New Laws

Via Unsplash.

At the start of the new year, nearly 300 laws went into effect in Illinois, including occupational outlook reports for freshly declared majors, training for mandated reporters and more.

Phyleccia Cole, senior system counsel at SIUE, said the university is made aware of various laws while they were still in the legislative process, due to the university’s legislative liaison in Springfield. The liaisons monitors laws that would be applicable to the university.

Cole said because of the variety of laws that can affect the university, how the laws are handled and whether a policy change is needed or not must be determined case by case.

“There’s not a set process to deal with all of [the laws] because some of them might be financial in nature or deal with reporting,” Cole said. “There are other laws that are implemented that don’t necessarily require us to change a policy but do require us to take some action.”

There were several laws that would apply directly to SIUE. One of the laws, HB 00375, requires the governing board of a public university to notify an adjunct professor about the status of the class before the start of a term and again 14 days before the beginning of a term. Cole said the university has not been required to do so before.

One of the laws may affect the Title IX office and its policies. The law is SB 02567, and it defines “unable to give knowing consent” as it relates to sexual assault offenses.

Jamie Ball, director for Equal Opportunity, Access and Title IX Coordination, said that the law takes into consideration how consent is perceived and how power can play into consent.

“I think it relates a lot to things like the circumstances of someone being incarcerated or being a patient, someone is under someone’s care or under someone’s authority, so those are important,” Ball said.

She said she is unsure if this is already reflected in SIUE’s Title IX policies since their documents are constantly changing and being updated as well.

“We may need to think about a little bit of a tweak to our policy related to consent,” Ball said. “Our policies are always living documents, and we’re always trying to be responsive to any changes in state or federal law.”

Another law that may bring changes to SIUE is SB 01638, which requires the board of trustees of each public university in the state, to provide occupational outlook reports associated with their new major if the student changes their major or program of study. Gerald O’Brien, a social work professor, said this law came about because of the recent push for more visibility for student rights.

“Making sure that students aren’t sold a bill of goods and that they know what they’re getting into. This is not only occupational outlook for specific areas but also [information on] their student loans,” O’Brien said.

There was also HB 3100, which requires mandated reporters of child abuse or neglect to complete an initial mandated reporter training, including a section on implicit bias training. All university employees are mandated reporters, which means this law will affect mandated reporter training.

O’Brien said this law would primarily increase the amount of information provided during implicit bias training as it relates to child welfare employees, such as Department of Children and Family Services employees. He said this law was one of the more contested laws that was voted on, as it discussed implicit bias training.

“[Many others] were either unanimous or close to being unanimous in terms of going through. But this one, both at the House and the Senate had a number of votes in opposition. There are a number of lawmakers who are not so crazy about the implicit bias training,” O’Brien said.

For more information, visit the Illinois congress website or the SIU General Counsel's website.

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