SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois law will soon allow victims of sexual crimes to renew orders prohibiting contact by their assailants without having to face them in court.
A law signed last week makes civil orders of no contact with survivors permanent in cases where the perpetrator was convicted.
Sen. Steve Stadelman and Rep. Dave Vella, both Rockford Democrats, sponsored the measure to limit victim trauma. Current law requires sexual-assault survivors to face their assailants in court every two years to renew no-contact orders.
“These no-contact orders are based on convictions. Convictions don’t change over time,” Stadelman said. “A survivor should not have to risk their mental and emotional health by going to court."
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the law Friday. It takes effect Jan. 1.
Stadelman said he worked on the plan with the city of Rockford’s Office of Domestic Violence Prevention. Also participating was Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling, which suggested the lifetime order of protection. Similar protections are already in place in Illinois for stalking victims.
See the new Illinois laws that took effect July 1
The Democrat-controlled Illinois General Assembly approved 665 bills this legislative session, with the vast majority awaiting Gov. J.B. Pritzker's signature.
But, Pritzker has signed 42 bills into law. A handful of those will take effect Jan. 1, 2022, but most went into effect immediately upon signing or will take effect this Thursday.
Here are some notable new laws in effect now or on Thursday that Illinoisans should know.
With pandemic-related delays to U.S. Census redistricting numbers, lawmakers moved back the state's 2022 primary election from March 15 to June 28. The legislation also makes Election Day a state holiday, requires every county to have at least one universal voting center and allow people to be added to a permanent vote-by-mail list. (
Vote by mail
Some pandemic-induced changes to voting for the 2020 general election, such as vote-by-mail and curbside drop-off, will now be permanent features of future elections. (
House Bill 1871)
State legislative redistricting
As they are tasked with doing every 10 years, lawmakers approved new district boundaries for the Illinois House and Senate. The Democrat-drawn maps, which utilized the U.S. Census' American Community Survey instead of waiting for the decennial census numbers that will arrive later this year, have been challenged in court by Republicans and some other groups. (
Illinois Supreme Court redistricting
The seven-person Illinois Supreme Court's district boundaries were successfully redrawn for the first time since the 1960s. (
There was no more controversial bill that passed this year than House Bill 3653, also known as the SAFE-T Act, which passed during the lame duck session this January. The provisions ending cash bail and requiring all police to wear body cameras will not take effect until 2023 and 2025, respectively. But starting Thursday, police will be required to render aid to the injured, intervene when a fellow officer is using excessive force and and be limited in use of force. It also offers stricter guidelines for the decertification of officers and would allow people to file anonymous complaints of police misconduct. (
Lenders are now prohibited from charging more than 36% annual percentage rate on consumer loans. The average rate in Illinois was nearly 300% prior to the law's signing. (
Tucked into the state's fiscal year 2022 budget is $10 million for a "vaccine lottery." All Illinois residents vaccinated by July 1 will be automatically entered into the contest. It includes $7 million in cash prizes to vaccinated adults, ranging from $100,000 to $1 million, and $3 million in scholarship awards to vaccinated youth. (SB2800)
COVID-19 emergency housing
Created guidelines for distributing more than $1 billion in federal stimulus funds for COVID-related housing relief. Also creates automatic sealing of evictions during the pandemic. (
Victims in personal injury and wrongful death cases will be allowed to collect interest from defendants from the time a lawsuit is filed. It is meant to incentivize settlement of these cases. It was supported by the trial lawyers and opposed by business groups. (
All casino applicants in Illinois are now required to enter into a project-labor agreement when seeking a new or renewed license. (
Crime victims compensation
Provides that a victim's criminal history or felony status shall not automatically prevent compensation to that victim or the victim's family. Extends the applicant's period for submitting requested information to 45 days from 30 days and provides that a final award shall not exceed $45,000, up from $27,000, for a crime committed on or after August 7, 2022. (
Provides that a contract, record, or signature may not be denied legal effect or enforceability simply because it is in electronic form or an electronic record was used in its formation. Provides that if a law requires a record to be in writing, an electronic record satisfies the law. (