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With 237 New Laws, What's So Hard About A Handful More? (Hint: A Lot)

Come Friday,  when the New Year begins, 237 new laws will be in effect in Illinois – about half of those that passed during Gov. Bruce Rauner’s first term. But the state is still without a budget as Rauner and lawmakers fight over a handful more.

In 2016, minors will no longer be able to trade in cell phones in Illinois. Airports will have to begin accommodating breastfeeding moms. Another new law requires anyone who makes a fake 911 call to reimburse expenses. Other new laws range from speedier microchip tests for lost pets to permitting surveillance cameras in nursing homes to looser rules for where baked good for charity sales can be made.

Most of these passed with easy majorities, and had the support of Gov. Rauner.

“You know. They passed over 500 bills. I’m asking for six bills. They passed 500,” he said in early December.

Rauner makes it sound easy. Just a few more, right?

But those five or six bills, which he wants passed before negotiating a budget, are highly controversial – even for many of his fellow Republicans, let alone for Democrats - and could drastically alter Illinois by propping up companies, minimizing unions and affecting property taxes. They include political term limits, rolling back unions’ power and limiting injured workers’ access to benefits.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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