Illinois residents will see more than 200 new laws take effect on January 1, 2014. According to Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) lawmakers approved measures addressing issues such as litter, cell phone usage, state hiring, and public safety.
“It is important for everyone to be aware of the changes in law which will be occurring on January 1st,” said Rep. Hammond. “While you may not like or agree with all of the new laws, it is important to educate yourself and your family of the changes. For example, drivers can no longer use a handheld mobile phone while driving. There are also laws that deal directly with residents who are under 18 – such as tanning regulations and voting in a primary election.”
Below are highlights of new laws that become effective at the start of 2014. To see a complete list of all 218 new laws taking effect on January 1st, please visit www.ilga.gov or contact her Macomb office.
• House Bill 1247 creates a ban on the usage of hand-held cell phones. Drivers caught holding cell phones to their ears could be subject to a $75 fine. Using a Blue Tooth headset or speakerphone are acceptable as long as they can be voice activated or activated using a single touch.
• House Bill 1 recognizes that some conditions respond better to therapeutic qualities of cannabis than traditional medication. According to the new law, patients suffering from certain specific conditions can use medical marijuana with their doctors’ permission. The Illinois Department of Public Health is in charge of setting up the system.
• House Bill 188 prohibits all commercial tanning facilities from allowing people younger than 18 to tan unless they have a doctor’s prescription. Underage tanning in private homes is still permitted.
• House Bill 226 permits people under the age of 18 to vote in the Primary Election if they will be 18 by the November General Election with the idea that if you are able to vote in the General Election, you should be able to help select the candidates you will be voting for.
• House Bill 3011 and House Bill 3243 both deal with litter. House Bill 3081 states that littering will now be finable at $50. House Bill 3243 qualifies cigarette butts as litter.
• Senate Bill 2356 raises the speed limit on Interstates from 65 miles per hour, to 70 miles per hour. Counties in the Chicago and St. Louis areas have the ability to opt out of the speed limit raise.
• House Bill 1814 changes the penalties for work zones. While the penalties still exist if the work zone is empty, there are higher penalties for speeding by workers and lower penalties for speeding through an empty worksite.
• Senate Bill 923 adds cameras to school busses that are shared with the police to more closely monitor people passing school busses that are stopped.
• House Bill 2675 expands high school sex education courses to include information on condoms and birth control, including abstinence education. Schools will still have the ability to opt out of sex ed all together, and parents can take their kids out of the courses if they find the content objectionable.
• House Bill 2992 requires divorced parents with joint custody must check with their ex to see if he or she would like to take care of the children before hiring someone to take care of them.
• Senate Bill 722 changes the regulations for bringing home an opened wine bottle from a winery. If you can’t finish the entire bottle, the winery can cork the bottle and send it home with you in a tamper-evident bag. This is similar to the law Illinois has for restaurants.
• Senate Bill 1214 permits the Illinois Tollway to post names of people with the highest outstanding tolls on its website.