The Illinois Senate on Tuesday passed and sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker a bill that would pave the way for people to use robotic “personal carrying devices” in Illinois.
Those are robotic devices designed to follow their owner around, carrying items that might be too heavy or bulky for the person to carry themselves. One, known as the Gita (pronounced “jee-ta”) is produced by the Italian automotive company Piaggio, which is best known for its Vespa brand of scooters.
Gitas, however, have been slow to enter some markets where laws dealing with traffic and pedestrians haven’t caught up with the new technology.
House Bill 245, which passed the House March 11, would establish a legal framework for using such devices in Illinois. It would provide that the devices be designed to stay within 10 feet of their owners and that the owners or operators have the same rights and obligations of pedestrians, except that they would have to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on a sidewalk or crosswalk. It also provides that the devices cannot be used to transport a person.
In addition, the bill would give local governments authority to enact their own regulations for how the devices are used within their jurisdictions. It also contains a number of consumer protection provisions that would limit legal remedies for damages or injuries caused by the devices or their operators.
The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 47-to-6.
That bill was just one of dozens the Senate passed and sent to the governor Tuesday as both chambers worked through piles of legislation in advance of the May 31 adjournment date. Among the other notable bills passing the Senate on Tuesday were:
State Fair horse racing: House Bill 3667 which authorizes the Illinois State Fair to hold fewer than five days of horse racing each year.
Current law requires the State Fair to provide five days of horse racing, but the fair has been out of compliance with that law due to a shortage of horses in the state. A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Agriculture said in a phone interview that thoroughbred horse breeding in Illinois has been in a steady decline for about the past 20 years and there are no longer enough Illinois-bred horses to sustain the traditional five-day schedule.
Criminal justice reform: Current Illinois law prohibits people who have been convicted of certain crimes from obtaining professional health care worker licenses, unless they can show certain mitigating factors to justify issuing a license, certificate or registration.