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The State Laws of Illinois


Illinois has recently passed several new laws that impact its residents in various ways. From changes in the minimum wage to new regulations on healthcare, these updates have significant implications for Illinoisans. In this article, we will explore some of the most recent changes in Illinois state law and their effects on the state’s residents.

Minimum Wage Increase:

In February 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed SB 1, which amended the Illinois Minimum Wage Law. The bill raised the state’s minimum wage from $8.25 per hour to $15 per hour, with gradual increases over six years. The first increase took place on January 1, 2020, with the minimum wage rising to $9.25 per hour. The following year, on January 1, 2021, the minimum wage increased again to $11 per hour.

The new minimum wage requirements apply to most employers in Illinois, with some exceptions, such as tipped workers, who will have their wages gradually increased to 60% of the regular minimum wage rate. The new law is significant for workers in Illinois, particularly those who are making minimum wage, as they will see their salaries increase significantly over the coming years.

Cannabis Legalization:

In January 2020, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, adults aged 21 and older can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, 500 milligrams of THC in other products, and five grams of cannabis concentrate. Individuals can also grow up to five cannabis plants in their homes for personal use.

The law also established a regulatory framework for commercial cannabis cultivation and sale. Cannabis sales began on January 1, 2020, with the state collecting a 10% tax on cannabis products with THC levels below 35%, and a 20% tax on products with higher THC levels. Local municipalities can also impose additional taxes on top of the state-level taxes.

The legalization of cannabis is expected to have a significant economic impact on Illinois, with projected sales of $1.6 billion by 2025. The law provides for equity measures to address past harms caused by the war on drugs, including expunging some cannabis-related criminal records and providing support for communities disproportionately impacted by drug enforcement policies.

Healthcare Reforms:

In 2019, Illinois passed legislation that aims to lower the cost of healthcare and improve access to care. The reforms focus on three main areas:

  1. Prescription Drug Pricing: The law requires pharmaceutical companies to be transparent about drug prices and justify price increases, providing oversight and accountability. The new law also allows for the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, where prices are often lower.
  2. Surprise Medical Billing: The law protects consumers from “surprise” medical bills – unexpected charges from out-of-network providers – by requiring insurers to cover the cost of care provided by out-of-network providers at the same rate as in-network providers.
  3. Medicaid Expansion: The state of Illinois has opted to expand its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. The expansion provides coverage for adults aged 19-64 with an income of up to 138% of the federal poverty level.

The healthcare reforms aim to address concerns about the affordability and accessibility of healthcare in Illinois. By lowering prescription drug costs, ensuring fair payment practices, and expanding coverage to low-income individuals, the reforms aim to improve the overall health of Illinois residents.

New Elections Law:

In 2019, Illinois passed a new elections law, known as SB 1829. The law aims to increase access to the ballot box and combat voter suppression by implementing several changes to state election laws. Some of the key changes include:

  1. Same-Day Voter Registration: Under the new law, voters can register to vote and cast their ballot on the same day at their polling place. This change makes voting more accessible and ensures that all eligible voters can participate in elections.
  2. Automatic Voter Registration: The law also implements automatic voter registration for eligible individuals who interact with various state agencies, such as the DMV or healthcare exchange. This change streamlines the voter registration process and ensures that eligible voters are registered to vote.
  3. Expanded Early Voting Hours: The law also expands early voting hours and ensures that polling places are open on weekends. This change makes it easier for voters to vote, particularly for those with busy schedules who cannot vote during traditional weekday hours.

By implementing these changes, the new elections law aims to increase voter turnout and ensure that all Illinois residents have access to the ballot box.


Illinois has recently passed several new laws that impact its residents in various ways. The changes to the minimum wage, the legalization of cannabis, healthcare reforms, and new elections laws are significant updates that aim to improve the lives of Illinoisans. By increasing access to healthcare and voting, and by raising the minimum wage and legalizing recreational cannabis, Illinois is making progress towards a more equitable and prosperous future. With more updates to come, Illinoisans can expect significant changes in the near future.