PRINCETON — Whether or not they know it, Bureau County residents, along with the rest of the residents throughout Illinois, are starting the 2014 year with more than 200 new laws on the books.
Becoming informed on those laws can be a rather large undertaking.
On Tuesday, Bureau County State’s Attorney Patrick Herrmann said the media does a great job of informing citizens of the new laws which would have a broad impact and affect a lot of people, like the new speed limit laws. There are also websites which provide information on the new laws.
Concerning the more specialized laws, which deal with specific areas, agencies or groups, there are professional associations through which that information is gained by those people, Herrmann said. For instance, he’s a member of the Illinois State’s Attorney Association, which would keep members apprised of legal proceedings and new laws as they are passed.
Other professional associations would include groups like the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association and the Illinois Association of School Boards, Herrmann said. Associations may even sponsor bills or propose acts and would follow those bills as they are considered, he said.
Several of the new laws on the books for 2014 deal with children and teens, identity protection, and stiffer penalties for people convicted of certain crimes.
In the area of civil law, parental rights are now taken away from fathers when the child is conceived by sexual assault. Felons who have threatened or harmed minors are prohibited from becoming the guardians of disabled people. The statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases is now eliminated concerning the awarding of damages.
In the area of criminal law, there is a new legislation which extends aggravated assault to an attack on an on-duty nurse, making it a Class 3 felony. Another new law creates the offense “failure to report sexual abuse of a child” and expands the definition of sexual penetration. Another new law increases the penalties for domestic battery if the defendant has prior convictions.
Another new law defines “minors” as persons 17 years of age and under, instead of 16 years and under, for the purposes of delinquency and criminal records. Parents or guardians cannot be sued for eavesdropping on electronic communications of minors in their care.
Parents in a joint-custody relationship must first offer the other parent the option of temporarily caring for a child before seeking third-party child care.
The Illinois Secretary of State is now prohibited from issuing a driver’s license to people under 18 if they have an unresolved traffic citation. Also, there is a new law giving 17 year olds the right to vote in the March primary as long as they’ll be 18 by the November election.
For consumers, there is a new law which prohibits the sale of devices that steal credit card information. There is also a law which allows the buyers of a pet with an undisclosed illness to receive a refund, a replacement or reimbursement for reasonable veterinary costs. The new law also requires pet shops to report disease outbreaks.
In the area of ethics, lobbyists are now required to disclose their ultimate employers. The state budget is required to be published in its entirety on the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget website within 60 days of enactment.
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