Our View: New year, new laws
Whether you spent New Year’s Eve with a quiet evening at home or went out and partied to ring in 2014, when you woke up today morning, a number of new laws were in effect in Illinois.
Perhaps the biggest is that speaking on your cellphone while driving now is illegal unless you are using a hands-free device. Fines for being cited for using a hand-held cellphone while driving a vehicle range from $75 to $150.
You probably are aware of some of the other new laws that received a lot of exposure when they were passed, including the legalization of medical marijuana. Patients suffering from certain diseases can now use marijuana as treatment with a doctor’s permission.
Other new laws that go into effect today:
• Cigarette butts are now considered litter and disposing of them by flicking them aside could get you a $50 fine.
• Taking parenting away from parents, it now is illegal for anyone under 18 to use indoor tanning equipment.
• The new pet lemon law will mandate a refund, replacement or reimbursement for veterinary costs from the seller if you buy a pet with an undisclosed illness.
• You still can’t speed through construction zones, but if you do and workers aren’t present, your fine will not be as high.
• Speaking of speed, some interstate speed limits will be increasing to 70 mph.
• 17-year-olds will be allowed to vote in a primary election if they will turn 18 before the general election.
• School buses are now allowed to have video cameras on board to record motorists who pass buses illegally. Those videos can be shared with police.
• It is now illegal to wantonly waste or destroy usable meat from game animals.
• Schools are not allowed to ask for or demand a student’s social networking password without cause.
• Public school sex-education courses offered to sixth- through 12th-graders must cover abstinence and contraception.
A complete list can be found online at http://shawurl.com/xfm.