Motorists who text while driving will face tougher penalties as Illinois’ law regarding the use of hand-held devices behind the wheel takes effect on July 1.
Passed by the General Assembly in May 2018, House Bill 4846 will count first-time incidences of driving while operating a handheld mobile device as a “moving violation.” Prior to House Bill 4846, first offenses of distracted driving would be considered a “non-moving violation.”
An operator using a hand-held device while the car is in drive could face a $75 fine. Exceptions to the rule are made for situations such as a driver using a cell phone to report an emergency, using a device in hands-free or voice-operated modes, or a driver using a communication device while parked on the shoulder of a roadway.
Three moving violations in a year can result in a suspended driver’s license in Illinois.
Bipartisan panel helps create new Census Office
With the decennial census just around the corner, action was taken during the week to prepare for the task of counting Illinois’ citizens.
On June 20, an Executive Order was signed dedicating $29 million for the 2020 Census and making other preparations for the count. This investment will primarily go to out-reach and education, providing proportional grants to communities, especially hard-to-count populations.
A new Census Office will also be established in the Illinois Department of Human Services to take the lead on filing public reports online on a monthly basis to detail its budget, expenditures and distributions of funds to organizations throughout Illinois.
The 12-member bipartisan Census Advisory Panel will guide the Census Office’s work and advise the Census Office on drafting and ensuring a wide distribution of the Notice of Funding Opportunity, working with the Illinois Complete Count Commission and ensuring that all communities receive communications during the 2020 Census.