Dozens of new laws were signed by the Governor during the week of August 4-8, including a series of child-protection measures, as well as bills on topics as varied as off-road vehicles, search warrants, unmanned drones and animal welfare.
The flurry of bill signings was a run-up to the Illinois State Fair, which runs August 8-17 at the Fairgrounds in Springfield. Governors have traditionally signed numerous pieces of legislation during the Fair, often themed to particular days at the Fair, such as Veterans Day (August 10) or Senior Citizens Day (August 11).
The Governor also issued his first amendatory veto of the year, expanding the scope of Senate Bill 1630. As passed by lawmakers, the bill spells out billing practices of “anatomic pathology services.” The Governor expanded the measure to impose greater restrictions and disciplinary action on doctors who improperly mark up a medical bill.
More Quinn Hiring Woes
The Quinn Administration continues to draw heat for its hiring practices. An Associated Press story released August 6 revealed that while the Governor claims his office corrected problems with political hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Administration is refusing to release information on what the fix actually was.
The Associated Press requested information on what actions the agency took to curb political hiring, but was denied access to records. The Quinn Administration argued that the actions they took are preliminary and therefore not subject to a Freedom of Information Request.
According to the Associated Press, the Freedom of Information denial “contradicts the administration’s assertion that it fixed the problems in the spring. The administration is also refusing to disclose the guidelines the government has used for two decades to decide which jobs must be open to any applicant and which can be given to someone because of his or her political connections.”
A well-intentioned but potentially troublesome measure aimed at addressing “cyber-bullying” was also signed. House Bill 4207 drew criticism because it requires schools to intervene in cases of electronic bullying, even if it occurs off-campus and uses private computers, cell phones, tablets or other electronic devices.
While acknowledging that bullying through social media platforms is a serious concern, opponents argued that expecting schools to regulate speech that occurs outside of the school day and off school property breaks new grounds, places an unrealistic burden on schools, sets a dangerous precedent and is very likely to be found unconstitutional.
New senator takes oath of office
Illinois’s newest state senator was sworn in August 6. Senator Chris Nybo of Elmhurst took the oath of office to represent the 24th Senate District.
Senator Nybo was appointed to replace outgoing Senator Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, who resigned to become chairman of the Chicago-area Regional Transportation Authority.
“It’s a great honor to have been selected to be the new 24th District Senator, and I look forward to representing the constituents in the fine tradition of my predecessor, Senator Kirk Dillard,” Senator Nybo said. “Our state is in need of serious leadership and reform. I pledge to be that voice in Springfield.”
Bills signed into law
Bills continue to be signed into law as the annual deadline for Governor’s action approaches. Each year, the General Assembly has 30 days to send legislation to the Governor’s desk and he has 60 days to act on the bills.
Because the Legislature adjourned at the beginning of June, all measures must be either approved or vetoed by the end of August.
Information about the bills signed into law during the week of August 4-8 is available by clicking here.