July New Laws and Gas Tax Hike, Bumpstocks, Energy Assistance, and More

New July Laws, Higher Gas Taxes

On July 1, new laws will take effect in Illinois…and you will also be paying more at the pump for gas.

Illinois gas tax will go up automatically on July 1st | WGN-TV (wgntv.com)

Illinois’ Ban on ‘Bump Stocks’ Remains in Place Despite U.S. Supreme Court Decision

An Illinois law banning the sale and use of “bump stocks” and other devices that increase the firing power of semiautomatic firearms remains in place, at least for now, despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision Friday striking down a federal ban on such items.

“Illinois law is not affected by the decision,” a spokesperson for Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in an email statement.

Meanwhile, however, advocates on both sides of the gun control debate in the United States are anxiously waiting to learn whether the high court will hear a broader constitutional challenge to the state’s 2023 assault weapons ban, which includes the state-level ban on bump stocks. An announcement on that appeal could come at any time in the next several days.

Lawmakers Will Try Again in Veto Session to Enact Wetlands Protections

Among the many important bills that did not pass both Houses of the General Assembly this spring is legislation that sought to restore protections for wetlands in Illinois. We will likely take up this bill again during our upcoming Fall Veto Session.

As Illinois session ends, lawmakers’ attempt to reinstate wetland protections fails (capitolnewsillinois.com)

House Republicans Work to Extend Energy Assistance for Low-Income Families

Bi-partisan legislation is headed to the Governor’s desk that will help extend energy assistance for low income families. HB 4471 amends the Energy Assistance Act and removes the sunset on the Supplemental Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund, which was previously set for January 1, 2025.

The Supplemental Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund is responsible for providing payments to electric or gas utility companies, municipal utilities or to pay for necessary home weatherization services on behalf of those enrolled in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). More than 311,000 households were helped by the LIHEAP funding that was available from September of 2022 through May of 2023. Currently, applications are open until August 2024 for existing LIHEAP recipients.

Stay Cool!

Summer is officially underway, and so is a heatwave that will last the weekend and into the beginning of next week. Here are some important tips to stay safe in extreme heat:

  • Stay out of the sun. If you must be in the sun, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15) and a wide-brimmed hat. Stay in the shade or under awnings as much as possible.
  • Avoid overexertion and strenuous outdoor activities.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible to prevent sunburn.
  • Consume plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Water, diluted juices, and electrolyte solutions are best. Stay away from carbonated drinks.
  • Keep lights in your home low or off, keep shades drawn, and avoid using the oven.
  • Keep rooms well-ventilated with air conditioners and fans. Keep your windows open if you don’t have air conditioning or a fan. Note: Fans will not prevent heat-related illness when the temperature is in the high 90s.
  • Take advantage of cooling centers, public pools, and air-conditioned stores and malls during periods of extreme heat. Exposure to air conditioning for even a few hours a day will reduce the risk for heat-related illness.

Find more information at https://ready.illinois.gov/hazards/extremetempshot.html