Major Laws of 2013

Illinois lawmakers turned out four major laws this year that will impact Illinois residents come 2014.

Concealed Carry

In July, Illinois officially became the final state allowing residents to conceal and carry firearms.

On the final day of the federal deadline, lawmakers overruled Governor Pat Quinn’s tougher restrictions, such as limiting only one gun at a time, and passed the state’s first concealed carry law. 

“I got emails from both sides of the issue where nobody’s really happy. Usually when that occurs there must be a compromise involved,” said Senator Mike Connelly, who represents the 21st District.

House Bill 183 allows private businesses to post signs prohibiting firearms and restricts guns from schools, parks, libraries or mass transit vehicles. 

Those interested in applying have to pay a $150 fee, take 16 hours of mandatory training, and have a valid FOID card.

Medical Marijuana

Also, in July, Illinois became the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana. 
The four-year trial program will be the strictest in the country.

“The reason I am signing the bill is because it is so tightly and properly drafted,” said Governor Pat Quinn when he signed the legislation into law.

Under the new law, a patient cannot be prescribed more than two and a half ounces of marijuana over two weeks.

The prescribing doctor must have a prior ongoing relationship with the patient, and must find that the patient has one of 42 chronic conditions like cancer, AIDS, or multiple sclerosis. 

Patients would have to buy the marijuana from one of 60 dispensing centers throughout the state and would not be allowed to legally grow their own.

Same Sex Marriage

November was also a historic month in Illinois, when we became the sixteenth state to legalize same sex marriage. 

Weeks after the State House and Senate passed SB10 Governor Quinn signed the bill into law at a public ceremony. 

The new law had a strong impact on local couple Barbara O’Meara and Beth Wendt, because of the three kids they have together.

“The inheritance rights, the pension rights, were always going to be unfair if one of us died to our kids,” said O’Meara.

The state will convert civil unions into marriages for free throughout 2014.

Pension Reform

During the final special session for the Illinois General Assembly a vote was pushed through in both chambers to overhaul Illinois’ nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

Naperville’s representative, Darlene Senger, was appointed by the Governor to a bi-partisan committee less than a year ago, to find a solution to Illinois’ pension problem.

Leaders of both parties crafted the new deal that will: decrease employee contributions by 1%, require the state funded contributions, give some workers the option to switch to a “defined-contribution” system, similar to a 401k plan, reduce annual cost of living adjustments (COLAs), increase the retirement age for workers under the age of 45, and impose a pension cap.

The passing of this bill doesn’t mean Illinois’ pension problems are over. Many unions representing police officers, caregivers, and teachers said they would challenge the legislation in court because they feel the reform violates the Illinois constitution.

“When it goes to court, it will be in the hands of seven individuals who will decide if it’s something we can do or not,” said Senger.

Conceal carry and medical marijuana take effect January 1 with same sex marriage and pension reform following six months later on June 1.


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