As of Wednesday morning, it is officially 2014! While many of you have made your New Year’s resolutions and are doing your best to stick to them, many laws have been put into motion as of January 1. These laws range from driving to tanning, voting, wages, and everything in between for Illinois and Missouri.
So what do these new laws mean for you? Find out more below to see how you will be affected by these new laws in Illinois and Missouri!
New Laws in Illinois
Concealed Carry – Illinois is the final state in the nation to pass a concealed carry law. Starting this week, it will go into effect, and residents can apply online for a permit on the Illinois State Police’s website. State Police are required by law to approve a license if no problems arise. The first licenses are expected to be issued to applicants by mid-January.
Put Your Phone Down – Do you like to talk on the phone while you drive? Beware if you don’t have Bluetooth in your car. Starting on January 1, drivers in Illinois will phone on the road. If a driver is caught with a phone up to their ear while driving, he or she could be fined at least $75, though in the case of emergencies exceptions might be made. According to State Representative John D’Amico, if you are stopped three times in a year, you can lose your license, so be sure to give yourself a hands-free option when driving.
Speed Limits Increase – Traveling across the great state of Illinois? You can get there slightly faster now as of the first of the year. The speed limit on rural Illinois highways has been increased from 65 to 70 mph, with city areas in Chicago and St. Louis as the exception for slow zones.
No Tanning for Minors – If your youngster wants to look sun-kissed before the big school dance, they will have to do it the old-fashioned way with sunscreen and the sunshine. As of January 1, no Illinois residents younger than 18 will be allowed to use indoor tanning facilities. Additionally, if any business violates the new law, they could be fined $250 for the infraction.
Underage Voting – It’s not all doom and gloom for minors in Illinois. Beginning January 1, any Illinois voter who will be eligible to vote in a November general election will also be eligible to vote in preceding primaries, even if they are only 17 years old at the time. Interested 17-year-old voters must register a month before the primary if they wish to vote.
No Butts About It – Are you a smoker, or do you know someone who smokes? Then pay attention to this new law! As of the beginning of the year, anyone caught tossing a cigarette butt onto the ground risks being fined $1,500 for littering. Please dispose of your cigarette butts in designated ashtrays or your own personal ashtray instead of discarding them on the ground to avoid the fine and to better the environment.
Medicinal Marijuana – As of January 1st, Illinois has become the 20th state to legalize medicinal marijuana, though agencies overseeing the program still have 120 days to lay out the application process for those eligible to obtain the substance. Those who are ill enough to qualify will have to wait several months to obtain the substance. Details will emerge as the year progresses.
New Laws in Missouri
Minimum Wage Increases – Missouri is one of the states increasing their minimum wage this year. Minimum wage rose from $7.35 an hour to $7.50 an hour in order to meet living costs. This effectively makes Missouri one of 20 states with a wage above the federal minimum of $7.25.
Replenish the Second Injury Fund – Missouri’s Second Injury Fund, which beneftis disabled workers who suffer additional work-related injuries will be replenished as of the first of the year. The fund is financed by surcharges on employers’ workers compensation insurance premium. The new law effectively doubles this fee because the fund previously had a balance of less than $3 million but owned several million in payments.
Congenital Heart Disease Tests – Another new mandatory screening for newborns has been issued in Missouri. Doctors are now required to conduct a particular type of test to determine if newborns have congenital heart disease. This raises the number of conditions covered by mandatory newborn screenings to 79 in Missouri.
If you have any questions about these new laws or if you’d like to talk about your insurance policies with us, we can help! Please call us at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com to see how we can better serve you. Don’t let these new laws catch you off-guard. Let Madison Mutual protect you!