The Crusader Newspaper Group

New Year brings new laws to Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner

Each year, the state enacts new laws that have been passed the previous year. With the new year, Illinoians are faced with an onslaught of new laws that became effective January 1. A total of 237 new laws ranging from crime to protocols for concussions in youth sports are now on the books. The Crusader has highlighted a few of the important, confusing and some just downright quirky laws.

Traffic Ticket Increase

Because law enforcement agencies around the state will now equip more officers with body cameras, a $5 increase in moving violation fines for drivers has been added. The monies will be used to pay for the body cameras, which cost about $300 a piece plus a $55 a month storage fee for the data that is recorded. Mayor Emanuel has vowed to add more cameras to the Chicago Police Department in the wake of all of the violent encounters between police and citizens in the last year. The fee increase does not apply to parking, pedestrian or paperwork violations.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Schools

In response to an incident that occurred at a southwest suburban school last year, all schools are now required to have carbon monoxide detectors. Already required in residential buildings, school districts across the state are scrambling to install the devices in their facilities to comply with the new code. On October 30 of last year, nearly 100 kids at a grammar school on the North Side were rushed to the hospital after becoming sick from carbon monoxide fumes. On December 3, another 70 students from Horace Mann on the South Side suffered the same fate. In response to these and other incidents around the Chicago area, Governor Bruce Rauner signed the bill into law. A spokesperson for Chicago Public Schools said all school buildings are in compliance with the law and credited the alarms at Mann for warning administrators to a problem caused by a heating furnace. Over 5,000 detectors have been deployed district-wide, according to CPS.

Concussions and High School Athletes

The state has instituted several new laws in an attempt to cut down and better understand concussion injuries among high school athletes. Concussions have become the greatest medical concern in all of youth sports with soccer, football, wrestling, hockey and cheerleading having the most incidents among athletes. Now, coaches, referees and administrators are required to be educated on how to notice possible concussion symptoms. In addition, referees in some sports have the authority to remove a player from the game if they suspect a concussion. The Illinois High School Association, which governs high school sports in the state, has been requiring referees to report possible concussions for nearly three years during games. But critics have said that many athletes sustain the injury, which is caused by a severe jarring of the brain inside the skull, during practices, thus the reason for the State’s actions in educating coaches.

Fake 9-1-1- calls are Costly

People who think it is a joke to prank a 911 call will now find it no laughing matter in Illinois. If found guilty of this crime you can be fined up to $10,000. The law was implemented in response to incidents nationwide after people have pranked law enforcement agencies in an activity known as “Swatting.” The dangerous activity has prompted S.W.A.T teams and bomb squads to be sent out on many false calls. The crime takes away resources from real emergencies said a spokesperson for the Illinois State Police and puts the public in danger as officers respond to these calls at a priority speed.

Animal Cruelty Law Expanded

Our four-legged friends are getting more protection in 2016. Leaving a pet in extreme conditions like heat or cold for an extended period of time that puts the animal in danger could now net you a fine. The new law is more specific and allows authorities to arrest owners who leave pets in hot, unattended cars or out in the cold. It is now a Class A misdemeanor. Animal control officers in Cook County say they have seen an increase in people leaving their pets in extreme conditions in recent years.

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