“The General Assembly passed several new laws effective January 1st. We should all become familiar with these new laws because they impact our district,” Rep. Parkhurst said.
Here are several new laws of interest to residents in the 79th District:
- Combating synthetic drugs
- Veterans with PTSD qualify for the Helping Paws Service Dog program
- Expanding access to mental health services through telemedicine
- Reforming transportation regulations
- Lowering the age to become an organ donor
Combating synthetic drugs (Public Act 100-368, House Bill 2534)
The new law adds and updates new synthetic drugs and cannabinoids to the list of controlled substances. This is an ongoing initiative to fight the growing use of “bath salts” and synthetic drugs whose complex chemical compounds eluded definition under the law because of their dynamic nature.
“With the ongoing opioid epidemic, it is important to combat all forms of these drugs including their synthetic cousins because they are just as dangerous,” Rep. Parkhurst added.
Helping Paws for Veterans Act (Public Act 100-384, House Bill 2897)
“Our veterans deserve the best for fighting to protect our freedom including health services for the number one mental health disease affecting out vets—Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),” Rep. Parkhurst said.
Military veterans suffering from PTSD or depression are now eligible to receive service dogs from the Helping Paws Service Dog Program because PTSD or depression are now qualified disabilities for Veterans under the Act.
Expanding access to mental health services (Public Act 100-385, House Bill 2907)
A physician or other licensed health care professional does not need to be physically present in the same room as a Medicaid beneficiary during the time a patient is receiving telepsychiatry provided under the Public Aid Code.
“This law advances the use of telehealth services as a cost-efficient and effective way to provide easily accessible mental health services across the state, particularly in rural communities where access is limited and virtually non-existent,” added Rep. Parkhurst.
Transportation regulation reform (Public Act 100-160, House Bill 3172)
Intrastate transportation companies in Illinois must test their vehicles every twelve months, rather than every six months, bringing Illinois up to Federal and neighboring state standards and making Illinois transport companies competitive.
Rep. Parkhurst added, “This law makes Illinois more competitive in the transportation industry. It is essential our regulations are not over-burdensome to prevent companies from moving to neighboring states. We want them to stay right here in Illinois.”
Changes organ donor registration to age 16 (Public Act 100-41, House Bill 1805)
“There is a critical shortage of human organs and tissues available to citizens in need of organ and tissue transplants. Allowing 16 year olds to opt-in to the organ donor registry with parental consent works to curb the shortage,” Rep. Parkhurst said.
The Secretary of State will offer each applicant for a driver’s license or state identification card who is 16 years of age or older (rather than 18 years of age or older) the opportunity to have his or her name included in the First Person Consent organ and tissue donor registry. The law allows the parent or guardian of donor under 18 to amend or revoke the anatomical gift of the donor’s body.
To view the full list of 217 new laws scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2018, click here