New 2011 laws affect politics, speeders, pet shops

December 28, 2010 4:35:36 AM PST
At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day, more than 100 new laws will go into effect in Illinois, from changes in the way political campaigns are financed to new rules for pet shops and governor portraits.

Putting the pedal to the metal will no longer result in just a speeding ticket, thanks to a new Illinois law which goes into effect January 1 that targets people driving 100 miles per hour or faster.

    The new law has two important parts:
  • It makes speeding in excess of 30 miles per hour a Class B Misdemeanor with a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $1,500 fine.
  • It also denies court supervision for aggravated speeding.

Driving over 40 miles per hour or more over the limit remains a Class A Misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,500.

"When you are going 40 miles above the speed limit, you fall into the category of being a potential killer," said Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

Other laws affect a specific group of people -- namely politicians.

Beginning next month, a flurry of post-Rod Blagojevich laws goes into effect. They range from banning the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for portraits of impeached governors to changes in how the state's Lieutenant Governors are elected.

There is also a corruption forfeiture law, which requires public officials convicted of corruption to hand over the money they received from their corrupt activities to the arresting agency.

Come January 1, Illinois' campaign finance laws will change significantly by changing how politicians can raise and spend money.

    The new law:
  • Caps the amount of money all individuals, businesses, unions, associations and political action committees can contribute to candidates, political action committees and political parties.
  • Candidates will be required to file campaign expenditure and contribution reports every three months instead of every six months.
  • State election regulators will have more enforcement powers and authority to conduct audits of committee financial accounts.

Another new law forces pet stores to share health details about the animals they plan to sell.

While some pet shop owners agree consumers need protection, they say new rules could do more harm than good.

"I myself am thinking about not selling any kittens, because its going to make the kittens so much higher in price, the consumer can't buy it," said Modesto Senra of Jules Pet Shop.

Many pet shop owners are already saying they want the new law amended.


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