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Today, Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) took the Oath of Office for her third term in the Illinois House of Representatives. Wheeler and her colleagues took their respective oaths today in Springfield, ringing in the 100th General Assembly.

“It is very humbling to take the Oath of Office and I want to thank the people of the 64th District for giving me another opportunity to serve you in Springfield,” said Wheeler. “I’m proud that in the last General Assembly, we were able to pass life-saving DUI reform, improve protections for victims of human trafficking and help provide some local property tax relief, but we all know that we have a lot more to do to fix Illinois.”

What the Inauguration of the 100th Illinois General Assembly Live - Click Here.
191 new laws take effect January 1, 2017. Here is a preview of 26 new laws that may be of interest to Illinoisans:

Social media right to privacy
Public Act 99-610, House Bill 4999
Amends the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act to make it illegal for an employer or prospective employer to request or require an employee or applicant to access a personal online account (such as Facebook) in the presence of the employer. It is also illegal to request or require that an employee or applicant invite the employer to join a group affiliated with any personal online account of the employee, or applicant, or join an online account established by the employer.

Employee Sick Leave Act
Public Act 99-841, House Bill 6162
Under the new law, employees may now use personal sick leave benefits for purposes dealing with a child, spouse, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent or step parent. The employee can use such time as may be necessary on the same terms that employee would use the time for their own illness or injury.
Attendance at the Springfield, Illinois 2016 State Fair dropped by more than 13% on a year-to-year basis. While severe weather events – heading by a flood-level cloudburst on the night of a key scheduled musical concert – were blamed for part of the attendance shortfall the overall numbers indicated growing problems with bringing in fair-going customers and exhibitors this year. Springfield fair attendance fell from 411,547 in 2015 to 357,409 in 2016.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture, which operates the Illinois State Fair, has begun an 80,000-recipient survey exercise. A wide variety of selected Fair attendees are being sent online questionnaires intended to gather data about their State Fair visit. Questions include requests for data on potentially controversial subjects, such as the recent hike in State Fair admission ticket prices. People who get the survey will be asked to rate various facets of the State Fair experience, including exhibits, entertainment, and food. Respondents will also be asked to help the State Fair understand how many miles people travelled to attend the Fair, how many tickets were bought by a household, and whether a ticketholder also visited the Fair on a different day.
Under the Constitution of Illinois, persons negatively affected by criminal convictions (including, but not limited to, prisoners in State prisons) have the right to petition the Governor of Illinois for clemency. Nothing in the Constitution says that the Governor has to respond at once, though, and previous Governors had let a backlog of more than 2,300 clemency petitions build up in the Office of the Governor without final action.

When he took office in January 2015, newly-elected Governor Bruce Rauner pledged to work with his staff to eliminate this massive backlog of clemency requests. Upon digging into the pile, at least one unanswered request was found that had been filed thirteen years earlier, in 2003. Most of the clemency requests were standard pleas that a prisoner or convicted felon should not be punished. Although all of the 2,300 petitions were read, Governor Rauner granted pardons in less than 4% of the cases. Approximately 80 pardons were handed out. The backlog has now been eliminated, which will enable new requests to be read and acted on in a timely manner.
Do you need help paying your mortgage? Have you experienced a drop in household income? If so, you may qualify for up to $35,000 in federal assistance at no cost to you.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service - CCCS of Northern Illinois, Inc. is a non-profit service that has helped save over 2,000 homeowners in the area and has again been chosen to sponsor the Illinois Hardest Hit program. Thousands of Illinois homeowners have successfully kept their home through this federally funded program administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority.