State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) announced there are 237 new laws scheduled to take effect January 1, 2016.
Rep. Meier called attention to several new laws which may be of interest to residents in region this New Year. Some of the laws scheduled to take effect include deterring 911 prank calls, adding missing senior citizens to the Amber Alert, banning the sale of powdered caffeine to minors, protecting senior citizens from estate scams and prioritizing handicap accessible parks.
According to Rep. Meier added, “Hundreds of laws are scheduled to take effect this New Year, it is important the public become familiar with the new laws which have an impact on us and our neighbors.”
Deterring Prank 9-1-1 Calls (P.A. 99-0160, HB 3988)
Unfortunately it has become a routine for 9-1-1 emergency centers to receive prank calls,” said Rep. Meier. “When an individual calls 9-1-1 for an emergency, every second counts when saving a life, calling 9-1-1 is serious – not a prank.”
P.A. 99-0160 seeks to deter prank 9-1-1 calls by giving the courts the discretion to require offenders convicted of making a prank 9-1-1 call or other false emergency alert to police to reimburse the public for the costs of responding to the report, a trend known as “swatting”.
Silver Alert (P.A. 99-0367, SB 1846)
Missing older adults who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease will be added to the Missing and Endangered statewide alert program. This system, Amber Alert, is already in use for lost, missing and endangered children.
Rep. Meier added, “It can be a frightening experience getting a phone call to hear your loved one is missing. I anticipate this new law will help locate persons missing that may otherwise be unable to find their way back home as a result of having dementia or Alzheimer’s.”
Powdered Caffeine Control (P.A. 99-0050, SB 9)
This new law prohibits any person from selling, offering to sell, giving away, or providing free samples of powdered pure caffeine to any person under age 18 and sets forth the penalties for violation.
According to the FDA, a single teaspoon of pure caffeine is roughly equivalent to the amount in 28 cups of coffee.
Rep. Meier added, “This law is a result of recent reports of teens “overdosing” on powdered caffeine. It’s tragic to hear the stories of kids overdosing on something the public was unaware a person could die from.”
Protecting Seniors from Victimization with Their Wills (P.A. 99-0302, SB 90)
Aimed at protecting senior citizens, this new law will serve to protect disabled seniors from being victimized by scammers who try to talk them into changing their wills, by providing for judicial oversight in cases where individuals have been determined by the courts to be not of sound mind and memory.
“I have heard countless stories from family members of senior citizens scammed out of their estate. I anticipate this new law will protect seniors and their family from being victimized by individuals seeking to steal senior citizens’ life savings.”
Handicap Accessible Parks (P.A. 99-0391, HB 3457)
Directs the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to add handicap-accessible playground equipment such as ramped ground-level play features, accessible swings, wheelchair accessible tables, adjustable equipment, universally accessible swings, and transfer platforms to the criteria for giving park projects priority.
Rep. Meier added, “When it came to my attention how very few Illinois parks are handicap accessible I realized something had to be done. I believe that individuals with a handicap and their families should be able to enjoy our state’s wonderful parks and the great outdoors.”
To view the full list of all 237 new laws scheduled to take effect January 1, 2016 click here.