Illinois' official pie among 2016 new laws
The coming of a new year means 237 new state laws take effect on Jan. 1, with a full state budget not among them.
Some new laws are serious reflections of the time, intended to combat police violence or the suburban measles outbreak of 2015.
Others are not.
Congratulations, Illinois. Starting in 2016, pumpkin is your new official state pie.
Here's a sampling of some of the new laws that kick in Jan. 1.
The suburban measles outbreak that affected more than a dozen infants at a Palatine day care inspired lawmakers to try to make sure child-care workers are immunized in the future.
A new law from Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno requires that day-care teachers who work with kids under age 6 be vaccinated against certain diseases, including measles. Infants generally are too young to get many vaccines, putting them more at risk for diseases than older children.
That new law follows one from earlier in the year that makes it a little more difficult for the parents of Illinois schoolchildren to claim a religious exemption from getting vaccinated.
Right to try
Some Illinoisans facing terminal illnesses in 2016 could have a chance to take experimental drugs that haven't been fully approved by federal regulators.
State Sen. Michael Connelly, a Lisle Republican, was a top backer of the so-called Right to Try legislation.
It doesn't require companies to make their experimental treatments available or force insurance to cover it. But for patients who have tried all other treatment options, the new law could help them get drugs that have gone through a first phase of approval but haven't yet been OK'd for general use.
No new local governments
Read their lips: No new government.
Lawmakers voted to ban themselves from creating new local governments for the next four years, a nod to Gov. Bruce Rauner's efforts to consolidate.
The legislation from Connelly and Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks of Marengo wouldn't apply to creating a new government by combining two or more.
Because the ban is both created by lawmakers and aimed at them, it could always be overridden if a future General Assembly sees fit.
Still, "we are sending a pretty significant message that if there came an opportunity or circumstance where we had to create a new unit of government, we would have to explain why we're lifting the moratorium or going around the moratorium," Connelly said in the spring.
Illinois' law governing the use of police body cameras takes effect Jan. 1 at a time when police conduct has dominated headlines for much of the year.
It lays out how police should use the cameras and sets out a way to pay for them, via a new charge on traffic tickets.
Back in September, state Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat, said a body camera could have made it easier to crack the case of Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, who eventually was found to have staged his suicide to make it look like he was murdered in the line of duty.
"What people widely miss is the evidence-gathering component," Raoul said.
The law says police in pursuit have to have the camera rolling if they're wearing one. If Gliniewicz had been wearing one that wasn't turned on, more questions about his death might have arisen earlier.
Witness comfort dogs
In 2016, some witnesses who have disabilities or are young could be allowed to deliver testimony in court while accompanied by a comfort dog.
The dog will have to be specially trained for use in a court facility, and the Lake County state's attorney's office already has one that would qualify.
Yes, pumpkin pie is now Illinois' official state pie, joining Illinois' always-growing list of state symbols.
The pie's addition gives the state a full meal of state symbols. The bluegill is the official state fish, while popcorn is the official state snack food.