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New Laws that Can Impact Your Special Needs Child.

Post Secondary Transition Laws.

PA 102-0172 extends special education eligibility under Article 14 of the School Code to the end of the regular school year for students whose 22nd birthday falls within that regular school year. PA 102-0173 provides for recovery services during the 2021-2022 school year for students who turned 22 during a period when in-person instruction, services, or activities were suspended for at least three months.

Supporting Articles:

Time Out and Physical Restraint

PA  102-0339 takes additional steps to move away from the use of time out and physical restraint. The main components of the bill include (1) additional oversight from ISBE; (2) district level plans to reduce the use of isolated time out, time out, and physical restraint; (3) codification of definitions and rules in the current regulations (with a few modifications); and (4) the opportunity for parents to request a post-incident meeting to debrief. Additional information about this law is available in this recent post. We will be watching for ISBE to release new regulations, grant information, and goals/benchmarks for reducing the use of these restrictive interventions.

Supporting Article:

Website Accessibility

P.A. 102-0238 takes effect August 1, 2022, and requires that any third-party online curriculum that is made available to enrolled students by a school district through the internet is readily accessible to persons with disabilities. The Department of Education reported that students with disabilities had more difficulty accessing remote learning than their nondisabled peers. The new law aims to address the accessibility challenges by mandating compliance with Level AA of the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 or any revised version of those guidelines.

PUNS Information

PA 102-57 requires IEP teams to provide families with a copy of the Department of Human Service’s “Understanding PUNS: A Guide to Prioritization for Urgency of Need for Services” each year at the annual review meeting. While the law previously provided that the opportunity to enroll in the PUNS database be discussed at the annual review meeting for students believed to have a developmental disability, the new provision appears to apply to all students with IEPs.

In-State Residential Options

P.A. 102-1254, provides that before the IEP team places a student in an out-of-state special education residential facility, the district and family must explore in-state options. In-state options must also be considered at an annual review while the student is placed residentially out-of-state. While keeping students close to home is a priority, the lack of capacity at approved residential placements both in- and out-of-state is a pressing concern that will likely limit the impact of this new law.

Mental and Behavioral Health Days

PA 102-0266 and PA 102-0321 (which are identical) provide for excused absences for the student’s mental or behavioral health. The laws allow up to 5 such excused absences without a medical note and require the opportunity to make up missed schoolwork. These laws take effect January 1, 2022. Read more in this recent post.

High-Cost Special Education Funding Commission

PA 102-0150 creates this new Commission to make recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly for an alternative funding structure for high-cost special education students that is aligned to the principals of the evidence-based funding formula. The Commission must report its recommendations by November 30, 2021.


PA 102-0357 requires thirty minutes per day for supervised, unstructured, child-directed play for all students in kindergarten through grade 5. This time can include organized games, but not computers or other electronic devices, and should be held outdoors or in a space that promotes physical activity. Play time cannot be withheld as a disciplinary or punitive action unless the student’s participation poses an immediate threat to the safety of the student or others. For students with IEPs, the team should consider what supports or accommodations the student will need to be able to participate.

Juvenile Justice bills:

Senate Bill 2122

Amends the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 and the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. Provides that an oral, written, or sign language statement of a minor, who at the time of the commission of the offense was under 18 years of age, made as a result of a custodial interrogation conducted at a police station or other place of detention on or after the effective date of the amendatory Act shall be presumed to be inadmissible as evidence in a criminal proceeding or a juvenile court proceeding for an act that if committed by an adult would be a misdemeanor offense under the Sex Offenses Article of the Criminal Code of 2012 or a felony offense under the Criminal Code of 2012 if, during the custodial interrogation, a law enforcement officer, juvenile officer, or other public official or employee, knowingly engages in deception.

Supporting Articles:


Amends the Code of Civil Procedure. Provides that anything said or done during or in preparation for a restorative justice practice or as a follow-up to that practice, or the fact that the practice has been planned or convened, is privileged and cannot be referred to, used, or admitted in any civil, criminal, juvenile, or administrative proceeding unless the privilege is waived, during the proceeding or in writing, by the party or parties protected by the privilege. Provides that the legitimacy of a restorative justice practice, if challenged in any civil, juvenile, criminal, or administrative proceeding, shall be determined by a judge. Provides that the privilege does not apply when: (1) disclosure is necessary to prevent death, great bodily harm, or the commission of a crime; (2) necessary to comply with another law; or (3) a court, tribunal, or administrative body requires a report on a restorative justice practice, but such report shall be limited to the fact that a practice has taken place, an opinion regarding the success of the practice, and whether further restorative justice practices are expected. Effective immediately.

House Bill 3587 and Senate Bill 2129 Creates Re-sentencing Act.

Amends the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. Provides that at any time upon the recommendation of the State’s Attorney of the county in which the defendant was sentenced, the State’s Attorney may petition the sentencing court or the sentencing court’s successor to resentence the offender if the original sentence no longer advances the interests of justice. Provides that the sentencing court or the sentencing court’s successor may resentence the offender if it finds that the original sentence no longer advances the interests of justice. Provides that, upon receipt of a petition for resentencing, the court may resentence the defendant in the same manner as if the offender had not previously been sentenced; however, the new sentence, if any, may not be greater than the initial sentence. Provides that the court may consider postconviction factors, including, but not limited to, the inmate’s disciplinary record and record of rehabilitation while incarcerated; evidence that reflects whether age, time served, and diminished physical condition, if any, have reduced the inmate’s risk for future violence; and evidence that reflects changed circumstances since the inmate’s original sentencing such that the inmate’s continued incarceration no longer serves the interests of justice. Provides that credit shall be given for time served; that victims shall be afforded all rights as outlined in the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act; and that resentencing shall not reopen the defendant’s conviction to challenges that would otherwise be barred. Provides that nothing in the new provisions shall be construed to limit the power of the Governor under the Constitution to grant a reprieve, commutation of sentence, or pardon.

Read more related articles at:

Know the Laws That Protect Your Child With Special Needs

What Parents Need to Know about Special Education Rights

Also, read one of our previous Blogs at:

Special Needs Trust Options

Click here to check out our On Demand Video about Estate Planning.

Click here for a short informative video from our own Attorney Bill O’Leary.

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