SPRINGFIELD — The 99th Illinois General Assembly passed 237 new laws that will take effect in Illinois on Jan. 1. These laws address topics that range from naming a state pie to divorce law to bobcat hunting.
Of the over 200 new laws, 10 of the laws affecting Illinois residents include:
Powdered alcohol ban
Introduced by State Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago), Senate Bill 67 prohibits the sale of powdered alcohol products. Powdered alcohol is is a powder containing an alcoholic beverage and is generally made using a process of micro-encapsulation. When water is added to the alcohol, it becomes an alcoholic beverage.
“Powdered alcohol is not yet for sale in the U.S. and given its potential dangers, I believe it should never enter the market,” Sen. Silverstein said on his website. “Knowing how accessible traditional alcohol already is to those susceptible to abuse - including minors - the risk of alcohol poisoning and its easily concealable form are just two reasons sales of this type of alcohol must be prevented.”
As of Jan. 1, pumpkin pie will be known as the state pie of Illinois. Illinois is one of the top growers of pumpkins in the U.S., producing more than 85 percent of pumpkins in the country.
Driver’s License after DUI
House Bill 1446 allows a person with a revoked driver’s license to apply for a restricted driving permit if certain conditions are met after a five year period. According to ilga.gov, “to be eligible for the restricted driving permit the person, must at a minimum, show by clear and convincing evidence at least 3 years of abstinence from alcohol and illegal drugs and successful completion of rehabilitative treatment.”
Senate Bill 57 makes changes to laws regarding marriage, separation, divorce and the custody of children. Beginning Jan. 1, only no-fault divorce will be available, but spouses must show irreconcilable differences after efforts to retrieve the marriage have failed.
Exposing pets to extreme weather
On Jan. 1 it will be a Class A misdemeanor for anyone who causes a dog or cat to experience injury or death from exposure to extreme weather. The law states that no owner of a dog or cat may expose the dog or cat in a manner that places the dog or cat in a life-threatening situation for a prolonged period of time in extreme heat or cold conditions.
Right to experimental drugs
Senate Bill 455 allows a pharmacist to dispense an interchangeable biological product instead of the prescribed one if certain conditions are met.
Powdered caffeine restrictions
State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) sponsored Senate Bill 9 prohibiting the sale of powdered caffeine to anyone under the age of 18. This bill was introduced in response to the death of Ohio teenager, Logan Stiner, after a caffeine powder overdose. One teaspoon of caffeine powder is equal to drinking approximately 25 cups of coffee.
“Logan Stiner’s death was a tragedy, and I wanted to be proactive about preventing minors in Illinois from being able to use a substance that, by simple mistake, could be deadly,” Bertino-Tarrant said on her website.
“Silver Alert” for people with cognitive impairments
This new law creates a Silver Alert system for missing adults diagnosed with cognitive impairments including Alzheimer’s and dementia. The Silver Alert system is similar to the Amber Alert system for missing children.
Minors will be given immunity from prosecution for calling 911 to get help for themselves or another person needing medical attention. The law is designed to encourage teens not to avoid calling for medical help for fear of being arrested due to underage drinking.
This new law legalizes hunting the formerly endangered bobcats in an effort to keep the bobcat population under control.
A full list of the laws that will go into effect Jan. 1 can be found at http://illinoissenatedemocrats.com/images/PDFS/2015/2016-New-Illinois-Laws.pdf.