In this issue:
- New laws take effect with the New Year
- Welcome Representatives Schweizer and La Ha
- Small business grant funding available
- Illinois headlines
New laws take effect with the New Year
With the arrival of 2024 comes the enactment of more than 300 new laws which were passed by the General Assembly last year. Some are small technical corrections to existing laws, others are major changes and new statutes. Below are a few highlights.
- House Bill 2094 will protect homeowners from being tricked into unnecessary mortgage refinancing through misleading mail advertisements from mortgage companies not affiliated with the homeowner’s home lender.
- House Bill 2418 creates a pathway to expunge the criminal records of victims of human trafficking who were forced to participate in unlawful activity by their traffickers.
- House Bill 2582 streamlines the process for those under the age of 18 to apply for a motorcycle license by eliminating a duplicate test. This extra test added costs and delays to the application process.
- House Bill 2584 will help in the state’s fight against Lyme disease by allowing the Department of Natural Resources to sell Lyme disease research decals, the funds from which will be go into the Tick Research, Education and Evaluation Fund to provide grants to the Illinois Lyme Association for research toward better treatments.
- House Bill 2607 sets up a process for child abuse victims to avoid the trauma of testifying in open court. Victims under the age of 13 may testify outside the courtroom with their testimony shown in the courtroom via closed circuit television.
- House Bill 3203 helps prevent fentanyl exposure by allowing pharmacies to sell potentially life-saving fentanyl test strips over the counter.
You can find the full list of Illinois’ 2024 new laws by clicking here.
Welcome Representative Schweizer and Representative La Ha
Over the Christmas break a new Representative was sworn in just to represent a nearby portion of east-central Illinois. State Representative Brandun Schweizer (R-Danville) took the oath of office as the new legislator from the 104th district, which includes parts of Champaign and Vermilion Counties. He replaces outgoing Rep. Mike Marron, who has retired.
Rep. Schweizer is a retired Marine Corps Master Sergeant who served for 21 years. He has recently worked as a code enforcement inspector for his hometown of Danville and is a member of the IBEW union. Brandun and his wife Amy are the founders of Tiny Troops Soccer, which teaches children on military bases the basics of soccer and helps build passion for the sport and create friendships for the athletes. They reside in Danville with their three children.
Farther north, State Representative Nicole La Ha (R-Homer Glen) was sworn in to represent a suburban district. She takes the place of Rep. John Egofske of Lemont. Rep. La Ha lives in Homer Glen with her husband Dr. Christopher Zwiercan and their two children. She has served on the Home Glen board of trustees and was one of the founders of the Ability Awareness Committee in Homer Glen. In 2022 she was chosen as Mrs. America. She has worked for community accessibility and inclusive parks for children with disabilities.
Welcome to the Illinois House Rep. Schweizer and Rep. La Ha!
Small business grant funding deadline approaching
The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has made $25 million in B2B NewBiz grant money available, but applications must be received by Thursday January 11.
The program is directed toward small businesses which were launched in Illinois in 2020 and 2021, a time in which starting up a new business was even more difficult than under normal circumstances. It is meant to help generate the kind of economic foundation for a challenged new business that would have been generated under better circumstances by startup cashflow.
Our current bill backlog
When a vendor provides the state with goods and services, they submit the bill to the Illinois Comptroller for payment. The Comptroller processes the paperwork and pays the bill when funds are available in the state’s checking account. Currently the total amount of unpaid bills is $1,495,275,324. This figure changes daily. Last year at this time the state had $1.7 billion in bills awaiting payment. This only includes bills submitted to the Comptroller for payment, not unfunded debts like the state’s pension liability, which is well over $100 billion.