Hundreds of New Laws Take Effect Saturday

Article excerpt

It will be a little more expensive to fish next year in Illinois, and you will have to turn on your vehicle's headlights when you turn on the windshield wipers.

Those are just a couple of the changes in life caused by two of the nearly 280 new state laws going into effect on Saturday.

Most of the new rules are products of the Legislature's spring session that were signed into law by Gov. Jim Edgar.

Under one of the new laws, when motorists use their windshield wipers any time during rain, snow, fog or other poor weather conditions, they must turn on their vehicle headlights. Motorists not complying could face a $75 fine. Some law enforcement officials supported the legislation as a safety precaution.

Another automobile law going into effect Saturday will make Illinois' mandatory auto insurance law permanent.

The insurance statute was implemented on a four-year trial basis in 1990. It was set to expire at the end of 1993, but the General Assembly approved a bill making the program permanent. The new law also toughens penalties for individuals who violate the measure - doubling the reinstatement fee for first-time offenders to $100 from $50.

It will allow the chief circuit court judge to designate a court officer to determine whether a vehicle was properly insured at the time a ticket was written. When the General Assembly approved the measure, legislators said the provision would save unnecessary court hearings and also the time of the driver.

In some of the other new laws:

The secretary of state's office will be authorized to suspend a driving privileges of motorists under the age of 21 who are convicted of illegally transporting alcohol.

Administrative hearing officers in the secretary of state's office may require the use of an interlock device as a condition in granting a restricted driving permit to repeat DUI offenders. Only someone with alcohol-free breath can start a vehicle equipped with an interlock device.

The secretary of state also will be empowered to refuse issuing a driver's license or permit of a person who has failed to submit to a required alcohol or drug evaluation report.

An administrative order by Secretary of State George H. Ryan for new state driver's licenses will take effect Saturday. The new licenses are designed to cut down on counterfeit driver's licenses. They will feature a double-sized hologram positioned over the most sensitive information - the photo, the date of birth, the class of license and Social Security number. Attempts to alter any of that information will destroy the hologram and make tampering easy to detect.

Illinois fishing licenses do not expire until March 31, but under a new law the Department of Conservation will be able to increase the fees to $12.50 from $7 in 1994.

The new law also allows the Department of Conservation to increase other user fees. …