Friday, Mar 7, 2014
New Year Brings New Laws to Illinois
ILLINOIS -- In a little more than two weeks. dozens and dozens of new laws go on the books in Illinois. The rules cover everything from consumer protection to rules of the road.
Sick puppies, flash mobs, and DUIs for boating accidents were among the issues prompting new laws this year.
Now, many of those laws will go into effect on January 1st. That means local businesses and local officials are preparing for the changes.
"I think it's made a big difference in our business," said Alana Day. Day owns the SunTan Shack in Benton.
The shop used to proudly feature both a hair salon and four tanning beds.
"You had a full day from morning until night," said Day. "Every 15, 20 minutes."
Over the years, the rules on tanning have tightened. In 2014, the law will be even stricter. No one under the age of 18 will be allowed.
Day has now downsized to just two beds. She has also considered getting out of the tanning side of business altogether. She wants to focus more on the hair and nails.
"I've had my day in the sun I guess with it," said Day.
Teens and tanning salons won't be the only ones adjusting to new regulations. Smokers and law enforcement are getting ready to add cigarette butts to the list of littering.
"I'm sure we'll use it and enforce it," said Marion Police Chief John Eibeck. "But we're not going to be out there being the cigarette butt nazis."
The first time you're caught tossing out a cigarette will now be a misdemeanor carrying a fine of up to 15-hundred dollars. If you do it three times, it's a felony. That charge could mean a $25-thousand fine and at least a year in prison.
However, Eibeck believes they'll ease into the tickets.
"I'm thinking more of a verbal warning, especially early on," said Eibeck.
The law will more likely help in situations where his department is looking to pull over a suspect. It could be used to serve a warrant or search the car.
"If you need probable cause to make a vehicle stop, then that's basically a tool that the legislature has now given police officers to use," said Eibeck.
Chief Eibeck says a much bigger focus for the new year will be the no cell phones while driving law. Starting January 1st, you'll need to have a hands free device or pull over if you need to make call.
Tougher penalties for distracted drivers who cause accidents will also go into effect. If you seriously injure someone, you could face a fine or prison time. If the accident kills a person, you could pay up to $25,000 and spend up to three years behind bars.
Other laws going into effect in January include a law for owners of mobile home parks. They will be required to tell potential buyers if a unit was ever used to make meth.
Police officers will need a search warrant to use a drone to collect evidence.
17-year-olds can now vote in primary elections if they'll turn 18 before the general election.
Hamilton County is allowed to use money collected for ambulance services to pay for an enhanced 9-1-1. The county will now put that issue up for referendum.
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