Galesburg, IL – A western Illinois county will soon start enforcing the Smoke Free Illinois Act.
The law has been in place since January 2008 but a tool to enforce it has not. "Illinois amended their Smoke Free Illinois Act more than one year ago to address the concerns of due process," says Wil Hayes with the Knox County Health Department. "Part of what they did was make this an administrative fine, rather than a criminal penalty."
Hayes says the Illinois Department of Public Health now has rules in place to enforce the act by writing administrative citations. "It looks very similar to a standard citation that you would get for even speeding," Hayes says. "It's a multi copy citation that's going to be issued that sites someone for the administrative fine."
"The state health department was charged with developing a tool or a template for that tool," Hayes says. "We have been waiting for that to be completed so we could fine tune it in any way we felt we needed for Knox County and then send it off and get printed."
Hayes says law enforcement agencies in the county can start writing the citations to violators in the next couple weeks. He says those ticketed can either pay the fine or go before an administrative law judge. "The fine has to be paid within 28 days or they can appeal for a hearing," says Hayes. "Those hearings will take place at the regional office in Peoria. They would go before the administrative law judge and plead their case."
"I think this will be a very good system," says Hayes. "We are trying to make this as easy as possible. The goal is to get compliance so we don't have to write citations."