oday marks the beginning of the new fiscal year for the state and the beginning of several new laws taking effect.
The minimum wage is going up in the state today to $10 per hour. That is up .75 cents from the bump they received the first of the year. Those making minimum wage will continue to see annual hikes of a buck per hour each January until the hourly minimum hits $15.
Motorists will pay a bit more at the pump as motor fuel tax will rise by less than a penny today at .07 bits of a penny, which is part of the annual hike tied to inflation.
Stiffer penalties for texting while driving go into effect today. The law will allow the Secretary of State to revoke or suspend someone’s license for using an electronic device, such as cell phone or laptop, while behind the wheel if they cause great bodily harm or disfigurement as a result of an accident. Another measure will also allow licenses to be revoked for motorists injuring people in crosswalk accidents.
Contributions of the LBGTQ community will be now be a part of school curriculums. A measure requires schools to include the teaching of history of the community in the coming school year for junior high students. The law requires the teaching of the LBGTQ community’s contributions in both state and national history.
A semester of civics education will also be required in the coming school year for junior high students. It requires that civics be taught to students between sixth and eighth grade.
Schools are now required to develop a plan for students with epilepsy that includes training for employees and aides on how to handle students with the disease.
While not a new law today, video gambling and casinos will be allowed to reopen today. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law into effect yesterday that will reduce taxes for the owners of a proposed Chicago casino. The additional taxes on the proposed facility had been a hindrance in getting a casino operating.