More than 125 new laws were signed in recent days, as the deadline for the Governor to act on legislation from the General Assembly’s spring session nears. The measures cover topics as wide ranging as smoking on campus to fur trapping to dangerous new “designer” drugs.
Audit hits ‘faulty’ bookkeeping
A federal audit has revealed that Illinois spent more than it was allowed under its federal Medicaid account, the Chicago Tribune reports.
An audit by the Inspector General at the United States Department of Health and Human Services cited Illinois for “faulty” and “imprecise” bookkeeping, revealing the state took out an average of $60 million more than it was entitled to each quarter between 2010 and 2012.
Beginning on July 1, 2015, smoking will be prohibited on the campuses of all state-supported institutions of higher education and public community colleges, under Senate Bill 2202.
A controversial section of the legislation that would prohibit smoking inside of a private vehicle that is parked on campus was removed by a companion measure, House Bill 3961, which was also signed into law.
In response to a powerful new hallucinogenic synthetic drug which has caused overdoses and fatalities in youth, Senate Bill 3275 would add “25I-NBOMe,” “25B-NBOMe” and “25C-NBOMe” to the list of Schedule One controlled substances.
The drugs have been marketed as an LSD substitute as they target the same serotonin receptor as many other hallucinogens including LSD. Small amounts can cause seizures, cardiac and respiratory arrest, and death. According to the DEA, reports from medical examiners link at least 19 deaths of people ages 15-29 years in the U.S. between March 2012 and August 2013.
House Bill 5526 prohibits a person younger than 18 from knowingly possessing kratom or using a fake ID to attempt to obtain a product containing kratom. Kratom comes from the leaves of a tree native to Southeast Asia and has been sold for medicinal purposes; however, teens are showing up in emergency rooms after using it to get high.
Another measure, House Bill 4093, clarifies state law by adding an aggravating factor to methamphetamine manufacture if it occurs within 1,000 feet of school property, rather than simply 1,000 feet from a school building.
House Bill 5079 is an initiative of the Illinois Trappers Association meant to assure that trappers meet state standards. It will require that anyone who has not held a valid trapping license within three years preceding the license application must provide evidence of trapping competency.
The upswing in fur prices in the last few years have led to an increase in people trapping for the first time. It has been found that many of these trappers have little or no real knowledge of how to trap, resulting in an increase in non-targeted animals (such as dogs and cats) being inadvertently captured.
Fire department grants available
A reminder to local communities of a September 30 deadline to apply for grants for firefighting equipment through the State Fire Marshal’s Small Equipment Grant Program.
The program offers grants to local fire departments and fire protection districts of up to $26,000. Information and an application form is available on the State Fire Marshal’s Web site.
Bills signed into law
Bills continue to be signed into law as the 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 18-22 is available by clicking here.