SPRINGFIELD Illinois State Senator Bill Cunningham is reminding his constituents that with the New Year holiday comes a host of new laws for Illinois residents. Laws affecting everything from social media privacy, to tanning bed regulation, to cell phone usage while driving will take effect on January 1st.  A few of the most notable changes are listed below.

  1. Talking on a cell phone while driving is now banned, unless it is completely hands free. Blue Tooth headsets and speakerphone are still allowed as long as they can be activated by a voice-command or single-button touch.
  2. Use of commercial tanning beds is banned for children under the age of 18. Countless studies link tanning to an increased risk of skin cancer, especially at a younger age.
  3. 17 year olds that will turn 18 before the day of the general election can now vote in primary elections.
  4. New pet owners that purchase sick cats and dogs can be reimbursed for the cost of veterinary visits for up to 21 days after the purchase. They also have the option to exchange the pet for a refund.
  5. Those caught littering in Illinois will now face a $50 fine. Cigarette butts are included as litter.
  6. Schools are banned from checking students’ Facebook pages without permission.
  7. The state speed limit increases from 65 mph to 70 mph. Counties near Chicago and St. Louis have the ability to opt out.
  8. Fines for speeding in construction zones while workers are not present were lowered. Additionally, fines were increased for speeding in construction zones if workers are present.
  9. To help protect schoolchildren, cameras will be placed on school buses to watch for drivers that pass stopped buses.
  10. If a divorced couple has joint custody of children, one parent must ask the other if he or she would like to take care of the children before hiring someone else.
  11. Instead of being forced to throw extra wine away at a restaurant or winery, they can now cork an unfinished bottle to send home with you. The wine must be re-corked and placed in a tamper-evident bag.
  12. The Illinois Tollway will begin posting names of people with the highest outstanding tolls on its website to help crack down on people skipping tolls.

Learn about these and other new laws

Category: Press Releases


Category: Press Releases

goldenapplelogoCHICAGO –The deadline to nominate students for the Golden Apple Scholars has been extended, from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1. Students in their senior year of high school who plan to teach in a needy school in Illinois may be nominated for the award. They may be nominated by teachers, counselors, principals or other non-family adults, and may also nominate themselves. 

Winners will be awarded tuition assistance to a college in Illinois and will be given continued mentorship by educators who have won the Golden Apple Award. In return for the scholarship, Golden Apple Scholars agree to teach in high-need schools for five years after graduation.

Teachers from Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry or Will counties may also be nominated for the related Golden Apple Award. They must teach in grades 4-8, and can be nominated by parents, students, administrators and other teachers. Nominations are due December 31.

“We’re lucky to have many great educators and students in our area. Especially at this time of year, it’s important that we recognize and give thanks for them,” said Cunningham.

The winners will be inducted into the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, receive a paid spring quarter sabbatical at Northwestern University in Evanston and a $3,000 cash prize.

Category: Press Releases

Cunningham-Hurley-food-drive-1113Chicago – To help boost supplies at local food pantries during the holiday season, State Sen. Bill Cunningham and State Rep. Fran Hurley are launching a food drive at their local offices. From Nov. 1  to Dec. 1, community members are encouraged to drop off non-perishable food items at the offices listed below.

 Chicago                                                                  Orland Hills                                                      Worth Township
10400 S. Western Ave., Chicago          16033 S. 94th Ave., Orland Hills         11601 S. Pulaski Rd., Alsip
8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.                                           10 a.m. – 2 p.m.                                             9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

“For many struggling families, the holidays are the most difficult time of the year,” Cunningham said. “I hope we can all put aside a little to help those families in need. Any size donation is welcome and can help make a substantial difference.”

All donations will be given to local food pantries in Chicago, Orland Hills, and Worth. Last year, a similar food drive by then-State Rep. Cunningham raised nearly 300 pounds of food for local pantries. Unfortunately monetary donations cannot be accepted, but gift cards are welcome.

Category: Press Releases

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 18th District
311B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5145
(217) 782-2115 FAX
District Offices:
10400 South Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60643
(773) 445-8128
(773) 672-5143 FAX

16033 S. 94th Avenue
Orland Hills, IL 60477
(708) 233-9703