In all of the holiday hysteria and back-to-work blues, it’s easy to forget that a new year means new laws for Illinois. 200 new laws to be exact. And, at the risk of burning your brain with a tedious tally of 200, here’s a handful of “shareworthy” state statutes taking effect for 2012:
Seat belts: Adult passengers in the back seats of vehicles must now wear seat belts. Where before there were complicated age guidelines, now the safety belt rule applies to everyone. The fine for ignoring the new law is $25. (House Bill 219)
Electronics disposal: Illinois residents can no longer dump computers, monitors, TVs and other electronic devices into the same trash can as their used coffee grinds. From now on, consumers must wait for a county-planned pick up day or take their old PCs and iPods to stores that accept electronics for recycling. (Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act)
Fake marijuana: Convenience stores, gas stations and smoke shops can no longer sell “cannabinoids,” fake marijuana that sells under brand names such as “K2” and “Head Trip.” (House Bill 2595)
Andrea’s Law: Illinois now requires persons convicted of first-degree murder to register with a new public database for 10 years after they’re freed from prison. Convicts will be placed on the existing Sex Offender Registry or Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registry. (House Bill 263)
ID for drain cleaner: Residents will now have to show a photo identification to buy a bottle of Liquid-Plumr or similar caustic substances (except batteries). Purchasers will also have to sign a log that asks for their name, address, date of birth, the date and time, the product’s brand name and its net weight. The new law comes in the wake of two attacks in which Chicago women had drain cleaner poured on them. (Caustic/Corrosive Substance Act)
Motorcycle “dead” reds: It used to be that bikers had to wait for extremely long red lights to turn green; now they can now run that light after waiting 120 seconds and making sure the way is clear. The rule was enacted because many motorcycles’ lighter weights won’t trigger stoplight censors designed for heavier cars. (House Bill 2860)
Veterans’ family care: The natural mother, father or spouse of an Illinois Veteran—those deemed Gold Star Family members—can now be admitted for care into Illinois veterans homes. But only if there’s space. (House Bill 2875)
Child care: Beginning in 2012, all child care employees who care for newborns or infants must undergo training on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and safe sleep recommendations every three years. The training is from the American Academy of Pediatrics. (House Bill 2099)
School rules: From now on, school boards can suspend or expel a student for making online threats against school employees or fellow students. (House Bill 3281)
Debt collection: Owe money to a municipality, such as a parking ticket? Now your employer can deduct those wages from your paycheck to pay it back. On the flip side, employers can recoup excess money paid to municipalities in error. (House Bill 1513)
Roadkill: One of the strangest new laws allows anyone with a furbearer license to collect the pelts or meat of dead animals from the side of the road. In the past, collectors would have been fined. (House Bill 3178)
Though it’s not necessarily new for 2012, Chicago Public Library also has some exciting law happenings on the horizon. We’re rolling out our ongoing Law at the Library series, presented in tandem with The Chicago Bar Association, and you’re invited! Each specifically themed program features a presentation by an experienced attorney, followed by a comprehensive Q&A session with the audience.
Check out our complete calendar of Law at the Library events to find the topic most relevant to you at the branch nearest you.