New laws affect Illinois residents

In this new year, there have been many new laws passed in Illinois, some more concerning than others. One concerning matter is the fact that not everyone knows what new laws were passed or why they were passed.
“A concern always is that there isn’t always a lot of information shared about what the new legislation is and how it does directly impact us. So I think if you went up and asked people sort of what are the new laws in 2020 there might be a few answers, but they might not one hundred percent know what they are or what the background is or why the laws were passed, so maybe just a little more transparency and a little bit more of the way to open up the conversation with the younger population about what’s going on,” said government teacher Erin Wise.
Within all the laws passed, many of them have an impact on education.
“So this year we know that 600 new laws have passed in August, a little over 20 percent of them affect education. So we knew going into this year there would be a lot of things for us to take a peek at,” said director of human resources Danielle Carter.
Of the laws that have an effect on education, the staff being mandated reporters is one of them.
“The other one that hit us was a lot about mandated reporters, so every employee in a school district is a mandated reporter, meaning that they have to report if they suspect abuse or neglect of a child. So a lot of laws came down that changed, I would just say, they kind of impact if someone doesn’t report. So typically if a teacher is suspicious of child abuse, they connect with someone else and they decide if they want to contact DCFS. Nothing has changed there in that practice. What has happened, though, is some of our policies have tightened up. If someone doesn’t report, they are essentially liable. And oftentimes when a law changes, several policies have to be changed,” Carter said.
The legalization of marijuana is a bigger and more controversial law to get passed. According to, 74.4 percent of Illinoisians support the legalization of recreational marijuana while 21 percent opposed it and 4.6 percent didn’t know or refused to vote.
“My concern, particularly with the legalization of marijuana, is the access to it. Because with alcohol, kids can just get somebody to get it for them, and now they can do that with marijuana. So it’s just easier access,” said resource officer Mario Balarin.
Among all the laws passed, increasing the amount of minimum wage was one of them.
“Well if we talked minimum wage, I think it could be really helpful for students because you guys are the ones that often have the burden of minimum wage salaries and minimum wage jobs. So it makes the time you spend at work more beneficial, and you’re more able to start putting some money to the side so you can just get a living wage for yourself so hopefully learning how to save and how to budget and just learning what it takes for when you do leave high school and when you do go into college and then you can learn to save financially,” Wise said.