With new year comes new laws

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Saturday starts a new year and more than 100 new state laws takie effect January 1 ranging from a hotline for teenagers to report violence to potential employers being barred from using credit reports for hiring purposes.

Saturday starts a new year and more than 100 new state laws takie effect January 1 ranging from a hotline for teenagers to report violence to potential employers being barred from using credit reports for hiring purposes.

The Chicago Public Schools has been mandated by the state to create a toll-free violence prevention hotline for students to anonymously call and report incidents of violence they witness or know about. Any information students provide will be kept confidential and the number – (888)-881-0606 – will be active Jan. 1. It goes directly to the Chicago police, said Michael Shields, director of Safety and Security for CPS.

“We wants students to know that they can call the police and give any information they may have about a crime without giving their names,” Shields, a retired Chicago police officer, told the Defender.

CPS will fund the hotline, he added.

A new law focusing on communicating information to victims of crime will also hit the books at the start of 2011.

The Crime Victims and Witnesses Act, which is an existing law, has been amended to now allow the attorney general to establish a crime victim and witness notification system. It will be in place to assist public officials in carrying out their duties to notify and inform crime victims and witnesses under certain provisions of the Sex Offender Community Notification Law (rather than just under the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act), according to Robyn Ziegler, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office.

Fast drivers will also have to slow down in order to avoid jail time.

That’s because drivers now caught speeding 40 miles over the speed limit will no longer be eligible for court supervision if found guilty. Instead they could receive up to a year in jail or a fine up to $2,500.

And according to Dave Druker, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, 63 percent of drivers in the Chicago area received court supervision for this violation this year.

Other new laws include:

Illinois employers will be prohibited from basing hiring, promotion, and other employment decisions on an employee or job applicant’s credit history.

And pet stores will be required to provide health details about animals to potential buyers.

Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender

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