Here are the 34 new laws that take effect on June 1 that you should know about:

Local governments cannot prohibit autonomous vehicles
(Public Act 100-352, House Bill 791)
No unit of local government, including home rule units, may enact a local ordinance which prohibits the use of vehicles equipped with automated driving systems.

Designating lottery funds for education
(Public Act 100-466, House Bill 213)
This legislation amended the Illinois Lottery Law to direct that any money transferred from the lottery fund over to the Common School Fund be considered supplemental to any money due to be transferred into the fund, rather than in lieu of those funds.

Publicizing the child abuse hotline
(Public Act 100-468, House Bill 370)
The Department of Children and Family Services is empowered to cooperate with school officials to distribute in school buildings materials which list the toll-free telephone number established by the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act. This information can also include the methods of making a report under the Act.

Changes to some boat safety registration information
(Public Act 100-469, House Bill 434)
Boats operated, used or stored in Illinois must have on board a valid certificate of number issued under the Boat Registration and Safety Act or another federally-approved numbering system. The identifying number must be displayed on both sides of the bow of the boat. Fees for obtaining these numbers will increase slightly, and expiration of certificates will be extended to September 30 of the relevant year instead of June 30. The legislation also limits the requirement for a certificate of title for watercraft required to be numbered to those over 21 feet, rather than all watercraft as in the current law.
Legislation sponsored by State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) to help generate more solar projects while protecting farmland now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature in order to become law. Rep. Meier anticipates his proposal will help create more solar energy jobs in the state.

“These commercial solar projects are coming in quickly and creating a lot of jobs,” said Rep. Meier. “Everything is different in their contracts. Establishing a uniform standard for commercial solar projects will help provide some standards for landowners and help make sure there is financial protection for decommissioning the projects. We want to make sure this is done right while protecting Illinois’ number one industry, agriculture.”

Senate Bill 2591 sponsored by Rep. Meier and supported by the Illinois Farm Bureau, will require commercial solar energy developers to enter into an agricultural impact mitigation agreement (AIMA) with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA). The goal is to protect landowners and assure land impacted by construction and deconstruction be properly restored.

IDOA uses AIMAs to set minimum wind energy and utility construction standards on agricultural land, while landowners can negotiate additional easement requirements for their property.

Rep. Meier added, “Finding a way to help develop solar projects in our state and protect our farmland was a proposal I have worked on for quite some time. I anticipate this new law will prove beneficial to our state.”

The Illinois Senate approved legislation sponsored by State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) to alleviate concerns brought forth by local dairy farmers. In Illinois, dairy farms are getting hit with lower grades simply because an inspection report from the Division of Food, Drugs, and Dairy (FDD) is not clearly posted when health inspectors arrive at the farm. This has been an issue since the FDD changed the way they handle inspections last fall. For decades dairy farm inspectors would leave a copy of their inspection report for dairy farmers to keep in hand, but not since last fall.

“This bill will certainly correct the burden that dairy farmers are currently faced with,” said Rep. Meier. “Pending the Governor’s signature, this new law will require inspections to go back to the way they have been conducted for decades, requiring the inspector to leave a hard copy of the inspection report to the dairy farm following an inspection – it’s just common sense.”

The legislation (HB 4428) sponsored by Rep. Meier would allow dairy farms without access to computers or printers to hold a copy of the inspection report, which can eliminate needless inspection point deductions to a dairy farm. Rep. Meier’s legislation provides that the Department of Public Health or a unit of local government electing to administer and enforce the Act shall provide a dairy farm with a paper copy of the dairy farm's inspection report. 
State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) welcomed the creation of two new “Opportunity Zones” in Clinton, Marion, and Washington Counties. The Opportunity Zones are aimed at boosting jobs and economic development in the region. The new zone in Clinton County begins along the eastern shores of Carlyle Lake, extending East to the border of Marion County, including Centralia and Central City. The Washington County zone stretches from I-64 in Nashville and goes as far south as Nixon Road.

According to State Rep. Charlie Meier, “Our region has a tremendous opportunity to create more jobs and more economic development. The creation of Opportunity Zones will allow for private tax-free investment in low-income areas with economic need. I’m excited about the possibilities this incentive will bring to southern Illinois.”

On Friday, May 18th, Governor Bruce Rauner announced 327 census tracts were submitted by the State of Illinois to the U.S. Treasury Department for consideration as Opportunity Zones. The U.S. Treasury Department approved the recommendations, as permitted by the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. 1,305 qualifying low-income census tracts were available for selection, of which only 25% could be nominated by the Governor for inclusion in the program. The zones cover more than 85 counties throughout the state and aim to support the future of Illinois through economic growth and investment.

For more information on Opportunity Zones, please visit the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO) website here.

On Thursday, the Illinois House of Representatives adopted a resolution honoring our veterans by designating Old US 50 in Clinton County, Illinois as the “Clinton County Veterans Memorial Road”. House Joint Resolution 100 (HJR 100) sponsored by State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) passed unanimously in the House of Representatives.

“It is highly fitting that we pay honor and respect to the truly great individuals who have served our country and, in doing so, have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation,” said Rep. Meier. “Their sacrifice and service is a reminder that freedom is not free but comes at a cost. We should always remember the men and women who helped preserve the freedoms that we all enjoy.”

HJR 100 now heads to the Senate for approval. Upon passage in the Senate, the Illinois Department of Transportation will be directed to erect at suitable locations, consistent with state and federal regulations, appropriate plaques or signs giving notice of the name “Clinton County Veterans Memorial Road” along Old US 50 in Clinton County.
State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) announced today that $52,627 in state-sponsored per capita grant money has been approved for libraries located in the 108th Legislative House District.

According to State Representative Charlie Meier, “Libraries serve the community in more ways than one.  Today’s library is not just about books, libraries offer computer and internet access, this can be helpful if you want to apply for a job online but don’t have access to a computer or internet at home. I’m happy to announce that eight libraries in my district will receive grant funding to help improve the service to the communities they serve.”

The Public Library Per Capita Grants Program was established to assist public libraries to improve and increase library services within their service areas. Grant amounts of up to $1.25 per person served are available, on an annual basis, to all Illinois local public libraries through an application process. The Equalization Grants Program was established to help public libraries with a low library tax base. By providing additional funding, these grants help ensure a minimum level of funding for library services.

Libraries within the 108th Legislative House District that will receive funds include; Breese Public Library for $5,552.50; Case-Halstead Public Library for $4,101.25; Germantown Public Library District for $2,403.75; Louis Latzer Memorial Public Library for $12,398.75; Nashville Public Library for $4,072.50; New Baden Public Library for $4,186.25; Trenton Public Library for $3,393.75; Tri-Township Public Library District for $16,518.75.

Per Capita Grant funding allows resources for expenses such as materials, personnel, equipment, electronic access, telecommunications and technology.