New year, new state laws

According to state Rep. Robert Pritchard, R-Hinckley, the most notable pieces of new legislation in 2013 are aimed at protecting children from criminal offenders, ensuring public safety and providing more consumer protections. There will also be new fees and fee increases.

“With a spotlight on child safety, Illinois will enact several new pieces of legislation that will help provide additional security measures,” said Pritchard. “Starting Jan. 1, convicted child sex offenders will be prohibited from participating in certain holiday events, such as dressing up as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or handing out candy at Halloween. Illinois also broadens its child abduction statute to allow for the felony prosecution of people who attempt to lure into a vehicle children under the age of 17, and for students of any age while they are traveling to or from school.”

Pritchard said new driving laws in Illinois include the prohibition of using a cell phone in all roadwork zones. In addition, the law prohibits use of a mobile phone while driving within 500 feet of an emergency scene and commercial drivers are prohibited from using hand-held cell phones while driving.

A motor vehicle is now subject to seizure and forfeiture if the driver has a suspended or revoked license for certain actions. The conditions include a revoked or suspended license in another state for operating the vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; leaving the scene of a personal injury accident; refusing to submit to alcohol or drug testing; or reckless homicide.

People involved in a traffic accident are now allowed to move their vehicles to the nearest off-ramp, access road or other safe location following an accident if there is no personal injury.

Finally, SB 3287/PA 97-913, will extend additional benefits to active duty service members and members of the National Guard who have been called to duty by the governor for more than 30 days. Among the additional benefits are the right to terminate a residential property lease; protection from property repossession on installment contracts; and allow for adjustment to a loan obligation in foreclosure proceedings.

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