No Cash Bail, Smoke Detector Rules and More: See All the New Illinois Laws for 2023

Here's a look at some of the changes to expect in Illinois starting Jan. 1, 2023

More than 100 new laws will be taking effect in Illinois starting on Jan. 1, 2023.

From parts of the controversial new SAFE-T Act, including the end of cash bail, to a new smoke detector law to even a new state snake -- there will be a number of changes in store.

For a complete look at the laws that will begin in the new year, click here.

As for some of the notable ones, see below.

End of Cash Bail

As part of the Pretrial Fairness Act, cash bail will be eliminated in Illinois starting on Jan. 1.

Under the provisions of the bill, as passed by the General Assembly, the state will allow judges to determine whether individuals accused of a specific set of felonies and violent misdemeanors pose a risk to another individual, or to the community at large. Judges will also be asked to determine whether the defendant poses a flight risk if released.

If the judge makes any of those determinations, then the defendant may be held in jail prior to trial.

The list of so-called “forcible felonies” that could invite judicial discretion on pretrial detention includes first and second-degree murder, predatory criminal sexual assault, robbery, burglary, residential burglary, aggravated arson, arson, kidnapping, aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm, or any other felony that involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against an individual. Several other crimes were added to this list under the recent amendment, including non-probationable felonies, forcible felonies, hate crimes, attempts of crimes that are otherwise detainable, and others. Additions also included offenses that require jail or prison time, and not probation; all forcible felonies; hate crimes, animal torture and DUI causing great bodily harm.

Detention hearings would not be not mandatory for crimes that include probation as a possible punishment, but judges can still make the determination to keep those defendants incarcerated pending trial if they determine they are a risk to the public.

Those charged with stalking, aggravated stalking, domestic battery and aggravated domestic battery would also potentially be subject to pretrial detention.

According to a spokesperson for Illinois Senate President Don Harmon's office, "those currently detained can request to have the new system applied to their situation."

In order to make the process "manageable for courts," legislators proposed a tiered system for granting hearings on such requests. The hearings would then determine whether a current detainee should be released. The tiers would include:

  • Lowest level offenses (example: petty shoplifting) hearings must be within 7 days of request.
  • Those detained but considered flight risks would get hearings within 60 days.
  • Those considered to be potential threats to safety get hearings within 90 days.

CROWN Act

The Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act, also known as the CROWN Act, is an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act and aims to further combat discrimination in the state. According to the General Assembly, the bill "provides that 'race,' as used in the Employment Article, includes traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists."

New Student School Helpline

Passed in May, the Student Confidential Reporting Act, establishes a program where officials from schools, the state and Illinois State Police can receive reports and other information regarding the potential harm or self-harm of students or school employees.

The Safe2Help helpline will involve a toll-free telephone number and other means of communication allowing messages and information to be given to operators.

Details on the helpline can be found here.

Illinois' New State Snake

Under an amendment to the state's Designation Act, the Eastern Milksnake will become the official snake of the state of Illinois.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, the milksnake can be found across Illinois, as it lives in fields, woodlands, rocky hillsides and river bottoms and hibernates in "small mammal burrows."

"The milksnake kills prey by constriction. When disturbed, it will vibrate the tail rapidly, hiss and strike," according to the DNR.

It got its name because at one time people falsely thought it could milk cows, the DNR reported.

New Smoke Detector Rules

Beginning Jan. 1, the state's Smoke Detector Act will be changed to state that any smoke detectors must have a "self-contained, non-removable, long term battery."

The change was approved in 2017, but did not take effect until Jan. 1, 2023.

According to the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance, which worked with the General Assembly to pass the change, it applies to "residents that are still using alarms with removable batteries or alarms that are not hardwired."

There are a couple of exceptions, however.

According to the bill, the battery requirements do not apply to fire alarms, smoke detectors, smoke alarms, or other components "electronically connected to specified alarm systems," which use a low-power radio frequency wireless communication signal, Wi-Fi or any other wireless local networking capability.

The change also will not apply to "dwelling units and hotels within municipalities with a population over 1,000,000 inhabitants."

Smoke alarms in homes built after 1988 that have battery-powered detectors can leave them in until they exceed 10 years from their manufacturing date, unless they fail to respond to tests or malfunction, according to officials.

Those in violation of the law after Jan. 1, 2023 will have 90 days to change their smoke detectors or risk being assessed a fine of up to $100, which can be applied every 30 days until the violation if rectified, up to $1,500.

Read more here.

For a complete list of the 10 laws you might want to know about, click here.

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