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Legal updates from Three Rivers Association Attorney

By Gary S. Mueller, Mueller & Associates, LTD

Phone:  815-725-7300                        e-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Gary Mueller resized cropped CopySterlingR 2019 Med

January 2020

As I write this, I am looking at the calendar in wonderment. Wow! What the heck happened to 2019?  I am either getting way too old (some say time goes quicker as one ages) or life is simply too hectic.  As I cannot really work to get younger, I vow to work to be less hectic in 2020.

As another year begins, we experience new laws that take effect.  Probably the potentially most impactful new law is the allowance of the use of recreational marijuana.  In my years concentrating on politics and the way laws affect one’s daily life, I honestly did NOT think we would ever get to this point---the legalization of recreational marijuana.  In my opinion, daily lives will change.  There will be some who push the limits of the law.  There will be some who consume responsibly and others who do not.  As is the case with any substance that can affect one’s body, each person will be affected differently.  I truly hope that, after what will likely be a “honeymoon” period in the initial months of the new law, moderation and rationalism will win the day.

There are other laws that take effect Jan 1 that may be of interest.  The following are some of the over 250 new laws that are now “in the books”:

  1. If your child is a paid performer, a new law requires at least 15 percent of gross earnings to be deposited into a trust fund they can access when the child turns 18;
  2. If you are out in public and need to use a baby changing table, a new law requires EVERY public building with public restrooms to be equipped with at least one safe, sanitary, and accessible baby diaper changing station accessible to women;
  3. Any single-occupancy bathroom in public must have a sign that notes “restroom” without a specific gender designation;
  4. Starting Jan 1, medical cannabis can be administered to qualified patients at all schools---public or private;
  5. It will now be illegal for a driver to watch or stream a video while behind the wheel (honest, the government felt this needed to be codified by passing and signing this into law);
  6. Employers can no longer inquire into or use an arrest record as a basis for an employment decision;
  7. Arrest records cannot be used to refuse to engage with a buyer or seller in a real estate transaction;
  8. If one is suffering through a divorce and wants to reclaim a maiden name, the name change does not need to be separately published.

A gentle reminder to all---(and please share this with the attorney with whom you typically work)----remember when providing a real estate property tax proration that some taxing bodies are providing credits to owners for a prior year’s bill. For example, Channahon School District is refunding part of the taxes paid by an owner and is using the name and address of the owner, per the recorded deed, as of Dec 4.  This actually mattered in a transaction that our office handled. We represented the buyer. There were some closing cost credit issues among other credits. We closed right before Thanksgiving.  In order for my client to receive the fully negotiated credit for repairs and other improvements from the seller (as my client had maxed out on his lender approved closing cost credits), the parties agreed to allow my client to claim the credit from the School District.  Our office worked to make sure the deed was recorded by Dec 4 and also re-confirmed the deadline with representatives of the School District.  Another example is the Village of New Lenox. Once again, the Village is extending a credit to home owners who pay real estate property taxes.  In short----do not leave these credits “out there” without discussing them prior to or at closing.  A seller who has always enjoyed the rebate, and who likely paid the taxes upon which the rebate is based, may be surprised if the rebate, after the closing, is given to the buyer.  Simply put---stay vigilant.

I hope you and your family enjoyed a truly blessed holiday season. I hope your business plan for 2020 provides you happiness and prosperity and allows you to keep your life in the new year a little less hectic.

Take care