The Illinois General Assembly passed a number of pieces of legislation last year that have an impact on employers and employees in the state and those who do business in Illinois. The following are some public acts that became law with the New Year.

• HB361 establishes a program to encourage the rapid establishment of businesses and employers in business parks.

• HB1529 creates a program that generates awareness among Illinois small manufacturers regarding opportunities to bid for work on federal, state, and local government contracts.

• HB1569 creates a program for the assistance of Illinois manufacturers and other businesses to become accredited in approved international standardization organizations.

• HB1480 provides that persons engaged in picketing in labor disputes may use public rights of way to apprise the public of the existence of a dispute for: “the purposes of picketing”; erection of temporary signs announcing their dispute; parking at least one vehicle on the public right of way; and erection of tents or other temporary shelter for the health, welfare, personal safety, and wellbeing of picketers.

• SB1699 establishes the Illinois Steel Development Working Group to provide advice and make recommendations to the department to promote the increased research, marketing, and use of American steel.

• SB411 provides that if an individual or entity transfers all or a portion of its trade or business and there’s any substantial common ownership, management, or control of the transferor and transferee, the experience rating records of the transferor and transferee shall be combined for the purpose of determining their contribution rate.

• HB2451 amends the Pharmacy Practice Act by providing that upon request, a pharmacy must disclose the current usual and customary retail price of any brand or generic prescription drug or medical device the pharmacy offers for sale to the public.

• SB1267 amends the Safety Inspection and Education Act. It changes, adds, and reorganizes provisions concerning workplace inspections by the Department of Labor.

• SB1251 provides that a shareholder entitled to vote at a meeting of the shareholders shall be permitted to attend the meeting where space permits and subject to the corporation’s by-laws and rules governing the conduct of the meeting and the power of the chairman to regulate the orderly conduct of the meeting.

• HB1058 allows a victim of identity theft to place a security freeze on his or her credit report.

• SB 526 sets higher safety standards and imposes a fine for companies that knowingly sell unsafe products designed for children younger than nine.

• HB 2594 requires home repair companies to advise consumers if a contract requires consumers to submit contract disputes to binding arbitration.

• HB 3874 creates the Class 3 felony offense of public contractor misconduct, punishable by two to five years in prison.

• HB 381 increases penalties for minority business owners who obtain state contracts under false pretenses.

• HB 324 extends paid leave benefits to employees for blood donation with the employer’s approval.

• HB 672 allows all Illinois municipalities to decide, on a local basis, whether to adopt smoking bans in some or all public places.

• HB1079 allows special privileges for organized labor in communications between union agents and membership.

• HB188 requires contractor payroll records to be segregated on a project by project basis.

Again, this is just a sampling of the bills approved by the General Assembly that became law January 1. Obviously, the statutes themselves are much more detailed. If you’d like to view the statutes, follow the bills’ progression through both the House and the Senate and how it was voted upon, visit the state’s legislative web site at www.ilga.gov and enter the appropriate bill number. Or you can contact my office at 672-9292 for more information. IBI