Starting January 1st, 191 new laws become effective in Illinois. Here is a preview of just some of the laws that will impact Illinois residents beginning in the new year:

Social Media Right to Privacy
Public Act 99-610, House Bill 4999

Amends the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act to make it illegal for an employer or prospective employer to request or require an employee or applicant to access a personal online account (such as Facebook) in the presence of the employer. It is also illegal to request or require that an employee or applicant invite the employer to join a group affiliated with any personal online account of the employee, or applicant, or join an online account established by the employer.

Employee Sick Leave Act
Public Act 99-841, House Bill 6162

Under the new law, employees may now use personal sick leave benefits for purposes dealing with a child, spouse, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent or step parent. The employee can use such time as may be necessary on the same terms that employee would use the time for their own illness or injury.

Traffic Stop Education
Public Act 99-720, House Bill 6131

Students taking drivers education courses will now be educated on safe procedures to follow during a traffic stop by law enforcement. The lesson will include such tips as remaining calm and keeping one’s hands in view at all times and will also educate drivers on their rights when in the presence of law enforcement.

‘Taps’ at Military Funerals
Public Act 99-804, House Bill 4432

A student in sixth through twelfth grades at an Illinois public school is allowed to be absent from school if that student is sounding ‘Taps’ at a military funeral for a deceased veteran in Illinois. The legislation was suggested by a high school senior who estimated he had been called upon to render the honor at two dozen military funerals.
Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
District Office 815-748-3494 or E-Mail to 
December 14, 2016
In This Issue:
  Ø  Christmas Wish
  Ø  Budget Talks Stall
  Ø  Fiscal Realities
  Ø  Witness History Being Made
  Ø  Winter Safety Reminders

Christmas Wish
The Christmas season is upon us with its message of a savior’s birth, hope, joy and peace.  This tree in the Capitol was decorated by America’s Gold Star Families and the Sergeant Anthony Maddox Memorial Fund, an army soldier who died from injuries sustained in Afghanistan in 2013.  The tree was adorned with pictures of fallen Illinois veterans who fought for peace.
There is gloom in our state as we come to an end of the temporary budget and leaders find little common ground in the search for solutions to reach a balanced budget and grow job opportunities. 
I found strength from the tree that, like the dedicated soldier, we all should work for peace and hope that will bring joy once again in our state.  This is my Christmas wish.   

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) operates an up-to-date map of road conditions throughout the state. For more information on how to drive safely in Illinois this winter, click here.
Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
District Office 815-748-3494 or E-Mail to 
December 5, 2016

In This Issue:
  Ø  Legislators Fail to Act on a Budget
  Ø  Easier to Pass Budget in January
  Ø  Pension Issues Remain Unresolved
  Ø  Complex, Confusing Energy Bill Passed
  Ø  Legislators File Lawsuit Over Pay
  Ø  Update on AFSCME Contract
  Ø  Illinois Guard Changes Sycamore Leadership

Legislators Fail to Act on a Budget
Veto sessions are created in the Constitution to address gubernatorial actions on bills and resolve important issues left from the spring session.  With the stopgap budget set to expire on January 1 and state bills and debt mounting by the minute, nothing would seem more important for the legislature to discuss than the budget. 
Instead, the legislature adjourned until January 9 without spending any time on important issues like insufficient funding for higher education and student grants, gaps left unfunded in the human service network, and the skyrocketing public pension liability. 
Please join me in keeping pressure on legislators and our state’s leaders to compromise on budget issues.  The election is over and this state cannot afford to go any longer without a full, balanced state budget and structural reforms to set the state on the right track for job growth.  Such pressure worked to pass a temporary budget; your calls and letters now can break the gridlock.