More than 200 new laws officially took effect in Illinois when the clock struck 12 on New Year's Eve.
Planning on tossing out that old cell phone or computer? Think again. A new law requires you to recycle it, a measure aimed at keeping toxic chemicals out of landfills. Log on to www.illinoisrecycles.org to find a dropoff location near you. Violating the law could cost you a $25 fine for a first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses.
Other new laws include:
- Adults passengers must wear seat belts in the back seat of a vehicle. People 18 and younger must wear a seat belt while riding in a taxi for school-related purposes. Police will be permitted to pull over a car if they see someone violating the law. Passengers caught without a seatbelt will receive a $25 fine.
- Synthetic marijuana, sold in convenience stores and gas stations under names such as "K2" and "Head Trip," will be outlawed. The law makes possession or sale of the products a felony with penalties ranging from 1 to 60 years.
- People convicted of first-degree murder must be added to a new first-degree murder database, similar to the sex offender registry, when they're released from prison or any other facility. The public database would include names, addresses, employment places, schools attended and photos for offenders for up to 10 years after their release from prison.
- Convicted sex offenders who are employed at or attend a college or university must register with campus public safety.
- School boards can suspend or expel a student who makes an explicit threat on a website against another student or school employees.
- People with an order of protection issued against them must surrender their Firearm Owners Identification Card until the order is lifted. Anyone convicted of domestic battery is ineligible to obtain or keep an FOID card.
- Motorcyclists stopped at a red light may proceed through the light if it fails to change to green after a reasonable length of time.
- Animal-control facilities scanning a lost pet for a microchip also must look for other common forms of identification, including tattoos and ID tags.
- Antique vehicle owners have unrestricted use of highways from April 1 through Oct. 31 if they obtain an expanded-use registration.