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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — In addition to Chicago businesses having to check the vaccination statuses of patrons, a host of new state laws are about to take effect in the new year.

Illinois’ lowest wage workers are set to get a raise. The minimum wage is increasing to $12 per hour and will continue climbing until $15 per hour in 2025.

In 2021, top athletes, including legendary gymnast Simone Biles, talked openly about prioritizing mental health.

Beginning in the new year, Illinois students will be able to more easily do that. A new law takes effect giving students up to five days off for mental health.

Also new to Illinois schools in 2022, a law prohibiting rules regarding hairstyles such as braids and twists. The measure is aimed at ending discrimination based on hairstyles.

New for students next year, the ability to choose whether to submit their ACT or SAT score when applying to public institutions.

New consumer protection laws will be on the books. When a loved one dies, survivors are sometimes burdened with cancellation fees from utilities. That will no longer be allowed under law.

Starting Jan 1, phone, television and internet providers are prohibited from charging a fee for early cancellation of a service contract.

Children’s lemonade stands are getting new protections. Hayli’s Law ensures children under 16 can run a lemonade stand without a permit or license.

Firearms owners in the state should brace for changes. Fingerprinting for firearms is encouraged, although it is not required. State police can beginning issuing a combined FOID Card and concealed carry license as they establish a public database aimed at preventing the transfer of stolen firearms.

And for the surviving spouse or parent of a U.S. service member killed in a war, free Gold Star licenses plates will be available. The specialty plates used to cost $151.

Sex education curriculum is changing. No later than Aug. 1, 2022, the State Board of Education must develop and provide resource materials that be used in sex education classes.