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Senator Bivins guides new laws, asked to serve as Committee leader

In a year dominated by budget negotiations and historic school-funding reform, Senator Tim Bivins was busy guiding 10 new laws through the General Assembly.

“In a year marked by partisan rhetoric, it is important to recognize that lawmakers also came together to pass quite a few good laws that help local citizens and communities,” Senator Bivins said. “Working with members in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle, we got a lot accomplished.”
The 45th District Senator has also been asked to serve as Spokesperson for the Senate Criminal Law Committee. He continues to serve as a member of the Senate Government Reform, Human Services, Insurance, Local Government, and Veterans Affairs committees. The Senate’s standing committees screen legislation introduced by all members and usually, only those bills approved by a committee may be considered by the entire Senate.

Many of the new laws sponsored by Senator Bivins reflect concerns of local municipalities.

Senate Bill 588 extends a tax increment financing (TIF) district adopted on Jan. 31, 1995, by the Village of Milledgeville to 35 years. The bill was passed by a 52-0 vote of the Senate and a 108-2 vote of the House of Representatives.

House Bill 465 extends a tax increment financing (TIF) district adopted on Feb. 5, 1996, by the Village of Pearl City to 35 years. The bill was passed by a 110-2 vote of the House of Representatives and a 48-3 vote of the Senate.

Senate Bill 587 provides that religious organizations are exempt from the Hotel Operators’ Occupation Tax when renting, leasing, or letting rooms for religious or charitable purposes. The bill was passed by a 51-0 vote of the Senate and a 115-0 vote of the House of Representatives.

“Christ in the Wilderness is a retreat center located near Stockton, where individuals are welcomed to spend time alone in a secluded natural environment. The center recently became subject to the Hotel Operators’ Occupation Tax after not being subject to the tax for many years. Senate Bill 587 restores its exempt status,” Senator Bivins said.

Senate Bill 1668 authorizes the Department of Transportation to make certain real estate conveyances in Ogle County, subject to specified conditions. The bill was passed by a 56-0 vote of the Senate and a 114-0 vote of the House of Representatives.

To accommodate the size of modern semi-trucks, House Bill 683 increases to 65 feet (now 55 feet) the maximum length of a truck tractor in combination with a semitrailer allowed on all roadways in Illinois. The bill was passed by a 108-6 vote of the House of Representatives and a 55-0 vote of the Senate.

House Bill 2725 states that money received by the state from the federal government under the Recreational Trails Program shall not be considered for use as aid in the construction of highways and shall not be placed in the Road Fund in the State Treasury. The bill was passed by a 108-0 vote of the House of Representatives and a 58-0 vote of the Senate.

House Bill 3120 provides that if Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) ascertains the prevailing wage for a public body, then the public body can satisfy the newspaper publishing requirement by posting the IDOL hyperlink detailing the prevailing wages on their website. The bill was passed by a 112-1 vote of the House of Representatives and a 55-1 vote of the Senate.

Senate Bill 607 remedies an archaic law that had made automatic knives, like those sold at big box and sporting goods stores, illegal because they could be regarded as “switchblades.”

“Automatic knives had been considered ‘illegal’ under the way the law had been written, because the knives contain a spring in the handle. But they are not ‘switchblades,’” Senator Bivins said. “Automatic knives have been used by people in all walks of life for more than 20 years.”

Senate Bill 607 allows for the sale, manufacture, purchase, possession or carry of a spring-action knife by a person with a valid FOID card, or by a person or entity engaged in the business of selling or manufacturing spring-action knives. The bill was passed by a 52-0 vote of the Senate and a 61-45 vote of the House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 1319 provides that the Supreme Court and circuit courts may adopt rules permitting the use of video conferencing equipment in any adult guardianship hearing. It states that in order to use such equipment, all parties (respondent, attorneys, guardians, etc.) must agree to the terms of the video conferencing. The bill was passed by a 51-0 vote of the Senate and a 113-0 vote of the House of Representatives.

House Bill 1895 adds to the police training curriculum requirements, training in effective recognition and responses to stress, trauma, and post-traumatic stress experienced by police officers. The bill was passed by a 112-0 vote of the House of Representatives and a 57-0 vote of the Senate.

All of the new laws had immediate effective dates, except Senate Bill 1319, House Bill 683, House Bill 1895 and House Bill 2725. Those four bills take effect on January 1, 2018.

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