CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new year means more new laws in Illinois.
More than 300 new Illinois laws took effect on Jan. 1, 2024. They cover a range of topics from public health to public education, pet adoptions and drug education.
Here's a look at some of the highlights of the new laws that take effect on New Year's Day. You can click here to see a full list of Illinois' new laws in 2024.
The minimum wage in Illinois is going up again.
In Illinois, the minimum wage will increase to $14 an hour for non-tipped workers, $8.40 an hour for tipped workers and $12 an hour for youths under 18 working less than 650 hours per calendar year.
Illinois workers will now be able to take paid time off for any reason as the Illinois Paid Leave for All Workers Act goes into effect.
Most employers in the state will be required to provide 40 hours of paid time off to their workers, and employees can request their days off with only seven days notice. If it's an unplanned absence that could not be foreseen they only need to request the time off as soon as possible.
The law also says employers cannot require or ask their staff to find a replacement to work for them if they need to take time off, and are prohibited from discriminating against workers who take time off by lowering their hours or not giving them opportunities for advancement.
House Bill 2789 is a first-in-the-nation law prohibiting state-funded libraries from banning or removing materials due to religious or partisan disapproval.
Gov. JB Pritzker signed the historic legislation in June. The law was pushed by Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, who is also the state's librarian, and is a response to the backlash in many local school districts against controversial books, particularly some championed by the LGBTQ community.
House Bill 2789 declares it to be the policy of Illinois to "encourage and protect the freedom of libraries and library systems to acquire materials without external limitation and to be protected against attempts to ban, remove, or otherwise restrict access to books or other materials."
It also requires that, as a condition for being eligible for state grants, libraries and library systems must adopt either the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights or some other written statement prohibiting the practice of banning books or other materials.
House Bill 1541 prohibits utility companies from cutting off gas or electric services for Illinois residential users because they haven't paid their bill on days when the temperature exceeds 90 degrees, or when there is a heat watch, advisory or warning.
Chicago tied records this summer as a multi-day heat dome drove temperatures into the triple digits. Heat can be deadly to senior citizens, children, people with health issues and other vulnerable populations, and low-income Illinoisans are more vulnerable to having their gas or electricity turned off due to nonpayment during dangerous heat waves. This new law ensures all residents have access to air conditioning, electric fans and other in-home cooling services during dangerous weather.
House Bill 2245 requires Illinois car manufacturers to establish a vehicle theft hotline to help locate stolen vehicles using their existing global positioning (GPS) systems.
Car thefts and carjackings have been on the rise in recent years, with data from May showing car thefts in Chicago were up 20% in 2022 compared to 2021.
Recently a north suburban family sued Volkswagen after their car was stolen outside their home with their child inside. Taylor Shepherd, who was 24 weeks pregnant at the time, was run over but able to call 911, telling them she had a tracking device in her car. However, Volkswagen allegedly refused to give law enforcement GPS location data from the car because the tracker's free trial period had ended.
The Shepherds filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen in November.
Lawmakers this spring approved a new protection for victims of "deepfake porn." Starting in 2024, people who are falsely depicted in sexually explicit images or videos will be able to sue the creator of that material.
The law is an amendment to the state's existing protections for victims of "revenge porn," which went into effect in 2015.
In recent years, deepfakes - images and videos that falsely depict someone - have become more sophisticated with the advent of more readily available artificial intelligence tools. Women are disproportionately the subject of deepfake porn.
Some sponsors of the legislation, notably chief sponsor Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, D-Glenview, have indicated interest in further regulating the use of artificial intelligence.
House Bill 3924 requires high schools to teach about the dangers of fentanyl in all state-required health courses.
According to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, there were a record 2,000 opioid overdose deaths in 2022. They reported that more than half of the victims are African American and more than 91% of opioid overdose deaths involve fentanyl, which is up to 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.
This early education about the dangers of fentanyl, what drugs are often laced with it, how to test for it, and how to use Narcan if you're around someone who has overdosed could save lives.
Keep your eyes on the road! Texting and driving is already punishable by law, and House Bill 2431 expands that, prohibiting drivers from using an electronic device to participate in video conferences or access social media sites while driving.
It's long been illegal in Illinois to hang an object that obstructs a driver's view from a rearview mirror, but House Bill 2389 clarifies existing law to ensure no vehicle can be stopped and searched solely because of any objects placed or suspended between the driver and the front windshield that may obstruct the driver's view,. That includes navigation systems, air fresheners and even fuzzy dice.
Senate Bill 1883 prohibits keepers of bears and nonhuman primates from allowing members of the general public to come into contact with them. Violators of the law would be subject to a Class B misdemeanor. "General public" does not include employees at the facility where the animal is kept, veterinarians or professional film crews.
House Bill 1540 expands the state's laws to keep public spaces smoke free. Under this new law, use of electronic cigarettes, or vapes, are prohibited in public places and within 15 feet of building entrances.
House Bill 2500 requires animal shelters and animal control facilities to waive the adoption fee for any pet for military veterans in Illinois.
Senate Bill 380 provides a civil cause of action for fertility fraud against health care providers and doctors who knowingly or intentionally use their own sperm without the patient's informed written consent for assisted reproductive treatment like IVF.
Cases of fertility fraud have made headlines for years, but victims often have not had a clear course of action to take when they find out their trust and bodily rights have been betrayed. While such fraud may feel like sexual assault, it doesn't meet the criminal or even civil definitions of sexual assault or battery.
This law helps victims get justice.
Tracy Simmons with Illinois Legal Aid One joined ABC7 to discuss some more laws going into effect in the new year, including a state-wide minimum wage increase.
For more resources from Illinois Legal Aid, click here.
Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report