As the calendar turns over to 2024, Illinois ushers in a slew of new laws, ranging from employment policies to public health initiatives and unique social mandates. CBS 2’s Lauren Victory reports on several noteworthy changes that took effect on January 1, 2024.
Paid Leave for Illinois Workers
One of the headline-grabbing laws centers around paid leave, providing Illinois workers the assurance that taking time off work won’t result in financial setbacks. The legislation stipulates that employees can now accrue one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, offering a safety net for those needing temporary breaks without sacrificing income.
Expansion of Indoor Smoking Ban to Include Vaping
A development that may find favor among tourists and residents alike is the expansion of Illinois’ indoor smoking ban to include vaping or the use of electronic cigarettes. The law categorically prohibits vaping inside public spaces such as restaurants, hospitals, schools, and other designated areas. Additionally, individuals engaging in vaping must not only step outside but move at least 15 feet away from building entrances.
In response to the alarming number of opioid-related deaths among adolescents, a new law mandates the inclusion of fentanyl education in high school health classes. Starting from the 2024-2025 school year, all school districts in Illinois are required to teach students about the dangers, legal and illegal uses, and the prevalence of fentanyl-laced drugs. The curriculum will also cover recognizing and preventing overdoses, equipping students with crucial knowledge about this potent synthetic opioid.
Prohibition of Book Bans in Illinois Libraries
Illinois takes a stand for intellectual freedom by becoming the first state to prohibit book bans. The law, signed by Governor JB Pritzker in June, ensures that libraries risk losing funding if they remove any literature based on political or personal reasons. Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias emphasized the importance of this legislation, asserting that book banning contradicts the fundamental principles of democracy and freedom of expression.
In a move aimed at bolstering bicyclist safety, an amendment to the Illinois Vehicle Code now requires warning signs to be posted at least 150 feet before highway crossings on paved trails. This proactive measure aims to reduce the risk of accidents and enhance the awareness of cyclists approaching road intersections.
Gender-Neutral Restrooms in Businesses
Illinois introduces legislation allowing businesses to create multi-occupancy gender-neutral restrooms if they choose to do so. While not mandatory, this law outlines specific requirements for such restrooms, including stalls with floor-to-ceiling dividers that lock, and the exclusion of urinals.
These diverse legislative changes showcase Illinois’ commitment to addressing contemporary issues, fostering inclusivity, and prioritizing public health and safety as the state ventures into the New Year.