Facts Matter: There is no Illinois law against pets on drivers' laps

A recent social media post claims Illinois drivers, who operate a vehicle with a pet on their lap, are in violation of the law.

"Attention Pet Lovers: It is now ILLEGAL to drive with your pet on your lap in Illinois. $50 fine!!!," read the June 27 post.

Sounds reasonable enough, but it's not true, according to USA Today, although the idea was considered in the Illinois General Assembly.

In February, Rep. Jawaharial Williams introduced House Bill 2910, which in part read, "A person who holds an animal in the person's lap while operating a motor vehicle is guilty of a petty offense and is subject to a fine of $50."

The bill unanimously passed the Transportation Committee in March, but the measure stalled on the House floor and eventually was defeated 97-6.

Williams told USA Today he planned to propose the bill again.

"I see this as an unforeseen hazard that, God forbid, may lead to something terrible, which I am simply trying to avoid," he said.

A similar bill was introduced and defeated in the House in 2013.

'State secrets'

comment was a joke

A video making the rounds on social media shows President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sitting at a table, along with Indian and American business leaders, on June 23 at the White House.

At the beginning of the clip, Biden says, "I started off without you, and I sold a lot of state secrets and a lot of very important things that we shared." Modi and those around the president can be seen laughing.

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene shared the video, along with the comment, "Joe Biden's brain is going and he's literally admitting his crimes out loud."

But Biden was joking, according to The Associated Press. Biden's next line was, "Now, all kidding aside."

The shared video cuts off before Biden tells the group he is kidding. The president goes on to talk about a partnership between India and America to develop new technologies "that are going to transform the lives of our people around the world."

Photo from French

movie, not violence

Violence and rioting broke out last week in France after a teenage boy was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop.

Photos and video of the unrest have been shared on social media. One image appears to show protesters in the open doorway of a police van as it speeds down a road. One passenger in the van is holding a firearm while another sits on top of the vehicle flying a French flag. Outside the van, a motorbike rider is performing a wheelie.

While many of the posts being shared show the actual violence in France, the photo of the police van is from a movie, according to The Associated Press.

The image of protesters riding in an open van is a screenshot from the French film "Athena," which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in August 2022 and was released on Netflix later that year.

The movie, directed by Romain Gavras, is a fictional story about protests at a housing project in a Paris suburb after a young boy was killed.

Fake cities, venues

in Garth Brooks story

A recent post claims country music singer Garth Brooks has been having trouble filling venues in Illinois.

The post shares a story with the headline, "Typically Sold-Out Garth Brooks Plays to a Half-Empty Arena: 'It Was Embarrassing.'"

The article said Brooks played to the small crowd at "Geico Memorial Arena in Jostenberg, Illinois," and he was considering canceling a show at "Haremfeather Norfolk Amphitheater in East Chicago." The story said the singer has alienated fans by drinking a Bud Light. Brooks is a proponent of LGBTQ+ rights, and Bud Light has seen pushback since partnering with transgender social media personality Dylan Mulvaney. Hopefully lesson learned," one commenter wrote on the post.

But none of those places exist and the story is fake, according to PolitiFact. The article originated on a satirical website.

The story came from the website, which is known for producing parody and satirical content that is often shared as misinformation, PolitiFact said.

A fake quote from Brooks should be a tipoff that the story is satire.

The article reads: "I'm pretty sure if I just don't show up things will be alright," Brooks reportedly told his good friend Art Tubolls of the Chicago Bulls, "considering there's a good chance that town doesn't exist, will they miss me?"

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at

While it isn't illegal to drive with a pet on your lap in Illinois, as one social media post incorrectly asserted, you definitely shouldn't let your pet drive. Just ask Don, a Scottish border collie who tried it in 2015. Spoiler alert: Don was OK, but his person's truck was not. Associated Press file photo, April 2015
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