New Illinois laws are heading our way effective January 1, 2016. On the list are laws ranging from the treatment of animals, law enforcement and DUI’s to the naming of the official state pie. Here is a run down of some of the new laws taking effect:
Under the new laws regarding humane care with regard to animals, pets must not be placed in an extended life-threatening situation such as ‘out in the cold’ on a freezing winter night or ‘locked in an oven-hot car’ while an owner runs summer errands. If an individual is convicted of cruelty to animals in front of children, the fine will be a hefty $250 with 100 hours of mind-numbing community service – a good start for the cause of animals and children alike. Although our domesticated furry friends scored big this year, the ubiquitous Illinois bobcat did not fare so well. Now off the state’s threatened species list, open season has been declared on the cat between November 1 and February 15.
Recent news coverage surrounding incidences of alleged police abuse ushers in 2016 reforms and regulations regarding law enforcement. Police will not be permitted to use choke holds, except when deadly force is justified and expanded training regarding use of force will be provided. If an officer is involved in a death, an independent review is required and investigation reports will be part of the public record if an officer is not charged with a crime. If an officer is fired or resigns due to misconduct, they will be added to a database presumably to inform future hiring decisions.
Body cameras, the proposed remedy to contradictory accounts of altercations between police and citizens, are optional accessories for Illinois police. However, if an officer elects to don one, they must keep the camera rolling when conducting law enforcement activities. Exceptions to the filming requirement include capturing meetings with informants (sigh of relief), and the filming of victims or witnesses at their request. All this newfangled, state-of-the-art camera equipment and training will be funded by…drum roll please…raised fees on criminal and traffic offenses. The price of crime just went up.
Alcohol Related Law
New laws regarding alcohol are set to take effect next year also. The sale of palcohol, aka powdered alcohol is banned – go figure. Tighter restrictions on drivers with DUI convictions will require those with four convictions to be tied to ignition interlock devices for life unless they can show they have turned things around. Any convictions beyond four results in losing driving privileges for life – period.
From repeat offenders to novice drinkers – here is one to share with the kiddos: Alcohol consumption by underage drinkers has resulted in tragic consequences. Sometimes teens are afraid to call for help when a friend has had too much for fear of getting into trouble. To encourage drinking teens to call for help for a friend in medical need, a new law will grant immunity from criminal charges to underage drinkers in the event they have to call 9-1-1. Kudos to that.
The Life of Pie
Last, but certainly not least in my book, pumpkin pie reigns supreme as the newly crowned ‘official state pie’ of Illinois. A fitting choice as Illinois is the nation’s leading producer of pumpkins and pumpkin pie is certainly a favorite treat of many, particularly around the holidays with plenty of whip. That’s the abbreviated version on the hundreds of laws taking effect in 2016. Visit the Patch for more laws coming to your area. Here’s wishing you a safe, prosperous and happy New Year!
Source: The Patch.com, “25 New Illinois Laws in 2016 That May Change Your Life”, Dennis Robaugh, December 26, 2015