Illinois Secretary of State highlights new laws which took effect on Jan. 1

Two important pieces of legislation initiated in 2013 by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White took effect as new laws on Jan. 1.

The new laws include measures that strengthen the state’s Graduated Driver Licensing, GDL, program, as well as further restrict the issuance of court supervision.  

Other new laws which took effect Jan. 1 make significant changes to the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities.

Kelsey’s Law: Public Act 98-0168 prohibits the issuance of a driver’s license to a driver under 18 who has an unresolved traffic citation.  

The new law also allows White’s office to cancel a GDL if it is determined that at the time of issuance the minor had a traffic citation for which a disposition had not been rendered.  

Under the law previously, a GDL applicant is not required to report any pending traffic citations.

The measure is named Kelsey’s Law in honor of Kelsey Little, who in 2011 was seriously injured in an automobile crash by a young driver operating on a learner’s permit.  

The driver was issued a traffic citation for the incident. The Illinois Secretary of State’s office was unaware of the citation due to the lack of a reporting requirement.  

Three days later the teen driver applied for and was issued a driver’s license.  

Patricia’s Law: Public Act 98-0169 will ensure that drivers involved in fatal crashes are ineligible for court supervision unless they have maintained a clean driving history.  

The legislation, named Patricia’s Law in honor of Patricia McNamara, who was killed in an automobile crash in which the driver received court supervision, originated from White’s Advisory Committee on Traffic Safety, which unanimously supported the measure at a meeting last September.  

Over the last decade, White’s office has initiated legislation to limit the issuance of court supervision, as well as establishing a central database to help judges and court personnel better track the dispositions of court supervision from county to county across the state.

Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities: Due to legislation passed by the General Assembly, beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, only persons with specific types of disabilities with a valid Illinois driver’s license are exempt from paying parking meter fees.

Public Act 97-0845 requires the disability license plate or parking placard holder to meet more stringent eligibility requirements that must be approved by physicians in order to receive a yellow and grey permanent placard.  

The new placard will exempt the authorized holder from the payment of parking meter fees because their disability restricts them from physically feeding the meter.

Those who do not meet eligibility requirements for the meter-exempt placard will still receive a permanent placard but will be required to pay meter fees.

Out-of-state disability license plate and placard holders will also have access to disability parking spaces but will no longer be eligible for meter-exempt parking.

Also beginning Jan. 1, the fine for drivers caught misusing a disability placard increased from $500 to $600.  

Additionally, if a physician, physician assistant or advanced practice nurse knowingly falsifies a disability application, they will face increased fines from $500 to $1,000 for a first offense and up to $2,000 for a second offense.  

If the holder of the disability placard or license plates knowingly allows someone else to use their placard or license plates, that person will face a $1,000 fine for the first offense and a $2,000 fine for the second offense.

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