Legislative Potpourri – 2011

Over the summer, as the dust settled from the frenzy that was Springfield in late May, 2011, one finds the Legislature and Governor actually enacted bills on matters other than the redistricting of elected officials in our State. While by no means an exhaustive list, here are a few highlights from the spring session –
– Worker’s Compensation: A variety of changes were passed, including limits to hand injuries (especially the popular carpal tunnel injury), reducing the medical fee schedules by 30% and changing the procedure used for employment and assignment of arbitrators (the judges for such cases). In addition to the medical fee cuts, the medical rights of choice for workers (two doctors and referrals) has been limited, as employers have a right to establish a preferred provider network and, if the employee does not chose from within THAT constitutes his or her first “choice”. Most of these changes took effect in September, but substantive changes are not retroactive.
– Collection: Changes were made as to service options for LLC defendants/employers, lien application for land trusts and clarification that a foreign judgment registered in Illinois has a date (for revival and enforcement purposes) when it is filed in Illinois (not when issued in a neighboring state).
– Estate planning: Power of attorney forms were revised (again) to address health records access concerns and other exclusions, and specific legislation was adopted for appointment of a temporary guardian under emergent circumstances. In addition, the transfer on death (TOD) option available on most investment vehicles (bank accounts, etc.) has been extended to a person’s residential property; if properly executed, this allows the transfer of a decedent’s home outside the estate upon his or her death.
– Real estate: Changes included limitations on motions challenging mortgage foreclosures, transfer by a mortgagor to a purchaser of any security deposits under certain circumstances, expanding disclosure requirements for radon hazards, allowing leases to include felony or certain misdemeanors as a basis for eviction (by landlord or municipality), as well as statutes governing only Chicago (or all but Chicago) areas.
– Family law: Clarification is provided as to appointment and payment of “court’s witness”, sets parameters for continuation of life insurance that is marital property (and new insurance policies), modifies both adoption forms and the Adoption Registry, and adds options for action against parents who owe past-due child support.
In addition, a number of laws governing open meetings and information requests (FOIA) were also passed – including one that makes clear that the names of those who have applied or received firearms identification cards (FOID) are EXEMPT from any such requests. Should your personal or business needs be affected by these changes – or if you are not sure whether they are – contact our office for further information and advice.