New IL laws bring changes to health care, employment, policing policy

By midnight on New Year’s Eve, Illinoisans will see more than 300 new laws take effect – with changes affecting the state’s health care, public safety and employment sectors.

The Paid Leave for All Workers Act would require most employers to give their workers at least 40 hours of annual paid leave. And the minimum wage will increase from $13 to $14 an hour.

Illinois Legal Aid Online offers online support for some of the state’s underserved residents. Executive Director Teri Ross said she understands many want to know how the new laws affect them.

“We’re taking the law, which is often hard to read and pretty vague, and we’re translating that into a plain language explanation,” Ross said, “and in some cases, into some tools that people can use to assert their rights and understand. their rights.”

Under the new Telehealth Services law, mental health and substance use patients in Illinois will continue to receive telehealth coverage for treatment.

And a patient’s medical care cannot be delayed while a hospital staff member verifies their payment method or insurance status.

Ross said hospitals will also be required to screen uninsured or underinsured patients for public financial assistance eligibility before sending their bill to collections.

Another new law on the books has raised concerns about immigrants applying for public safety jobs.

It allows someone who is not a citizen – but is legally authorized to work in the US – to apply to become an Illinois police officer.

Ross said the low numbers in the police force were due to veteran officers retiring and a lack of new applicants – and claimed policing as a whole needed to change.

“One of the problems we have, in our society in general,” Ross said, “is that law enforcement is focused on communities of color, and often not made up of people of color.”

Applicants who are not citizens and hold a green card that allows them to live and work in the US must be authorized under federal law to obtain, carry, purchase or otherwise possess a firearm.

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