MOUNT PULASKI — Nitrate levels have returned to regular levels in Mount Pulaski, which has been under a drinking-water order since Dec. 31.
High nitrate levels are especially problematic for babies younger than 6 months old and for the elderly.
The town is continuing to monitor the levels. Previously, families with those age groups were asked to use bottled water.
Water sample results received Dec. 26 showed nitrate levels of 11 milligrams per liter, which is higher than the maximum contaminant level of 10 milligrams per liter.
Boiling tap water makes the problem worse, because the nitrates can become concentrated when the water evaporates. The same issue occurs when freezing, filtering or letting water stand.
Nitrates can come from natural, industrial or agricultural causes, including septic systems and runoff.
If you drive you already know you're paying higher gasoline taxes in order to help pay for road construction projects. But that isn't the end of it. Some other fees approved by lawmakers to pay for those projects kick in Jan. 1, including license plate fees that increase by $50 to $151 a year.
Fees for electric cars are going up to $248 a year, from the $35 every two years now in effect. And if you park those cars in a commercial lot or garage, you could end up paying a new parking tax.
READ MORE ABOUT THE FEES HERE
Several traffic fines are going up in the new year. The fine is increasing to $250 for failing to reduce speed and move over when emergency vehicles are on the highway. Also, the fine for failing to reduce speed and move over in a construction zone is going from $10,000 to $25,000.
The fine for passing a school bus that is stopped and has its visual signals displayed is doubling this year. A first offense will cost a violator $300 instead of $150. Do it again, and it will cost $1,000 instead of $500.
Murdering someone engaged in prayer or other religious activities at a place of worship will be a factor in sentencing or other increased penalties. Committing an assault or battery under the same circumstances will be subject to enhanced penalties.
Public restrooms will have to be more accommodating of infants who need a new diaper. Restrooms designated for women and those designated for men will need to have at least one diaper changing table. A bathroom for use by both genders also will be required to have one.
READ THE LEGISLATION HERE
The spot on the State Fairgrounds to sample all sorts of ethnic cuisine will get a new name. It's being retitled the "Village of Cultures" which was deemed to sound more inclusive.
Privacy protections are being extended to direct-to-consumer commercial genetic testing kits that people can now purchase. The company selling the tests cannot share information from the results with health or life insurance companies without the consent of the person tested.
Another new law will require "expedient time" reporting of data breaches that affect more than 500 Illinois residents.
In response to a number of suicides by law enforcement officers, new police officers will get instruction in how to recognize work-related stress and other issues that can lead to suicide. They also will be trained in how to help a person showing signs of distress.
The Department of Corrections no longer will be able to sue inmates to recover the cost of their imprisonment.
Public and private employers will be required to give employees training to combat workplace sexual harassment. The new law also prohibits private employers from requiring employees to sign non-disclosure agreements covering sexual harassment situations. Some hotel and casino employees will also have to be equipped with devices that can alert security if a person needs assistance.
Pharmacy benefit managers
New regulations go into effect covering pharmacy benefit managers that negotiate drug prices for health insurers. The regulations are intended to curb practices where the managers manipulate prices to eliminate competition, something that has hurt independent pharmacies that serve largely rural areas.
No watching movies while driving
You're not supposed to talk on the cell phone when you drive. Lawmakers have added to that that you shouldn't watch streaming videos while you drive.
Newly hired state employees will be automatically enrolled in the state's deferred compensation system, a program that is a supplement to the state pension system. Employees can opt out, but if they don't, 3 percent of their salary will go into the plan.