The New Year in Illinois brings with it some notable new laws.
Effective Jan. 1, Illinois will be the latest state across the country to call on professional drivers to help curb human trafficking.
The International Labor Organization estimates that 12.3 million people are being trafficked worldwide. In the U.S., victims are commonly transported along the interstate highway system.
Previously HB1677, the new law in Illinois mandates prospective truck drivers receive training on trafficking prevention. Specifically, a course will be incorporated into driver training for individuals applying for an Illinois commercial driver’s license.
The course will teach students how to identify and prevent trafficking.
In addition to Illinois, state officials nationwide have been busy in recent years acting to combat human trafficking. At least 28 states, and Washington, D.C., have adopted at least in part a statewide model created by the Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement/Department of Transportation to use weigh stations, ports of entry, rest stops, and state patrols to get the word out about trafficking.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association says truckers play a big role in identifying and reporting possible cases of human trafficking.
“With lawmakers across the country looking at ways to address this issue, it’s obviously something we’re interested in. We will continue to look at each proposal on a case-by-case basis and respond accordingly,” said OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Mike Matousek.
A separate new law in effect Jan. 1 is described as addressing a “burdensome regulatory environment” for professional drivers in the state.
HB3172 brings Illinois law in line with federal rules. State law has required large trucks to be inspected every six months rather than every 12 months as mandated by federal law.
The extra inspection cost has been described as unnecessarily prohibitive to Illinois’ small intrastate trucking businesses. The amount of lost revenue holds back hiring and expansion in addition to lost tax revenue the state would collect from the additional economic activity.
Rep. Nick Sauer, R-Lake Barrington, said the state’s economy is at a competitive disadvantage compared to other states because of overregulation.
“Bringing our regulatory system into parity with federal standards and other growing states can make us more competitive,” Sauer said in previous remarks. “This is exactly what House Bill 1372 does for Illinois’ trucking companies and independent truckers.”
One more new law is intended to combat government waste.
HB607 allows townships to abolish road districts through voter referendum. Townships in Cook County already have the ability to make this decision.
Voters statewide now will be allowed to decide whether the responsibilities of maintaining roadways should be transferred to the township.
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