With the coming of the new year, Illinois implemented more than 200 new laws you don’t want to be left in the dark about. Don’t worry, though – these 18 laws that just went into effect are all beneficial. They preserve the rights of Illinois citizens in ways that are progressive and which make our state a leader in social justice.
Stay up to date on your rights as an Illinoisan no matter your age or situation. Keep scrolling for the legislation that has finally come into play.
1. Pet parents
As of January 1, 2018, if you get divorced in Illinois, a judge may be called upon to decide the custody of your pets. The decision is based on who pays for them and who takes care of them most.
2. Elephants' rights
In another step in the right direction for animals, it is now illegal in Illinois to force elephants to perform in a circus act. Though many other species are often used for entertainment, elephants are notoriously significant to circuses, and this law likely prevents them from doing good business here.
3. Animals in laboratories
This is one of the best new laws for animals. Scientists are now required to find suitable homes for the dogs and cats they use for research. Rather than dump them on the streets or in a shelter, these lab animals get to find adoptive homes.
4. Preschoolers' rights
Preschools in Illinois are no longer allowed to expel children under their care. These institutions are now required to develop alternative methods for helping children who misbehave rather than just throwing them out.
5. Breastfeeding in school
As of the new year, public and charter schools must supply appropriate accommodations for girls who are breastfeeding. It isn't always easy for a postnatal student to find a private place to pump or feed, but now their schools will be required to supply one.
6. Tampons in public schools
This law is another win for women's rights. It demands that schools supply feminine products at no cost to students. Like toilet paper, pads and tampons are essential to a hygienic bathroom experience.
7. Pre-existing medical conditions
Before the new year, many sick Illinoisans had a hard time finding coverage, but now insurance companies are barred from denying anyone benefits due to a pre-existing condition. This amazing law affects old and young like and is a huge win for human rights.
8. Listing prices
It is now a law in Illinois to list prices for services at businesses. This seems like a no-brainer, but there is evidence that women are often charged more for services at businesses like dry cleaners, tailors, and hair salons.
9. Internet bullying
As of January 1, 2018, it can be considered a hate crime to stalk or otherwise harass someone online. It's important to take this form of obscenity seriously as it is happening more and more, especially among our youth.
10. Religious rights
Crimes committed at churches, mosques, synagogues, and other places of worship can now be tried as hate crimes in Illinois. Due to the general increase in hate crimes, this is an important one.
11. Test driving
You may notice that the cars at the dealership are looking a little less muddled these days. That's because one of the new laws in Illinois dictates that all paperwork and decals must be removed from a car before it leaves the lot, and that includes for a test drive. This law was implemented because a man died in an accident due to a driver who could not see him for all the stickers in the window that were in his way.
12. Human remains
Another new law in Illinois for 2018 dictates that the Department of Natural Resources has a say in where you choose to scatter your loved one's ashes. It's all about safety. You don't want grandma blowing through someone's campsite, and nether do the campers.
13. Cyclists' rights
Illinois is a huge biking state, but there have always been restrictions on where cyclists can go. Well, a new law just made it easier to get to work. Cyclists can now legally travel on the shoulder of a highway.
14. Organ donors
Prior to 2018, in the state of Illinois, teenagers ages 16 and 17 were not allowed to register as organ donors, but a new law says they can. Due to the high demand for organ transplants in the state, this law makes it possible for more life-saving opportunities.
15. Gender Identification
Illinois has made it possible for its residents to change their legal gender designation without undergoing a sex change. A doctor's permission is required, and of course, there is paperwork, but this means residents have a cheaper and safer option for identifying as their true selves.
16. Barack Obama Day
Some new laws in Illinois are less like laws and more like guidelines. For instance, August 4, 2018 will be the first official Barack Obama Day to commemorate the 44th president.
17. The official state exercise
It should come at no surprise that cycling is the state's official exercise. You likely see professionals and amateurs alike cycling each day before and/or after work.
18. The official grain
Of course Illinois needs an official grain, and of course it's corn. Ah, corn. With more than 80 percent of our land being fields and most of that being for maize, this too comes as no surprise.