Attorney General Madigan: New Year Brings New Laws

Attorney General Lisa Madigan highlighted new laws initiated by her office that will go into effect Jan. 1. In 2016 Illinois will become the fourth state to explicitly allow electronic monitoring devices to be installed in resident rooms in nursing home facilities.

House Bill 2462 sponsored by Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, and Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan stemmed from complaints Madigan’s office received from nursing home residents and families who were concerned for their relatives’ care and safety. The new law allows residents of nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities or their family members to purchase and install video or audio monitoring devices in their rooms.

Attorney General Madigan highlighted additional laws that go into effect on Jan. 1:

Protecting Victims of Crime

Senate Bill 1866 (Public Act 99-0444), sponsored by Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford, D-Maywood, and Rep. Christian Mitchell, D-Chicago, requires vendors who provide hospital, medical, dental and counseling services to victims of violent crime to wait until the Court of Claims issues a final decision on a victim’s crime victims compensation claim before demanding payment or referring unpaid bills to a debt collection agency. The need for this new law stemmed from frequent instances in which vendors would take action to collect on a crime victim’s bill while payment from the state was still pending, which can be emotionally traumatizing for the victims, as well as harmful to his or her credit rating.

Protecting Survivors of Sexual Assault

House Bill 3848 (Public Act 99-0454) brings Illinois into compliance with the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which requires the state to certify that sexual assault survivors are not being billed for medical forensic examinations as a condition of receiving federal grant funds. Sponsored by Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg, and Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, the law prevents survivors of sexual assaults from being re-traumatized by expressly prohibiting hospitals, emergency room physicians and other providers of sexual assault services from charging the survivor or sending the survivor a bill.