2013 brings higher license fees, safeguards against school violence
SPRINGFIELD — New state laws that take effect today will raise annual license plate sticker costs by $2 and tax strip club visits to help fund sex crime prevention efforts.
More new laws range from an effort to stop school violence like the stabbing of Elgin teacher Carolyn Gilbert several years ago to more obscure legislation like a ban on shark fin soup.
Here's some of what's new for 2013:
New safeguards will allow local police to share some information with school officials about warning signs that might lead to violent acts by a student.
The law, inspired by a Daily Herald investigation, stems from Elgin teenager Angel Facio's stabbing of teacher Carolyn Gilbert and is meant to prevent similar acts.
At the time of the January 2008 stabbing in an Elgin High School classroom, Facio was the subject of a pending police investigation for a crime outside of school.
Last summer, Gilbert told the Daily Herald she hopes the new law will work.
"It may not have happened to me if there would have been that communication, because he'd had those other problems with the law. If we'd known about that I would have never, ever have been in the room alone with him," she said.
Cars for parks
License plate stickers now will cost $101, up from $99. The fee is intended to raise money for Illinois state parks, which have suffered from budget cuts in recent years.
It's an issue familiar to some suburban lawmakers. State Rep. JoAnn Osmond, an Antioch Republican, proposed earlier this year that park goers buy annual stickers that would raise money for the parks.
She doesn't support the new fee that lawmakers opted for because it costs everyone, not just people who go to the parks.
Now, Osmond said, lawmakers have to be sure money from the license plate stickers actually goes to pay for the state parks and not toward some other expense. She said the parks in her district, such as Chain O' Lakes State Park, need the help.
"It's so desperate," she said.
See all salaries
A new law from two suburban lawmakers requires counties, townships and municipalities to send information to the state so their workers' salaries can be published on Accountability.Illinois.gov, a site that already includes state worker salary information.
It's up to the local governments to provide the state the information.
The plan was from state Sen. Susan Garrett of Lake Forest and state Rep. Jack Franks of Marengo, both Democrats.
"We want full disclosure so people understand where their taxes are being spent," Garrett said.
Optional jury per diem
Garrett also sponsored a proposal that allows someone on jury duty to waive the per diem given by the court, typically $5 to $15.
Jury members conscious of local budget constraints will have an opportunity to save the court some money if they don't need the per diem.
Strip club tax
Any Illinois strip club will have to pay increased fees to the state, either $3 per customer or a flat fee for the year.
The money will go to try to prevent sexual assaults, and the increased costs could be passed on to customers.
Shark fin soup
Lawmakers banned the sale of shark fin soup, a meal that leads to the killing of too many sharks, supporters say.
Illinois became the first inland state to ban the soup.
Spurred by the nationally watched Casey Anthony trial in 2011, Franks and other lawmakers pushed legislation that makes it a felony not to report a missing child to authorities within 24 hours.
Anthony was found innocent in the death of her daughter, Caylee. In the case, Anthony was said to have not reported Caylee missing for more than 30 days.
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