As if we didn’t have enough laws on the books already, 352 new laws in Utah will become effective tomorrow, Tuesday May 13, 2014. Every year a new heap of laws take effect 60 days after the Utah State Legislature ends it’s annual term. Many others become effective at some other specifically stated time in the law. This time of year many lawyers are going nuts as they struggle to get up to speed on any changes applicable to their particular area of practice. There were several new changes in Utah law for 2014 which directly affect nearly every person Utah. Everyone should be aware of at least a few of these law changes happening tomorrow. We provide a list below of some of the more notable changes in the law all of us in Utah should know.
- New Ban on Dialing While Driving – While texting and driving has been illegal for a while now, the law was rarely enforced due to a loophole which only made actual texting illegal. Many people pulled over for suspected texting and driving would merely state they were browsing, checking email, dialing, or any other number of activity on their phone not technically texting. In fact, we represent several clients where their texting and driving charge was dismissed on similar defense. Starting Tuesday using a phone to dial, call, text, browse, or essentially use any other function of your phone not in a hands free way will be illegal. This is probably the most wide reaching law we see hitting the books tomorrow which will affect nearly everyone in the state.
- More 80 Speed Limits – One of the new laws we can all celebrate is the extension of more 80 mph sections of freeways in the state. An additional 289 miles of road in Utah will move up to 80 mph zones and even more will move to 70-75 mph zones up from 65 mph. This is one area of the law we see a positive change. Currently Utah and Texas as the only states with so many miles of 80 mph freeways.
- Pay Day Loan Reforms – The pay day loan industry is now forced to lighten there contracts with their borrowers. They are now required to provide a greater period of time to repay loans without interest or sanction. These change come in the wake of the John Swallow scandal where new information was released regarding the industry and their influence on the Attorney General’s Office.
- Panhandling Ban – As of tomorrow it will be illegal to panhandle on any state highway, freeway, or shoulders. Panhandling will still be legal on public sidewalks.
- Revenge Porn – It is now illegal to distribute nude or sexually explicit pictures without a parties consent with the intent to cause emotional distress or harm.
- Hunting License – You can now try out hunting without a license in Utah. The state of Utah is hoping to get more people into hunting and purchasing permits by offering a first time hunt without a license.
- Online Voting – Individuals who are disabled or serving out of state in the military can now vote online.
- Tax Credits for Alternative Fuel Vehicles – Drive a hybrid? You should look into the potential tax credits available to you this year as lawmakers beefed up these credits.
For a comprehensive list of the hundreds of other changes in the law this year, you can visit the Utah State Legislature’s website. Additionally, as is true every year, Salcido Law Firm will be updating the Utah Code App. for the iphone to account for the many new changes in the law. We will continue to do our best to provide update and information to keep everyone in our community knowledge on law effecting us all.