Our Chicago: New Year, New Illinois Laws

ByKay Cesinger WLS logo
Sunday, December 31, 2023
Our Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The new year brings more than 300 new laws in Illinois.

They cover such matters as book bans, utilities and items that may obstruct a person's view while driving. An important one for those who work is Illinois' new "Paid Leave For All Workers Act."

READ MORE | New Illinois laws 2024: Full list of laws taking effect Jan. 1

New Illinois laws in 2024 cover topics like items hanging from rear-view mirrors and non-citizens being allowed to become police officers.

"All workers will receive up to five days of paid time off," said Bryan Zarou, director of policy with the Better Government Association. "And for any reason at all. They don't have to tell their employer whether they're using it for sick time, vacation time, kid's sick, it doesn't matter anymore. So, for every 40 hours somebody works they get one hour of paid time off."

Zarou said he thinks the goal of the law is to provide more equity in the workplace.

The Chicago city council approved a measure to expand paid time off from work. However, the city ordinance won't take effect on January first.

"It's been controversial because the business community, particularly the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, has issues with it because they feel it'll put an undue burden on employers in terms of their costs," said ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington, "So the city council made some revisions and backed up some of the provisions so that some of it won't go into effect immediately."

Bryan Zarou, director of policy with the Better Government Association, and ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington explain some new Illinois laws coming in 2024.

Illinois will also now permit some non-citizens to become police officers. It had bipartisan support in the Illinois General Assembly. But the law has its opponents.

"They believe that this will allow people who are here illegally to become police officers and they feel that's inappropriate and dangerous," said Washington, "But the law is not that broad. It specifically covers people, people who are eligible, if they are approved to become police officers would be people who are legal permanent residents, people who are green card holders and, in some cases, people who are under DACA, the deferred action program for young people who have come here. But they also have to be approved to carry firearms. And that's also something that has to meet federal approval."

One of the new laws prohibits police from pulling over a drive solely because of items hanging from the rear view mirror of their cars.

"This law was originally put in place because it was thought that these fuzzy dice or in my case, I have my children's faces hanging from the rear view mirror, will be a distraction for drivers," said Zarou, "But, number one, this law is a little bit archaic, and unfortunately the incident that happened in Minnesota, a year or two ago, where unfortunately an African-American male was stopped because he had something hanging from his mirror. And the officer unfortunately, instead of pulling out her Taser, pulled out her gun and unfortunately killed the man. And she pulled him over originally because of that reason." Washington added, "Sometimes it's used as a pretense, at least police officers have been accused of using it as a pretense. They see someone they think is suspicious and they don't really have anything specific, other than that. And that's kind of an abuse, and I think that was part of the intention behind the law."