So where are we at heading into 2014 in the ever-changing world of Illinois laws? Here is a brief summary of some new laws that have taken effect late this year or will take effect in 2014 so take note…

Concealed Carry…. The General Assembly overrode Quinn’s veto this past summer, which made Illinois the last state in the nation to adopt a concealed carry law. Now, citizens are waiting to apply for permits, which they may do so, at latest, shortly after the start of the New Year. The biggest thing to watch for now is businesses that will not allow weapons to be brought into their establishments including public places such as hospitals, churches, libraries etc.


Hand-held cell phones

Earlier this month, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a statewide ban that prohibits drivers from using all hand-held cell phones on the road. This goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, and violators will be fined $75 for a first offense and for every subsequent offense, the fee will increase by $25 and have a maximum fine of $150.

Though drivers cannot use hand-held cell phones, they are still able to use their cell phones with hands-free technology such as Bluetooth. Obviously texting while driving has been illegal for some time now but expect crackdowns by law enforcement on this in the coming year.


Speed limit increase

Gov. Pat Quinn recently signed legislation allowing the speed limit to increase to 70 mph on rural interstates throughout the state. Illinois’ current limits are 55 mph in metropolitan areas and 65 mph on rural highways. Despite opposition from lawmakers and residents concerned with safety, some of Illinois’ most populous counties — Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will — will still have the discretion to keep the speed limit under 70 mph.


Medical marijuana

Earlier this month, Illinois passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, which legalizes medical marijuana through a four-year pilot program effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Out-of-state medical marijuana licenses will not be valid in Illinois, and they will only be distributed to potential patients who have a pre-existing relationship with a doctor and who are diagnosed with at least one of nearly 40 serious illnesses.

Touted as some of the strictest medical marijuana laws in the country, the goal is for Illinois’ system to manifest into the functional and well-regulated system it was designed to be.


Domestic Battery

Starting in the New Year, a subsequent Domestic Battery offense will be a felony. Penalties for Domestic Battery offenses are also increasing and already in place is mandatory education in high schools on the dangers of dating violence and abuse.

If you have questions about this or any other legal matter, please contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847) 253-8800.

This article constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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