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Monday, May 16, 2022

New Laws to Come into Effect

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Several new laws become effective on July 24, 91 days after the legislature adjourned. Bills that had an emergency clause took effect immediately when the governor signed them.

A total of 1,670 bills were filed in the Senate and House, and 1,092 became laws. The legislature convened on January 14, and adjourned on April 24.

The new laws that will go into effect July 24 include:

  • Act 738 changed the definition of texting and driving to include instant messaging.
  • Act 738 prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using a cell phone, or a hands-free device. Drivers who are 18, 19 and 20 may use a hands-free device while driving. Drivers of all ages are prohibited from using a cell phone while in construction zones with workers present, or in school zones during school hours when students are present. Fines for a first offense range from $25 to $250, and from $50 to $500 for a second offense. If the driver is in an accident or collision, the fines will be doubled.
  • Act 650 allows bicycle riders to slow down for stop signs and proceed through red lights, after stopping. In both instances the bicycles must yield to oncoming traffic and proceed cautiously.
  • Act 423 clarifies when farmers may apply powerful herbicides such as dicamba. It had an emergency clause, which made it effective on March 11.

According to State Senator Terry Rice, a few bills had specific dates written into them, indicating when they will go into effect.

  • Act 784 raises the speed limit to 75 miles an hour on four-lane, controlled access highways, but not until July 1, 2020. The controlled access highways must be divided by a median strip and in rural areas. The speed limit will be 70 miles per hour for commercial vehicles. The Highway Commission may lower the limits if it completes an engineering and traffic safety investigation.
  • Amendment 7 gives citizens 90 days to file petitions seeking to overturn or amend any acts passed by the legislature.
  • SB17 reduced the fees for a license to carry a concealed handgun and reduced the fee to renew. The initial license fees were cut in half from $100 to $50 ($25 for those 65 and older) and the renewal cost will be $25.
  • Act 510 designates the Bowie knife as the official state knife.
  • Act 685 designates the shotgun as the official state firearm.
  • Act 576 designates the alligator gar as the official state primitive fish.
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Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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