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New Illinois laws: What to expect in 2020

Springfield, Ill. (WEEK) - There will be 250 new laws in Illinois on Wednesday.

Many residents are looking forward to the new year for legalized recreational marijuana, but there are several other major laws you may want to be aware of.

Minimum wage will jump to $9.25 an hour next year. This is the first increase for Illinois workers since 2010, but the wage will be adjusted slightly over the next few years until it hits $15 in 2025. Employees who receive tips will also see their wage set at $5.55. Republicans and small business owners say this will only lead to higher prices and more layoffs down the road.

Another law is aimed at helping prospective college students stay in Illinois. Four universities will be required to accept incoming freshmen graduating in the top 10% of their high school class. The schools included in this plan are Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University, Western Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University. Lawmakers hope this will also help with shrinking enrollment on those campuses.

Be prepared for new taxes as you'll see a few major fee increases to help pay for the state's new infrastructure plan. Registration for a passenger vehicle will be bumped up to $151. But the big change comes for anyone driving electric cars because the new fee will be $251 annually instead of $34 every other year. Anyone with trailers should look into the new licensing fees as well. It will cost $118 if the trailer weighs less than 3,800 pounds. Those are all separate from a new fee on parking garages. Hourly fees will be taxes at 6% while parking at a monthly lot will have a 9% tax.

The Reproductive Health Act affirms that women make their own decisions about birth control, abortions or continuing pregnancy until birth. It requires private insurance companies to cover abortion services, contraception and fertility treatments. The law will likely face challenges from anti-abortion groups as lawmakers return next year.

Families looking to have a baby in 2021 will enjoy a financial planning law created by Treasurer Michael Frerichs. The new plan will drop $50 into a college savings account for every child born or adopted after December 31, 2020. The funds can be used for college tuition, books and campus fees.

Police will have a renewed focus on reckless driving next year. Anyone hitting a construction worker on the road will face a new maximum fine of $25,000. Lawmakers also increased the fines for people failing to move over when they see emergency vehicles. Violating Scott's Law will cost drivers $250 and it bumps up to at least $750 for any repeat offenses. School bus safety is also a high priority with a $300 fee if someone passes a bus with the stop arm out. A second offense will cost the driver $1,000.

You may want to keep your Netflix and Disney+ streaming at home. Any driver caught watching videos on the road will be hit with a $75 fine and it goes up $25 for each repeat offense.

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Mike Miletich

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