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Top 12 New Laws Taking Effect January 1, 2013

Written by Senate Democratic Caucus Staff

Senate Democrats spent a great deal of time during the 97th General Assembly working to implement new laws that will protect the citizens of Illinois. Here are some of the most interesting and notable measures taking effect on January 1, 2013.

Businesses deemed to be “live adult entertainment facilities” that either serve or permit the consumption of alcohol on their premises are subject to an annual surcharge amounting to $3 per person that is admitted to the facility.  The revenue collected through these means will be used to create grants for sexual assault organizations whose funding had previously been dramatically cut by the state legislature.

Studies have proven a correlation between adult entertainment facilities and increased rates of violence and property crimes in neighborhoods that contain such a facility.

“Victims of sexual assault must be able to access emergency services to fully recover from their traumatic experiences,” bill sponsor Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. “I am hopeful the extra funding for sexual assault centers will ensure no victim is turned away for care when they need it the most.”

New revenue for DNR The former governor of Illinois gutted the budget of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, impacting state parks, museums and many other historical attractions.  In order to supplement the funding lost, a new law was designed which charges small fees for various permits, registrations and assessments.  Additionally, usage fees will be assessed on non-Illinois residents who use Illinois state parks. These fees should help IDNR keep facilities open and continue operations, including maintenance, roadway and facility construction.

Diversion program for first time, non-violent offenders  Starting Jan. 1, Illinois law will allow first-time, non-violent offenders to participate in a two-year diversion program similar to probation. Once they successfully complete the program, their records will immediately be expunged, increasing their odds of getting a job and staying out of prison.

Strengthened laws to protect children “Caylee’s Law” was drafted in response to the recent death of Caylee Anthony. Caylee was last seen on June 15, 2008, but her mother, Casey, waited a month before alerting the authorities to Caylee’s disappearance. “Caylee’s Law” makes it a felony for a parent or guardian to fail to report the disappearance of a child within 24 hours of the child going missing and also makes it a crime to fail to report the death of a child.

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Read the full list here.

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