Minimum wage hike, pets in public housing among new changes to Illinois laws

A law allowing public housing tenants to keep pets is the result of Senate Bill 154, by Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, and Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego.

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The Illinois State Capitol.

Lawmakers in Springfield passed a slew of laws this year that take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

AP file

SPRINGFIELD — Minimum wage workers in Illinois will see a boost in their hourly pay to $12 per hour starting Jan. 1, while tenants in affordable housing units will be allowed to keep pets.

Those are just some of the more than 300 new laws taking effect in the new year.

The minimum wage increase is the result of a 2019 law that phases in a state minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. This year, it will increase by a dollar to $12 an hour.

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The law allowing public housing tenants to keep pets is the result of Senate Bill 154 by Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, and Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego. It states that tenants of multifamily housing units acquired, built or renovated with money from the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund may keep up to two cats or one dog, as long as the dog weighs less than 50 pounds.

It applies to residents of units designated as affordable housing for low- and very-low-income families. The bill passed both chambers on May 30; Gov. JB Pritzker signed it into law on Aug. 6.

Other new laws:

Vehicle taxes: Senate Bill 58 raises the private vehicle tax, a sales tax paid on the purchase of vehicles, by $75 when the sale price is less than $15,000 and by $100 for vehicles priced above that amount. The registration fee for trailers weighing less than 3,000 pounds will drop to $3 from its current $118.

College admissions: House Bill 226, establishing the Higher Education Fair Admissions Act, prohibits public colleges and universities from requiring applicants to submit SAT, ACT or other standardized test scores as part of the admissions process, although prospective students may choose to submit them.

Drug prices:Senate Bill 1682 requires pharmacies to post a notice informing consumers that they may request current pharmacy retail prices at the point of sale.

FOID card changes: House Bill 562 makes several changes to the firearm owner’s identification card law. Among other things, it provides for a streamlined renewal process for FOID cards and concealed carry licenses for people who voluntarily submit fingerprint records. It also allows the Illinois State Police to issue a combined FOID card and concealed carry license to qualified applicants. And, it establishes a new Violent Crime Intelligence Task Force to take enforcement action against people with revoked FOID cards.

What a FOID card looks like.

What an Illinois FOID card looks like. Several changes in the law governing the issuance and renewal of those cards take effect Jan. 1, 2022.


Student mental health: House Bill 576 and Senate Bill 1577 allow students in Illinois up to five excused absences to attend to their mental or behavioral health without providing a medical note. Those students will get an opportunity to make up any work they missed during the first absence and, after using a second mental health day, may be referred to the appropriate school support personnel.

Official flags: House Bill 605 states that Illinois and U.S. flags purchased by state agencies and institutions must be made in the United States.

Hairstyles: Senate Bill 817 prohibits discrimination in schools against individuals on the grounds of wearing natural or ethnic hairstyles, which include dreadlocks, braids, twists and afros.

Lemonade stands: Senate Bill 119 prohibits public health authorities from regulating or shutting down lemonade stands or similar operations that are being run by children under age 16. Known as “Hayli’s Law,” it was inspired by 12-year-old Hayli Martinez, whose lemonade stand in Kankakee was shut down by local officials.

Juneteenth: House Bill 3922 recognizes June 19, or “Juneteenth,” as an official state holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States. In June, President Joe Biden also has signed a bill designating Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

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