ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Although much attention has been given to implementation of the SAFE-T Act, which eliminates cash bail in Illinois on January 1st, 2023, there are a number of other laws residents will have to obey going into effect.


The Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity-Today Act, which was introduced by the Illinois Black Caucus as part of Black legislators’ response to the murder of George Floyd, and was passed by the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives in the early hours of Jan. 13, 2021.

The act abolishes the money bail system beginning Jan. 1, 2023. According to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the cash bail system disproportionately impacts Black and brown communities and other underrepresented or impoverished groups, who can’t afford bond

Many Illinois law enforcement agencies have warned the act will embolden criminals and make it harder for police to keep offenders off the streets.

Sixty-two Illinois States Attorneys have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the SAFE-T Act and have filed lawsuits to overturn it before it goes into effect. The hearing was postponed until December 20th.

Police officers required to wear body cameras

One of the provisions of the SAFE-T Act amends the Illinois Law Enforcement Officer-Worn Body Camera Act, enacted in 2016, to require all officers to wear on-duty body cameras by Jan. 1, 2025.

Currently, only 10% of law enforcement agencies in the state are equipped with body-worn cameras.

Smaller police departments have voiced concern that the mandate comes without funds to pay for the service, and could put a strain on community resources.

Amendment 1

The “Worker’s Rights Amendment” would make it a constitutional right to collectively bargain or join a union in Illinois. It would also stop any laws from being able to change or restrict the process of joining a union.

Unions groups say it could signal a new chapter in the struggle over workers’ rights as U.S. union ranks have grown as everyone from coffee shop baristas to warehouse workers seeks to organize.

Business groups and conservatives opposed the measure, saying they think it will drive up taxes, give unions too much power, lead to more strikes and prompt companies to leave for more industry-friendly states.

Homes are required to have 10-year battery smoke detectors

Illinois home smoke alarms must be equipped with 10-year sealed batteries starting January 1.

According to Public Act 100-0200, which was passed in 2017, smoke alarms that were installed in homes prior to January 1st can remain in place until they are 10 years old.

Homes built after 1988 that already have hardwired alarms or wireless integrated alarms are exempt from the new law.

Anti-hair discrimination

The CROWN Act makes it illegal to discriminate against black women with natural hairstyles.

Women with natural hairstyles are less likely to be recommended for a job, compared to white women who have curly or straight hair–according to a study by Dove. Supporters say people should be able to style their hair as they please.

Trauma-informed school boards

School board members will be required to take training on “trauma-informed practices,” including “the prevalence of trauma among students, including the prevalence of trauma among student populations,” and “the effects of implicit or explicit bias on recognizing trauma among various students in connection with race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation.”

Employee sick leave

The Employee Sick Leave Act was modified for 2023, requiring rights provided by the act are made the minimum standard in a collective bargaining agreement.

You can see the full list of laws here.