Some new laws to keep in mind in 2012

While ringing in the New Year with drinks and celebration, 214 new Illinois laws went into effect. Some are small, while others might encourage you to change your habits. Here are just a few laws you should know:

Time to Buckle Up Backseat Riders: In effect Jan. 1, adults 18 or older) riding in the back seat of a vehicle are required to be buckled in. Failure to use a back- seat seatbelt can result in ticketing and a fine up to $25. Prior to the law, only front seat passenger and driver were required to use seat- belts. Illinois is now the 26th state to approve a law like this.

• There’s nothing fake about these penalties: Synthetic canna- binoids, or synthetic marijuana, which are herbs sprayed with chemicals to cause a high, are now banned statewide. Possession or sale of this product, which is also known as “K2,” “Black Mamba” or “Head Trip,” is now a felony and can result in one- to-30 years in prison.

Watch Your Words: The state now allows a school board to suspend a student for 10 days or expel a student for no more than two years who has made an explicit threat on a website against a school employee or stu- dent or any school personnel.

• Keeping Track: This law requires all public colleges and universities to track the status of students who are the first in their family to attend an institution of higher education.

Sex Offenders: A new law requires sex offenders who attending or are employed at a institution of higher education to register with the campus’s public safety or security director instead of just with the Chief of Police or County Sheriff.

Reduce, Reuse and Be Sure to Recycle: As part of the state’s Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act, there are 13 elec- tronic products defined as illegal to throw out in a landfill. Some of these products include televisions, laptops, printers, DVD players and digital music players. According to the Chicago Tribune, its purpose is to reduce electronic waste and keep toxic materials out of the soil and groundwater.

– Information taken from abc.com and the Chicago Tribune.