And once all of these preliminary matters have been heard, then the actual trial will begin, and whichever side loses can appeal the decision in the case up to the Circuit Court, and even the Supreme Court.
The main problem with the Illinois law is not that it limits free speech, but that it is ex-post facto sentencing.
No, it's not. From the text of the law (Public Act 096-0262):
[730 ILCS 5/3-3-7(a)
...] The conditions of every parole and mandatory supervised release are that the subject:
(7.12) if convicted of a sex offense [...definition location...] committed on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 96th General Assembly, refrain from accessing or using a social networking website [...definition location...];
[730 ILCS 5/5-6-3(a)] The conditions of probation and of conditional discharge shall be that the person:
(8.9) if convicted of a sex offense [...definition location...] committed on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 96th General Assembly, refrain from accessing or using a social networking website [...definition location...];
[730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.1] (s) An offender placed on supervision for a sex offense [...definition location...] committed on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 96th General Assembly shall refrain from accessing or using a social networking website [...definition location...].
There is nothing ex post facto about this law. It only applies to people who are convicted of crimes committed after the law takes effect.
when a 1500 page bill lands on a congresscritter's desk 2-3 days before the vote, what do you expect?
I expect them to vote "No", on the grounds that they don't know whether it's a good bill or not. Sure, whoever gave them the document said it was a good bill, but a Congressman should know better than to trust another Congressman.
"Driving speeds are in KM/H and distances in KM and meters, but western Canada was surveyed in miles, so we have mile roads, townships, acres, etc."
Fascinating... Canada has its own unique unit, the township, which apparently isn't in use anywhere else. In the US, a township is a political or organizational area which may be of any size. Actually, it looks like it is that way in much of Canada as well; it's only in a few provinces where "township" refers to a 6 mi × 6 mi square.
I've never been able to make a collect call to a cell phone. I'm told that that is because cell phone providers block incoming collect calls.
"why is this coming up now?"
Because a recent novel trilogy—Crucible by David R. George, III—was based significantly on that episode (among others). The books came out in late 2006, and Harlan announced at that time that he was planning to sue Pocket Books/Paramount to either scrap the books or get gobs of money.
As for why it took two and a half years from "I'll sue!" to actually suing, I'd imagine that his lawyer(s) tried negotiating with Paramount/Pocket first.
"It changes how they define planets. They have created a new piece technical legal jargon, 'planet.' All this means is that when you are talking to the government, and in the far-fetched situation where the word 'planet' comes up, you and the government are speaking a different language."
Actually, it means that astronomers and the Illinois government are speaking a different language. People are free to use the word "planet" as it's defined in the English language, and don't have to use it in the way that a small group of scientists use it, nor in the way that a small group of politicians use it.
If the Illinois government used the word "planet" around me, they'd be using it the same way that I do.
It's a poor workman who blames his tools.