New Year. New Laws.

About 200 new and amended laws will go into effect on 1/1/11

Big changes are coming to the law books in Illinois.

About 200 new and amended laws will go into effect when the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2011.

Here are a few of the changes:

  • Court supervision will no longer be an option as a punishment for drivers caught going 40 mph or more over the posted limit.
  • Drivers ticketed for speeding between 30-39 mph above the limit will now face a $1,500 fine and possibly six months jail time.
  • If a child isn't strapped into a car seat, drivers be ticketed and fined $75, up from $5.
  • Retailers will no longer be able to sell K2/Spice. K2/Spice is an herbal substance that mimics marijuana. It's marketed as incense or potpourri and is sprayed with a synthetic chemical that makes it similar to marijuana.
  • Teens under 18 caught "sexting" -- seing lewd photos via their phone -- can now be taken into custody and be required to stand before a judge. Punishment could be court supervision, counseling and/or community service.
  • New law calls for a mandatory prison sentence of one to three years for anyone in possession of a firearm (loaded or with ammo nearby) without a valid FOID card. No warnings and no exemptions for expired cards will be given.
  • Illinoians can no longer own monkeys, chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas and lemurs. If caught with one of these, you'll face a $1,500 fine and 30 days in jail. Primates owned before the beginning of the year are allowed as long as they're registered with local animal control officials. Zoos, circuses, science labs and those used for therapy are exempt.
  • The primary election in even numbered years will now be on the third Tuesday in March. It was moved to February in 2008 when then Senator Barack Obama ran for President.
  • Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor will now have to run as a team in the primary.
  • There's a new limit on how much people and companies can contribute to a polititcal candidate. Individuals can give up to $5,000, corporations, trade associations and labor groups can contribute up to $10,000.
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