On Jan. 1, a host of new laws and rules took effect in Illinois. Just in case you missed any of them, here are some of the more notable ones:
- All passengers in the back seat must buckle up
All passengers in Illinois vehicles must now wear a seat belt, including those over 18 that were once exempt from doing so.
The bill was co-sponsored by State Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and Representative Mark Beaubien (R-Barrington Hills). Authorities recommend those younger age 12 and younger ride in the back seat, and it is also state law for all children under age 8 to be properly buckled into appropriate safety seats.
Police don't necessarily want people to assume there is a grace period or that warnings will be issued for this rule, either.
"I don’t know if there is going to be any grace period," Michael Shep, Supervisor of Community Relations for the Northbrook Police Department said. "Many people may not agree with the new law, but having seen the aftermath of back seat passengers who are unbelted and in major crashes, it's a good law."
- New electronics recycling rules:
Televisions, computers, cellphones, VCRs and other electronic devices are now banned from Illinois landfills and will not be accepted as garbage. Owners of these items will have to take them to local recycling facilities instead, or face potential fines.
Other banned items include:
- Video game consoles
- Electronic keyboards
- Fax machines
- DVD players
Every business that sells electronics in Illinois is also required to have signage that informs customers of the ban, and their recycling options.
- FOID cards and domestic situations
People with an order of protection against them must surrender their FOID Card (Firearms Owner Identification Card), until the term of the order expires, under new law.
And although most people are truthful, this portion of the law has been criticized by some legal analysts who feel that too many orders of protection are simply rubber stamped by court workers and judges at the accuser's word, and that some court systems favor accusers who, at times, fabricate stories to the courts in such orders, which could potentially wrongfully violate a person's Second Amendment rights.
Additionally, anyone convicted of domestic battery will also lose their ability to keep a FOID card.
- Ban on synthetic marijuana
Prior attempts by Illinois lawmakers to ban fake marijuana known as "K-2" or "Spice," which is often marketed as potpourri, have failed in part due to manufacturers of such products changing the ingredients in them before new laws could be written and passed.
K-2 has been responsible for dozens of overdoses and linked to deaths statewide. On Jan. 1, new laws were enacted in an effort to have more of a blanket effect on outlawing these extremely dangerous items, which were often sold openly at convenience stores and gas stations.
- New terms in law books
State Senator Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) was among those extremely uspet about existing wording in Illinois law books referring to mentally, physically and developmentally disabled individuals, calling some of the terms offensive.
New laws will now removeterms such as "crippled" and "mentally retarted" and replace them with more sensitive ones such as "intellectually disabled," or "physically disabled," among others.
- Laser pointers
In what would seem like one of the more obvious and sensible new laws, those shining laser pointers at airplanes will now be prosecuted with state-level charges if caught.
According to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), O'Hare Airport received the second most complaints about such events in the entire country.
- Tolls increased
As of yesterday, drivers on Illinois' Tollway system will pay nearly double the rates they did last year. Tolls were increased 87.5 percent for I-PASS users, while those paying cash will still be required to pay twice the rate of those using I-PASS.
Tolls that were once 40 cents have jumped to 75 cents, while 80-cent tolls will now cost $1.50 for those using cash.
The Tollway's rate increase will supposedly pay for the cost of $12.1 billion in expansions and improvements to the roadway system over the next 15 years, officials said.