed, the petition and court order will not be publicly available until the order is served on the offending individual. The law is another tool to help protect individuals in potentially dangerous situations where domestic violence or abuse takes place.
More New Laws to Know
Want to know more? There are many news outlets that worked hard to provide information on more new laws for 2020. I’ve provided a few links below for your reference. Stay informed and know the law!
State Fire Marshal Offers Small Equipment Grants
The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal is now accepting applications for the competitive Small Equipment Grant program. The program allows fire departments, fire protection districts and township fire departments, as well as not-for-profit EMS providers to access up to $26,000 in grant funds for specific purposes as outlined in program documents.
Applications must be postmarked no later than February 29, 2020. A total of $3.5 million is available for this application cycle.
For further details please visit:
My office in Harrisburg is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. You can reach me any time by calling 618-294-8703 or contact me via my website at www.ilhousegop.org/contactwindhorst or by emailing Windhorst@ILHouseGOP.org
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