New laws go into effect in Indiana and Illinois

New laws go into effect in Indiana and Illinois

TRI-STATE (WFIE) - A host of new laws go into effect Monday.

The laws range from protecting victims of crime, defining animal abuse, to protecting school children.

One of the more high profile laws is Senate Bill 2, or the school bus safety bill. This bill increases penalties for drivers who violate stop arm laws.

The law says that for a first stop arm infraction your driver’s license could be suspended for 90 days, then up to a year for a second offense.

The penalty for “recklessly passing” a school bus bumps up to Class A misdemeanor, and if reckless passing results in injury that penalty will increase to a level 6 felony. If the injured party dies, that penalty jumps to a level 5 felony.

This law comes after three children were killed after a driver blew through a stop arm in Rochester Indiana last October.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Todd Ringle says he hopes the new law will teach drivers to be more vigilant and promote safety for the drivers and the children.

“We know from talking to school bus drivers that the violations occur every single day even in Southwest Indiana," said Ringle. "So again we need everyone to do their part, we need everyone to stop for those school buses, but hopefully this new law will raise awareness and get everyone to be more responsible so we can help reduce those numbers.”

Other headline laws that go into effect this July include Senate Bill 551 which expands rights for victims of crimes. It allows parents can seek a protective order against people they believe are engaging in “sexual grooming activity" with their children. It also takes victims initials out of court documents and it enhances penalties for strangulation which prosecutors say lead to more violent acts.

House Bill 1615 creates specific definitions for animal abuse, and it specifies that shelters, animal control organizations, and humane societies can only use “humane” means of euthanasia.

New laws are also going into effect in Illinois.

Beginning this July, you need to be over 21 to buy tobacco products.

Illinois is also cracking down on texting while driving. Anyone caught texting and driving three times in a year could have their drivers license suspended.

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