On January 1, 2014, more than 200 news laws go into effect.
They range from a ban on incandescent light bulbs, to more serious laws, like the the legalization of medical marijuana.
LEGALIZATION OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA
Starting January 1, people will be able to use of marijuana for medical purposes in Illinois.
Under the new law, a person could be prescribed no more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana over two weeks.
The prescribing doctor must also have a prior medical relationship with the patient.
A doctor must find that the patient has one of a few dozen serious or chronic conditions for the marijuana to be prescribed.
People in Illinois will be allowed to apply for the right to carry guns in their pockets or purses.
Only people with State Firearms Owner ID cards will be allowed to apply for concealed-carry permits.
A lingering problem with the law is the confusion over what establishments and facilities may still outlaw handguns.
Lawmakers will try to clarify gun restrictions on beaches and playgrounds, and in forest preserves and restaurants.
Concealed-carry application forms will start appearing online this Sunday.
CELL PHONE USE ON THE ROAD
On the road, Illinois drivers will have to use hands-free technology to talk on cell phones. Otherwise, they’ll have to pull off the road to make a call.
They can still make calls on hand-held phones legally in case of an emergency.
Penalties will also increase for drivers who injure or kill others in crashes caused by the use of a cell phone or other electronic device.
SPEED LIMIT INCREASE
Most Illinois highways will increase speed limits to 70 miles an hour.
That includes short stretches of Interstate 55 and Interstate 80 southwest of Joliet, Interstate 57 south of Park Forest and Interstate 88 west of Aurora. A stretch of Interstate 94 between Waukegan and the Wisconsin border will also increase.
SCHOOL CHILDREN’S ALLERGIES AND EPIPENS
A new federal law is designed to better protect school children who have severe food allergies.
The new law will financially reward states that allow schools to stock up on injectable epinephrine, or “EpiPens.” The devices would be on hand in case a child suffered a potentially deadly allergic reactions.
17-YEAR-OLDS CAN REGISTER TO VOTE
Starting in 2014, most 17-year-olds in Illinois will be able to vote in Illinois.
People who turn 18 by the November 4 General Election can vote in the March 18 primary.
To publicize the law, the Cook County Clerk’s Office is setting up voter registration drives in February at high schools in the city and suburbs.
- School districts can install cameras on school buses, and if you’re caught passing a school bus while it’s stopped, you’ll be fined.
- The maximum penalty for organizing a violent flash mob using social media doubles to six years in prison.
- The use of drones to interfere with hunters and fishermen has been prohibited. It was passed after the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said it would use drones that it calls “air angels” to monitor hunters.
- It will be illegal to manufacture or import 60- and 40-watt incandescent bulbs because of federally mandated efficiency standards signed into law in 2007 by then-President George W. Bush. They can still be sold while supplies last.