Happy New Year!
I thought we would kick off this newsletter with a recap of new laws for Illinoisans starting January 2014. There are over 100 new laws and we've highlighted several by category. (You'll find a full listing on the Law Office of David Clough Facebook page.)
New Parent/Child related laws
> Parents are now allowed to read their children's text messages without their children's permission. Previously parents were subject to possible eavesdropping lawsuits if they read the messages without permission.
> Your underage children's school cannot check their email or Facebook pages without their parents' permission.
> If you and your ex-spouse have joint legal custody of your kids, you must ask your former spouse if he or she wants to take care of the kids before you hire someone for days or even just one night.
New Child related laws
> Anyone under 18 will not be allowed to use commercial tanning facilities, unless they have a doctor's prescription to tan. However, tanning in private residences is still allowed.
> 17-year-olds may vote in primary elections provided they will be 18 by the time the general election rolls around.
> Teens taking sex education classes will now learn about condoms and birth control in addition to abstinence.
New Driving related laws
> You cannot use cell phones while driving unless they are set up as completely hands-free. Drivers caught holding cell phones up to their ear could be fined $75. To use a cell phone while driving, use a Bluetooth headset or use your speakerphone as long as it can be activated by voice command or a single button touch.
> Most speed limits on Illinois highways has been raised from 65 to 70. Exemptions have been applied for in the Chicagoland area. (We will keep you posted on the status of these requested exemptions.)
> There are higher penalties for speeding in work zones when workers are present, but lower penalties for speeding in work zones when no workers are there.
> School buses will now carry outside cameras, and the data/footage will be transmitted to the police.
New General laws
> Medical marijuana is now a reality in Illinois. To use it, you must have a doctor's prescription and it will be regulated by the state. The full details have yet to be fleshed out, but the Illinois Department of Public health will be in charge of setting up the future rules.
> In an effort to stamp out puppy mills, the state legislature passed a law stating that if you buy a sick puppy, the store you bought it from has to either take the puppy back or pay for your dog's medical bills.
> Littering will now cost you $50, and cigarette butts now count as litter.
If you have any questions about these laws or need further information on them, please feel free to contact me. And please check our Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook page between newsletters for timely information!