What You Need to Know Before Taking an Ancestry DNA Test: A Look at New Illinois Laws in 2020

What You Need to Know Before Taking an Ancestry DNA Test: A Look at New Illinois Laws in 2020
What You Need to Know Before Taking an Ancestry DNA Test: A Look at New Illinois Laws in 2020

More than 250 new laws took effect in Illinois on Jan. 1, 2020 — ranging from the legalization of recreational marijuana to tougher penalties for driving recklessly in construction zones.

Here, McNabola Law Group partner Mark McNabola takes a look at some of the biggest changes.

Legal recreational marijuana
Illinois this year became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana. People who are 21 and older are now allowed to buy limited amounts of marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries. Cannabis use is not allowed in public places, however, and people can be ticketed for violating the rule. At any given time, Illinois residents can legally possess 30 grams of cannabis flower, five grams of cannabis concentrate and 500 milligrams of THC-infused products. Non-residents can legally possess half those amounts. Under the new law, landlords are allowed to ban marijuana use on their properties, and employers can both prohibit marijuana use and drug-test employees. Medical patients are allowed to grow cannabis, but are limited to five plants. (HB 1438)

Don’t stream and drive
It’s been illegal to text and drive in Illinois since 2010, and cellphone use without a hands-free device was banned in 2014. Last year, the state cracked down further on distracted driving with tougher penalties for using electronic devices behind the wheel. Now, lawmakers have amended the Illinois Vehicle Code once more to expressly ban watching or streaming video while operating a vehicle. Violators face a fine of $75 for the first offense, $100 for the second, $125 for the third and $150 for all subsequent offenses. (SB 86)

Construction zone safety
The maximum penalty for drivers who don’t slow down or move over when entering a highway construction zone is increasing from $10,000 to $25,000. Drivers who disobey official traffic-control devices in work zones also face fines of $100 to $1,000. Slowing down and moving over is paramount. In 2017, there were 799 fatalities in U.S. work zones, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. (SB 1496)

Strengthening Scott’s Law
After three Illinois state troopers were killed in crashes in 2019, penalties are increasing for drivers who violate Scott’s Law. Since 2002, the law has required Illinois drivers to slow down, proceed with caution and, if possible, change lanes when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle with flashing lights. Drivers who violate the law now face stiffer penalties — with minimum fines starting at $250 for a first offense (up from $100) and $750 for subsequent violations. Fines could reach as high as $10,000. (SB 1862)

Safeguarding genetic information
By 2019, more than 30 million people had shared their DNA with direct-to-consumer genealogy testing companies like Ancestry.com and 23andMe, according to CNBC. As that number continues to grow, serious privacy concerns emerge. A new Illinois law bans those businesses from sharing consumers’ test results with health or life insurance companies without written consent. (HB 2189)

Minimum wage
On Jan. 1, 2020, minimum wage in Illinois increased by $1 an hour to $9.25. It’s the first increase in the state in a decade. Wages are set to go up again, this time to $10 an hour, on July 1. Minimum wage will then increase by $1 an hour each New Year’s Day until it hits $15 in 2025. (SB 1)

School bus safety
The fines for passing a stopped school bus in Illinois double in 2020, jumping from $150 to $300 for a first offense and from $500 to $1,000 for all subsequent violations. Drivers are not allowed to pass a school bus that has red lights flashing and a stop sign extended. School bus safety has become a hot topic across the U.S. recently, with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) reintroducing a bill that would require seat belts, data recorders and automatic braking on all school buses. Illinois is one of 42 states that doesn’t require seat belts on large school buses. (HB 1873)

Medical marijuana in schools
School nurses and administrators can now administer or supervise the self-administration of cannabis-infused products to Illinois students who are registered medical marijuana patients. Students need permission from a parent or guardian, and marijuana products must be stored with a school nurse. (SB 455)

No-cost, No-pressure, No-obligation

If you or someone you love has been involved in a serious or catastrophic incident, let the Chicago injury lawyers at McNabola Law fight for you. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.