On January 1, 237 new laws will take effect in Illinois. Unfortunately, a balanced budget is not among them.

Several of the new laws affect children, veterans and the elderly. Others affect drivers and consumers. Here's a quick look at some of the more notable laws taking effect on Friday, January 1.

For a full summary of the new laws, click here. To read the complete text of every new law, click here.
By Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) - Back in May, we had our first meeting of what has become known as the Lakefront Economic Development Group. The purpose of this group was to bring together local leaders from Beach Park, Winthrop Harbor and Zion to discuss their mutual interests and goals for how to revitalize our beautiful natural resources at Illinois Beach State Park and North Point Marina. At our first meeting we brought in officials from the Department of Natural Resources, DNR Coastal Management, the EPA, CMAP and others.

Lots of discussion has led to a wonderful exchange of ideas and the bringing in of new people to this core group such as tourism officials and how to seek grant funding for projects. The group has discussed everything from regulatory changes, to general repairs and alternative funding resources, and the flow of ideas has led to the three communities working together to bring together the common goals of their own community plans.
The digital driver’s license would contain the same information as what is found on a plastic driver’s license. It would display as an app on the license holder’s smartphone. The Illinois move follows a policy push in the neighboring state of Iowa, where lawmakers have created a pilot program intended to push for the implementation of electronic digital driver’s licenses in the Hawkeye State as soon as 2016.

The Electronic Driver’s License Task Force, convened this fall to help Illinois to look into this technological possibility, was created this year by SJR 11, sponsored in the Illinois House by Rep. Steven Andersson. Any movement toward digital driver’s licenses will have to be implemented by the Driver Services division of the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State. If the resolution creating this Task Force is amended by SJR 36, the Task Force will be asked to report to the General Assembly on its findings no later than May 1, 2016.
Top Box Food Express is coming to Zion! The Top Box Foods program is held at the Shiloh Center at 2600 Emmaus in Zion once a month. The next event will be Wednesday, December 16 from 12:30 to 2:00 pm. Top Box is working in partnership with the Coalition for Healthy Communities, to bring nutritious, affordable food to all of our residents. Top Box is a community-based non-profit that sells delicious, and healthy boxes of food for up to 40% off prices you’d find at the grocery store. Top Box is a community supported, once a month shopping experience that is open to everyone. Click here for details.

Boxes available:
Garden Box - $10

3lb bag of Golden Delicious apples
5lb bag of red potatoes
1lb bag of carrots
4 pack of corn
2 medium onions
1 green pepper
1 orange pepper
2 acorn squashes
4 sweet potatoes
1 pint of grape tomatoes
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced in September that his office would suspend mailing out vehicle registration renewal reminders to the public due to the lack of a state budget. In order to receive a reminder, you must sign-up to receive electronic notices through the Secretary of State’s web site www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

Click here to sign up, you will need your Registration ID and PIN number found on your current registration card. If you do not have your current registration card, please call the Public Inquiry Division at 800-252-8980 to obtain your Registration ID and PIN number.
"Gurnee and Waukegan mayors on Monday praised legislation out of Springfield that will release billions of dollars tied up amid Illinois's budget stalemate — including money some towns use to fund snow-clearing operations."

As with the State-managed pension funds overseen from Springfield, many local public-sector retirement funds are posting significant unfunded liabilities. “Unfunded liabilities” are defined by actuaries as balance sheets where the present value of the actuarial liabilities of the system – the cost of future pension payments that must be paid to persons vested in the system – exceed the present value of the actuarial assets of the system. Actuarial assets are the financial assets actually in hand, multiplied by a prudent estimate of future investment returns.
An AP analysis of the Urbana-Champaign campus (UIUC) of Illinois’ largest state university indicates that admissions of students who gave an Illinois address as their home address recently increased by 11% over the previous year. The year-over-year increase used the 2014 UIUC fall term as the baseline and the 2015 fall term as the active population.

The UIUC admissions office had to make changes in other variables in order to achieve this significant change in the population of students who accepted their admission to UIUC. A slight drop was recorded in average figures posted by admittees on the primary test, the ACT, used by UIUC for admissions purposes. The university also offered slightly more generous packages of financial aid to many of its admitted students, with financial aid increasing by $5.4 million over the previous year. UIUC financial aid is concentrated among students from low-income families and under-represented identity groups.
State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) has called the House’s action to pass Senate Bill 2039 a show of maturity, as the House voted last week to release motor fuel tax receipts and other funds designated to fund local road and public safety projects, including 9-1-1 services.

Much was made of the passage of House Bill 4305 in the House in November, only to see the House Speaker put a hold on the bill, preventing it from moving to the Senate. House Bill 4305 contained the same language as the amendment to Senate Bill 2039. The passage of Senate Bill 2039 in the House and moving it to the Senate means the Senate can act without a 3-day waiting requirement and promptly move the bill to the Governor for passage.

“While meaningful progress on most budget issues has stalled in Springfield this year, I was glad to see the House show some maturity and bring members on both sides of the aisle together in supporting Senate Bill 2039,” said Jesiel. “Building consensus is the way our system is supposed to work and I expect the Senate to act without delay as they convene today and allow the Governor to sign the legislation.”
The Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center offers advice on preventing diabetes through screening and healthy living. The health department is encouraging residents to take the free Prediabetes Screening Test at www.prediabetesrisk.com as a first step toward determining one’s risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, but it should not replace regular visits with a doctor.

The Prediabetes Screening Test takes less than one minute to complete. Those who score a five or higher are at increased risk for having Type 2 diabetes. They should talk with their doctor to see if additional testing is needed. A person with prediabetes has a blood sugar level higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.
On Monday, Representative Sheri Jesiel had the opportunity to tour the Grove at the Lake and see how the facility provides vital living and rehabilitation services to so many senior citizens in the 61st District.

The ZB Guide has the story, click here.