January 2023 (Chicago, IL)

Nearly 200 new laws took effect across the state of Illinois on January 1, 2023, and many of these new laws will have major implications for residents of Illinois.

Here’s a look at some of the most significant new laws now in effect across Illinois.

Illinois SAFE-T Act

One of the most comprehensive – and most controversial – laws that just went into effect is the Illinois SAFE-T Act, a major criminal justice reform legislative package that updates rules governing jail time while awaiting trial and the use of force by police.

Perhaps the biggest controversy with the SAFE-T Act is the key provision for ending cash bail. The law allows a judge to evaluate the public safety risk posed by a defendant charged with a forcible felony that does not qualify for probation. If the felony does qualify for probation, the judge can only detain the defendant based on such factors as criminal history, violations of their terms of release, or flight risk before trial.

The SAFE-T act also requires all police departments to be equipped with body cameras by 2025 as well as increased training for police officers.

Workers’ Rights Amendment

Illinois voters approved an amendment to the state constitution in November called the “Workers’ Rights Amendment” as well as “Amendment 1” that guarantees the right for workers to organize and bargain collectively. The amendment not only guarantees the right to organize for the most common elements of collective bargaining, such as wages, hours, and working conditions, but also for “economic welfare and safety at work.”

Anti-Carjacking Laws

Several new laws designed to combat recent spikes in carjackings across Illinois are now in effect. House Bill 601 dictates that the crime of possession of burglary tools will be extended to include items specifically designed for car break-ins, including duplicate key fobs. Victims of such crimes will no longer be liable for costs when their cars are impounded after being stolen – provided that they report the theft immediately to police under House Bill 3772.

Minimum Wage Increase

The minimum wage across Illinois increased to $13 an hour on January 1, with the exception of workers under the age of 18 years old working less than 650 hours per year, who will earn a minimum of $10.50 per hour. This wage increase is a $1 increase

Illinois workers who earn tips will now get a minimum of $7.80 per hour, and any shortfall from the $13 per hour must be compensated by the employer.

Time Off for Bereavement

Effective January 1, Illinois is expanding its definition of bereavement to include miscarriages, failed adoptions, and unsuccessful fertility procedures. It also adds more relationships to deaths in the family to what is legally covered for bereavement, including spouses, siblings, grandparents, and stepparents. Illinois now guarantees employees have the right to at least 10 unpaid days off to properly grieve in these circumstances.

Child Sex Offender Restrictions

Illinois residents convicted of sexual offenses against children will not face new employment restrictions under Senate Bill 3019. Sex offenders will no longer be able to work at any county or state fair, carnival, or amusement park where children under the age of 18 may be present. This law mirrors restrictions which already exist for schools and child daycare centers.

Smoke Detector Act

As of January 1, any new smoke alarm being installed in an Illinois home must have a 10-year sealed battery. Smoke alarms installed in homes prior to January 1 may remain in place until they exceed 10 years from their manufactured date, fail to respond, or otherwise malfunction. Illinois homes built after 1988 that already have hardwired smoke alarms or homes with wireless integrated alarms are exempt.

Student Confidential Reporting Act

The Student Confidential Reporting Art establishes a program where school officials, Illinois State Police, and state officials can receive reports regarding threats of students or school staff. This program, called Safe2Help Illinois, is intended to offer students a safe and confidential way to share information that could help prevent bullying, suicides, violence, and other threats to school safety. The program operates 24/7 and is accessible through its free app, or by texting, calling, or through the website.
The full list of new laws now in effect across Illinois can be found here.

For a free confidential phone consultation, call us at 312-655-7660 or fill out our online form at