By Benjamin Yount | Illinois Watchdog
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A slew of new laws rarely increases freedom. That’ll be the case in Illinois this year, too.
“We passed 200 new laws,” said Matt Paprocki, senior director of government affairs at the Illinois Policy Institute. “(These) new laws are not saying ‘We’re going to have less restrictions, and less regulations’ it is just the opposite.”
Here’s a quick look at some of those:
FINALLY: Illinois is the last state to get a concealed carry law.
If there is one new law that may actually increase freedom, it’s Illinois’ new concealed carry law.
For the first time, Illinois citizens will be able to legally carry a gun to most locations in the state.
“But if you look at the concealed carry law as an aggregate, there are a ton of restrictions that go inside of that,” Paprocki added.
Illinois State Police are taking their time implementing concealed carry. Gun owners can apply for a permit starting Sunday, but the State Police say it will be April at the earliest before anyone will actually receive a permit.
Cell Phone Ban
In 2014, Illinois drivers are being ordered to put down their phones.
The state will begin to enforce a hand-held cellphone ban. Drivers will have to use a Bluetooth headset or the speakerphone. Texting, talking, and checking email will be a crime. But police say it’s still okay to use a GPS device.
Illinois is also enhancing the penalty for causing an accident while texting. Drivers under 19 can face felony charges in the new year if they are texting behind the wheel and get into an accident that injures someone.
No ifs, ands or butts about it, smokers could get felony charges for tossing a cigarette out the window.
The state has added cigarette butts to the littering law. Toss one butt and it’s a fine that could reach $1,500. After the third offense, tossing a cigarette butt becomes a felony.
“(Government) does a pretty good job of tricking you and deceiving taxpayers into thinking ‘We’re fixing things,’” Paprocki said. “When really, it’s strange new regulations they are imposing.”
Illinois lawmakers expanded the nanny state, once again, into the state’s tanning salons.
In 2014, no one under the age of 18 will be allowed into a tanning bed there. (Prom will be so pale in the new year.)
New License Plates
At least you’ll be able to choose from several new specialty license plates this year, helping to support everything from Diabetes awareness to the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Though Pakrocki questions why the state needs so many.
“In this last year, we voted on 11 pieces of legislation that created speciality license plates,” Pakrocki said. “We see it every time we drive down the highway. How many different Illinois license plates do we see? And what is the practical benefit of this?”
Contact Benjamin Yount at Ben@IllinoisWatchdog.org and find him on Twitter @BenYount.