SPRINGFIELD — In the first two months of the new legislative session, Illinois lawmakers did little to nothing of substance, mostly rolling through the motions in short weeks filled with little floor action and scant committee work.
But that changed last week, when lawmakers ran up against the deadline to get substantive bills out of committee and to the floors of the House and Senate.
These deadlines are artificial in nature. Don’t be surprised if certain bills that haven’t moved are allowed to be heard in the coming weeks. And, of course, there's the old trick of attaching completely new legislation as an amendment to a shell bill. This shortcut is often deployed toward the end of session on must-pass items like the budget.
But for the most part, the deadline stands. It’s necessary to keep the process on track.
Next, some bills will return to committee with amendments. Then most will go to the House or Senate floor for votes. If they pass, the process starts over in the other chamber. And if it makes it through there, it heads to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk to be signed into law.
Hundreds of bills sailed out of committee last week. Here’s a small sampling of some interesting, important and silly bills working their way through the Illinois General Assembly:
- Senate Bill 40, filed by state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, would require new construction of single-family homes and apartment buildings to include basic infrastructure for electric vehicle charging. It passed 6-3 out of committee.
- Senate Bill 1392, sponsored by state Sen. Mary Edly-Allen, D-Libertyville, would allow victims of digital forgeries, better known as “deepfakes,” to sue perpetrators and collect damages. Similar legislation is also moving through the House. Both have bipartisan support.
- Senate Bill 1470, filed by state Sen. Tom Bennett, R-Gibson City, would allow a school district to use remote learning days instead of emergency days for up to five days per school year. It would also allow schools to utilize remote learning if selected as a polling place. It passed unanimously.
- Senate Bill 1508, introduced by state Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, would require sports betting apps to display a pop-up message directing people to gambling addiction help after every 10 wagers made. It passed committee unanimously.
- Senate Bill 1561, sponsored by state Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield, would add e-cigarettes to the list of tobacco products banned inside public places. Identical House legislation has also been filed. Both passed out of committee with bipartisan support.
- Senate Bill 1715, filed by state Sen. Suzy Glowiak Hilton, D-Western Springs, would mandate that, starting in 2026, all drinking fountains include water bottle filling stations. It passed unanimously out of committee.
- Senate Bill 1782, sponsored by state Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria, would mandate that parents who make money posting videos of their children on social media channels to share that revenue with their kids. It passed unanimously out of committee.
- Senate Bill 1818, introduced by state Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield, would create a commission to explore the creation of a new state flag.
- Senate Bill 1907, sponsored by state Sen. Celina Villanueva, D-Chicago, would require all public colleges, universities and community colleges to offer emergency contraceptives at a reduced price via at least one vending machine-type kiosk on campus. It passed committee 9-3.
- House Bill 1110, introduced by state Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago, would give people the option to carry a digital driver's license. A person would not be issued a citation for driving without a physical driver's license if they present a digitized driver's license. Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias has also expressed support for the concept. It passed unanimously out of committee.
- House Bill 1533, introduced by state Rep. Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, would ban the practice of declawing cats except for a therapeutic purpose. Violators would be subject to a $500 fine for a first violation, $1,000 for a second violation, and $2,500 for a third or subsequent violation. It passed 5-3 out of committee.
- House Bill 1633, sponsored by Rep. Maurice West, D-Rockford, would mandate that, beginning with the 2024-2025 school year, all public elementary and high schools include a unit on Native American history within Illinois and the Midwest. It would also require instruction of the Native American genocide during the unit on the Holocaust.
- House Bill 2202 and House Bill 3119, filed by state Rep. Jay Hoffman and state Rep. Ann Williams, respectively, would create a regulatory framework for carbon capture and sequestration technology. Aspects of each proposal are expected to be molded into a larger bill meant to address the technology.
- House Bill 2531, filed by state Rep. Will Davis, D-Homewood, would require the state to solicit proposals to develop the long-discussed south suburban airport in Peotone. The airport would be a “cargo-oriented” development meant to serve the region, which has become a logistics hub. It passed out of committee unanimously.
- House Bill 2840, sponsored by state Rep. Sharon Chung, D-Bloomington, would designate the black walnut as the official state nut of Illinois.
- House Bill 3817, filed by state Rep. Matt Hanson, D-Aurora, would designate the soybean as the official state bean of Illinois.
- House Bill 2954, sponsored by state Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, D-Glenview, would allow a person who has been the victim of doxxing — the act of publishing private information about an individual on the internet with malicious intent — to seek civil damages against the perpetrators. It was approved unanimously out of committee.
- House Bill 3158, introduced by state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, would legalize “human composting,” which consists of placing a person’s remains into a vessel with wood chips, alfalfa, and straw, which speeds up the decomposition process and turns the body into nutrient-rich soil. It passed 16-10 out of committee.
- House Bill 3530, introduced by Buckner, would reduce the default urban speed limit from 30 to 20 miles per hour and from 15 to 10 miles per hour in alleys. It passed committee 7-4.
- House Bill 3751, filed by Hernandez, would allow non-citizens who are authorized to work in the United States to apply to be police officers. It passed 9-4 out of committee.
Contact Brenden Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @brendenmoore13