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Top 10 list of legal legislation sent to the governor

By Jim Covington, ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs

This is a quick and dirty summary of 10 bills that have been passed by both chambers that may be of interest to ISBA members. The General Assembly has 30 days from passage to transmit it to the Governor, and he then has 60 days to take action on them. Enjoy!

(1) Tort cases and settlement problems.Senate Bill 1912 (Raoul, D-Chicago; Sims, D-Chicago) amends the Code of Civil Procedure to create an enforcement mechanism for cases in which the parties agree to settle, but the defendant won’t comply with the agreement. It is limited to cases seeking money damages involving personal injury, wrongful death, or tort action. It requires a settling defendant pay all sums due to the plaintiff within 30 days of tender of all applicable documents required under this new Section.

It requires a “settling defendant” to tender a release to the plaintiff within 14 days of written confirmation of the settlement. If the law requires court approval of a settlement, the plaintiff must tender to the defendant a copy of the court order approving the settlement. If there is a known third-party right of recovery or subrogation interest, the plaintiff may protect the third-party’s right of recovery or subrogation interest by tendering to the defendant:

  • A signed release of the attorney’s lien; and
  • A signed release of the healthcare-provider lien or documentation of the agreement between the plaintiff and Medicare or private health insurance company as to the amount of the settlement that will be accepted in satisfaction of the right of recovery; or
  • An offer that the defendant hold the full amount of the claimed right to recovery pending a final resolution of the right to recovery; or  
  • Documentation of any other resolution of the liens as agreed to by the parties.

If the court finds, after a hearing, that payment has not been made within 30 days of tender of the necessary documents, judgment must be entered against that defendant for the amount in the executed release, costs incurred in obtaining the judgment, and 9% interest from the date of the plaintiff’s tender. Senate Bill 1912 exempts units of local government, the State of Illinois, and state employees.

(2) Fraudulent real estate documents. House Bill 2832 (Lang, D-Chicago; Silverstein, D-Chicago) allows a recorder of deeds to establish and use a “Fraud Referral and Review Process” for deeds and instruments that the recorder reasonably believes are fraudulent, unlawfully altered, or intended to unlawfully cloud or transfer the title of any real property. If the recorder reasonably believes the document is fraudulent, the recorder may refer the instrument to a county administrative law judge for review. If the ALJ finds by clear and convincing evidence that the document is fraudulent, the ALJ must issue a judgment to that effect with a notation that the fraudulent document may not affect the chain of title of the property in any way.

(3) Access to Justice Act. House Bill 3111 (McAsey, D-Lockport; Mulroe, D-Chicago) creates the Access to Justice Act that imposes a $10 fee on every civil filing to fund it. House Bill 3111 encourages the Supreme Court to develop a pilot program to create a statewide military personnel and veterans’ legal assistance hotline and coordinated network of legal support resources; and a pilot program to provide court-based legal assistance within a circuit court in each appellate district of this State. It also creates the Statutory Court Fee Task Force to conduct a thorough review of the various statutory fees imposed or assessed on criminal defendants and civil plaintiffs and adds provisions concerning the administration and duties of the Task Force.

(4) Juvenile Court Act. House Bill 3172 (Tracy, R-Quincy; Clayborne, D- E. St. Louis) amends the “continuance under supervision” section (Section 615) to track the procedure followed in adult criminal court. It does the following: (1) Leaves current law so that a case may be continued under supervision before a finding of delinquency with the approval of the state’s attorney. (2) Amends § 615 to allow the court to continue case under supervision after a finding of delinquency. It adds the same criteria from the supervision statute in the Criminal Code that the judge must consider before ordering supervision. Regardless of when this happens, current law is retained that prohibits a case from being continued under supervision for any forcible felony, a Class X felony, and first-degree murder.

(5) Driving and cell phones. House Bill 1247 (D’Amico, D-Chicago; Mulroe, D-Chicago) prohibits using a hand-held cell phone or personal digital assistant while driving. Exempts the use of a hands-free or voice-operated mode, which may include the use of a headset. It also exempts using an electronic communication device that is activated by pressing a single button to initiate or terminate a voice communication. Second or subsequent convictions are moving violations. The fine is a maximum of $75 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense, $125 for the third offense, and $150 for the fourth or subsequent offense.

(6) Visitation. House Bill 2992 (Harms, R-Watseka; Silverstein, D-Chicago) allows a court to consider, consistent with the best interest of the child, whether to award to one or both of the parties the “right of first refusal” to provide child care for the minor child or children during the other parent’s normal parenting time. The parties may agree to a right of first refusal, but if they do not and the court determines that a right of first refusal is in the best interest of the child, the court shall consider new statutory criteria and make provisions for it consistent with the best interest of the child. It doesn’t affect use of a substitute child-care provider for emergency situations and applies only if a party intends to leave the minor child or children with a substitute child-care provider for a significant period of time.

(7) Collection procedures. Senate Bill 1044 (Silverstein, D-Chicago; Lang, D-Skokie) makes four changes to collection practice. (1) Allows enforcements (wage deduction orders, pay orders and turnover orders) to continue beyond seven years without revival. If a judgment becomes dormant during the pendency of an enforcement proceeding against wages under Part 14 of this Article or under Article XII, the enforcement may continue to conclusion without revival of the underlying judgment so long as the enforcement is done under court supervision and includes a wage deduction order or turnover order and is against an employer, garnishee, or other third-party respondent. (2) Allows service of garnishments by certified mail. (3) Makes the recording of foreign judgments as liens on real estate. (4) Clarifies that a court in a citation proceeding may enter any order that could be entered in a non-wage garnishment and that this change is declaratory of existing law.

(8) Raising the age of juvenile court. House Bill 2404 (Currie, D-Chicago; Steans, D-Chicago) raises the age of jurisdiction for juvenile court from 17 to 18 for most felony offenses. The jurisdictional age for most misdemeanor offenses was raised from 17 to 18 several years ago.

(9) UM coverage. Senate Bill 1898 (Biss, D-Skokie; Fine, D-Glenview) increases the required minimum liability insurance policies for drivers as follows: bodily injury or death to any one person from $20,000 to $25,000; bodily injury or death to more than one person from $40,000 to $50,000; and injury or destruction of property of others from $15,000 to $20,000. Applies to insurance policies written or renewed after Jan. 1, 2015.

(10) The Recreational Use of Land and Water Areas Act. Senate Bill 1042 (Harmon, D-Oak Park; Williams, D-Chicago) amends this Act so that owners of land who permit (without charge) a person to use their property for “recreational or conservation purposes” don’t incur any liability except for willful and wanton failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity. But owners don’t enjoy this protection if the owner invites or charges a person who enters the land for recreational use.

Also sent to the Governor but of major importance are the Health Insurance Exchange bill (House Bill 1017), the Medicaid expansion (Senate Bill 26), and medical cannabis (House Bill 1).

Posted on Jun 01, 2013 by Chris Bonjean | Comments (2)
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Member Comments

I love the reporting and hard work of our legislative staff. Thanks Jim. But as to H.B. 3111, when is ISBA going to stand up and oppose the ever growing taxes on access to justice for EVERYONE. Adding additional fees to fund our courts is the wrong way to go. It taxes some people who can least afford access to courts already in order to support a different -- even if worthy -- group. We need REAL reform in how we fund our courts and should speak loudly on the topic. One way is to point out the harm of additional fees on already complex and expensive filing fees. Carl Draper
Jim as always you are doing a great job, but I would have added the Medical Marijuana Bill to this list. It will have tremendous impact on all of the citizens in our state.

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