New laws in effect
New state laws that took effect Tuesday include more stringent restrictions placed on seat belt, cell phone and smokeless tobacco users.
Reported by the Associated Press late Tuesday, new laws adopted during the 2009 legislative session include:
• The age of children required to ride in a booster seat goes from under 5 to under 8 or shorter than 4-feet-9 inches.
• Using a handheld phone while driving through an active school zone becomes illegal. But local authorities can only enforce the new restriction if signs announcing the ban are posted at the beginning of each school zone.
• All passengers in a vehicle will have to wear a seat belt, no matter their age or location in the car.
• Teenagers trying to get their first driver’s license will have to get 34 hours of behind-the-wheel driving instruction. And they’ll have to take a driving skills test in addition to the written test.
• Smokeless tobacco users will pay a higher tax.
• A proper method for folding the state flag becomes law
• High school students are being given more freedom to pursue the elective courses of their choice on the recommended graduation plan. Some districts have delayed implementation of the plan.
• Concealed handgun license holders will no longer face license suspension for refusing to display it to peace officers on demand.
Carrying a concealed handgun into a bar will still be a Class A misdemeanor, but it’s defensible if the business does not clearly state that 51% or more of its income is from the sale of alcoholic beverages.
• Defaulting on a student loan will no longer disqualify an applicant for a concealed handgun license.