Boating safety measures signed into law included Senate Bill 3434, which would allow law enforcement to seize boats or other watercraft under certain circumstances involving alcohol or drug use.
Two related measures were also approved:
• Senate Bill 2731 requires that any watercraft towing a person must display at the highest point of the area surrounding the boat's helm, a bright or brilliant orange flag visible from all directions, continuously, from the time the person gets out of the boat until they get back into the boat; and
• Senate Bill 3433 provides for new boating certification requirements, beginning January 1, 2016, including restrictions on persons younger than 18 operating a motorboat.
A devastating tornado in Gifford and other communities prompted legislation intended to help businesses rebuild after such storms. Senate Bill 3259 provides a preferential property assessment for small business-owned commercial or industrial property, which is destroyed by a tornado disaster.
This preferential valuation would be valid for 15 tax years following the tornado, or until the property changes hands. This attempts to lessen the impact to a business that is rebuilding after a natural disaster and is similar to the Natural Disaster Homestead Exemption for homeowners.
Sponsored by Senator Brady, the “Illinois Gives” initiative contained in House Bill 4590 will allow state employees and retirees to automatically have a portion of their pay or retirement benefits withheld as a contribution to Illinois chapters of the American Red Cross.
Helping persons learn more about their family histories and possibly better treat medical conditions is the goal of House Bill 5949. Under the measure, adult grandchildren of persons who were adopted will have greater access to original birth certificates and adoption registries and be able to meet with confidential mediators when seeking records related to their grandparents.
Also approved was House Bill 5755, which places the following question on the November 4, 2014, general election ballot: “Shall any health insurance plan in Illinois that provides prescription drug coverage be required to include prescription birth control as part of that coverage?”