CHICAGO — The city is reminding residents of new laws that go into effect in 2021, including a $15 minimum wage, increased parking meter prices and a crackdown on speeding that will slap drivers with tickets for going just 6 mph over the limit.
“As we enter 2021 with renewed hope, the city is working to implement new laws passed this year that make our city safer, more equitable and more sustainable,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “These laws affect everyone from workers and small businesses to travelers and home-owners, and we want to make sure that everyone is aware of the regulations and deadlines that affect their lives.”
Here are changes coming in the months ahead:
Increased Parking Meter Rates
Starting Saturday, you may have noticed price increases at some meter pay boxes. Meters that were $2 per hour are now $2.25. The city is also adding 96 meter boxes to once-free parking zones.
Rates in the $4.50 and $7 zones won’t change.
Speed Camera Crackdown
Starting March 1, if a speed camera catches you going 6 mph above the speed limit, you’ll get a $35 ticket in the mail. Lightfoot’s office said the controversial plan was about public safety, but critics said it was a regressive way to boost revenue as the city tries to close a $1.2 billion budget gap.
The city will launch a 44-day warning period starting Jan. 15. Cars caught going 6-10 mph will receive a warning in the mail.
The city will start issuing actual tickets March 1. Fines are $35 for those caught going 6-10 mph over the speed limit and will remain $100 for those going 11 miles or more over the limit. You can find a map of the speed camera zones here.
Minimum Wage Boost
On July 1, Chicago’s minimum wage will increase to $15 an hour at large businesses and to $14.50 an hour for workers at businesses with 20 or fewer employees.
Also on July 1, the minimum wage for tipped workers will increase to $9 an hour, with employers required to make up the difference if base wage plus tips do not equal $15 an hour.
Shared Housing Reforms
If you rent out your space on Airbnb, you’ll soon need to register with the city. The new ordinance is an attempt to hold problem houses accountable.
Under the new rules, hosts can’t list their homes on rental sites before their applications are approved by the city, and hosts can be fined $5,000-$10,000 if their property is used for drug trafficking, prostitution, gang activity or parties, according to The Daily Line.
The ordinance also requires $125 home-sharing applications to be submitted to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, which will serve as a “point of intake” for the applications and will have a database to track them, according to The Daily Line.
COVID Business Relief
As the coronavirus pandemic rages on in 2021, the city is giving businesses a break on some time-consuming and pricey permit requirements.
All existing Sidewalk Cafes can operate until May 1 without needing to renew permits, and all business and public vehicle licenses with an expiration date between March 15, 2020, and June 15, 2021, will be considered active until July 15.
Licensees will have until July 15 to renew without paying a late fee.
Vehicle Fuel Tax and Cloud Tax
Those buying gas in the city saw a 3-cents-per-gallon tax starting Friday. The hike was part of Lightfoot’s plan to close the city’s huge budget gap.
There will also be a 1.75 percentage point increase to the cloud tax which is applied to computer leases of cloud software and cloud infrastructure.
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