Articles Posted in New Law

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This year, Utah legislators lowered the state’s DUI threshold to the nation’s most severe. The measure (HB155), which was sponsored by Republican Representative Norman K. Thurston, lowered Utah’s blood-alcohol limit from .08 to .05 in an attempt to make roads safer. Governor Gary Herbert signed the law in March, and it is scheduled to take effect on December 30, 2018.

traffic

A new report from Utah’s Department of Public Safety (DPS), however, demonstrates that drunk driving only contributed to roughly 13% of Utah’s 281 traffic-related fatalities last year. The highway safety office of the DPS is dedicated to developing, promoting, and coordinating traffic safety initiatives designed to reduce traffic accidents.

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In West Virginia, people often drive their ATVs on their own property after drinking a few beers. The West Virginia Supreme Court, however, struck down this common cultural practice in a decision last month.

ATV

In a 4-1 opinion, the state high court ruled that the DMV can lawfully revoke driving privileges for drivers caught driving under the influence on private, as well as public, roads. The case came up to the state high court from the Monroe County Circuit Court.

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At the close of Tennessee’s 59th special legislative session last month, the state legislature approved changes to a DUI law that did not comply with federal law. The federal government said the statute, unaltered, could cost Tennessee $60 million in federal funding.

US Capitol

The Tennessee law was out of compliance with federal law because the legislature had eliminated a provision that rendered the allowable BAC as .08. The bill’s purpose was to add stiffer penalties for underage drinkers. The federal government found that the law did not comply with the federal zero tolerance law, which requires states to set the allowable BAC at .02 for drivers under 21. The federal government reacted stringently, giving Tennessee until October 1 to align the state’s BAC limit for 18-year-olds to 21-year-olds with the federal law.

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On July 29, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2228, which decriminalizes minor marijuana possession. The new law–filed by Senator Heather Steans and sponsored by Representative Kelly Cassidy–renders possessing up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil, rather than criminal, offense. The civil citation is punishable by a fine of between $100 and $200.

marijuana

More than 100 local Illinois governments–including Chicago–have decriminalized possession of small quantities of marijuana. SB 2228, however, will extend decriminalization across the entire state. SB 2228 marks Illinois’ progress toward criminal justice reform. Last year, the Republican governor vetoed a bill that sought to decriminalize slightly larger amounts.

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