Every year, the General Assembly of Illinois passes new state laws which the Governor signs and approves. This year Illinois will have approximately 200 new laws on the books that could affect a wide range of citizens. A few of the most interesting and important new laws of 2017 are described below.
H.B. 6083, H.B. 4715 - These two laws are known collectively as "Molly's Law". The laws arise from the facts surrounding the death of 21 year old Molly Young. Molly's father attempted to file a wrongful death suit against Molly's boyfriend, but the case was dismissed because the statute of limitations, two years, had passed. H.B. 6083 extends the statute of limitations for a wrongful death suit from two years to five years after the date of death of the individual. The second bill, H.B. 4715, creates much stronger penalties for public bodies who fail to properly comply with Freedom of Information Act Requests. The law will increase fines to $10,000 plus $1,000 for each day that the information is withheld. Molly's father was unable to get the proper information from the police department regarding his daughter' death and investigation in order to timely file his suit. Both of these new laws will hopefully assist plaintiffs in bringing claims against those who have injured loved ones and further remove roadblocks in retrieving useful and pertinent information from the government.
H.B. 6006 - Similar to the law requiring a vehicle to change lanes away from emergency vehicles who are pulled over with their lights on, this law requires vehicles to do the same for non-emergency vehicles who have stopped on the side of the road and have their flashing hazard lights on. The new law states that, when on a four lane highway, a vehicle must change lanes into a lane not adjacent to that of the "disabled" vehicle. This law will protect those who are stranded on the side of the highway changing a tire or waiting for a tow truck.
H.B. 5912 - This law gives bicyclists the same rights as those driving vehicles. Similarly, bicyclists also have all of the duties of those driving vehicles. The law also specifically states that these rights and duties include those dealing with right-of-way. Vehicles must yield to bikes who have the right of way, but bicyclists also must wait for vehicles to pass if it is their turn.
These four laws are but a small sampling of the new laws that will be in effect in 2017. However, these laws represent those that could most affect every day citizens, plaintiffs, and those harmed by others. Learning these new laws will not only help lawyers effectively litigate a claim, but also will help individuals understand their rights and duties going into the new year.