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More than a few big changes begin in 2014

by: Adam Hostetter/Sports and Entertainment Editor

The new year is here and with it come new state laws, many of which effect college students in one way or another.

All Lake Land students and staff need to be aware of the new laws for drivers. The use of mobile phones while driving will be banned, effective Jan. 1, 2014. Only hands-free devices such as headsets and OnStar will be allowed. Harsher penalties will be in effect if the use of an electronic device is the cause of an accident.

Other laws pertaining to vehicles and driving include the increase in interstate speed limits from 65 miles per hour to 70 mph and the two-tier parking system for drivers with disabilities. First tier is the usual handicapped parking spaces, but the second tier is the exemption of parking meter fees for the disabled that have a doctor’s statement saying the patient is unable to insert coins into the meter, reach above 42 inches, walk more than 20 feet or approach a meter due to a wheelchair or other mobility device.

New laws concerning gun control will also be coming into effect. Those planning to sell guns as a private owner must now perform background checks on the buyer, which was not required before via a loophole. In addition, a misplaced, lost or stolen gun must now be reported to local law agencies. Perhaps receiving the most attention is the lifting of the unconstitutional concealed-carry ban in Illinois, though firearms are still banned from public buildings such as, but not limited to, schools and government buildings and transportation such as commuter buses and shuttles.

Medical marijuana will be legalized next year as a highly regulated and closely monitored industry. Patients who are not minors and who have a spotless background check must have at least one of the 32 medical conditions listed in the law, which includes cancer, muscular dystrophy and HIV/AIDS.

A very important law that will not come into effect until June is legalization of gay marrige in Illinois.

For more information on the state government and legislation, visit the official website of Illinois at www.illinois.gov.


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