(KMVT/KSVT) - More than 300 new and amended laws went into effect July 1 in Idaho after a busy legislative season. Putting you first, KMVT sat down with the Twin Falls County Prosecuting Attorney to highlight some of the new rules you need to know, before you find yourself on the wrong side of the law
Idaho code books at the Twin Falls County prosecuting attorney's office (KMVT image)
"There's been a lot of close calls. I know one guy that's had to jump on a hood. We've all almost been hit," said Josh Jones, a transportation technician with the Idaho Transportation Department.
Jones is constantly doing roadwork on the interstates.
"It's about time. We wish it could've been put in place years ago," he said of the new law.
The new law he is talking about is the "Move Over" law.
"We're all familiar with the law where you have to move over when you see a policeman who's pulled someone over. Now, it applies to construction workers, people who are picking up trash on the side of the road. Any kind of emergency vehicle at all rather than just police," said Grant Loebs, the Twin Falls County Prosecuting Attorney.
That is just one law of 329 in total that passed this past legislative season.
"I've talked to one of the local managers and she said this year was one of the worst years ever. She's seen more violations this year compared to past years," said James Stevenson, the regional director of operations of Mid Columbia Bus Company.
Starting July 1, those who run a stop arm while a school bus has their red stop sign out will receive a bigger fine.
"While it's either loading or unloading children... Doubled from $100 to $200 for the first offense, and for $400 for the second offense and $600 for the third offense," Loebs said.
"I think it’s definitely in the right direction in making sure our kids stay safe out in the community. I know the original bill had steeper fines," Stevenson said.
Loebs said the proposed fine was $1,000.
The fine might be higher now starting at $200, but taking the life of a child is a much bigger punishment.
"That could be your child, that could be your brother, that could be your cousin. Think of that. You never know how serious it could be," Stevenson said.
Another law that went into effect now allows 18-year-olds to conceal carry within city limits.
"I think we have to rely on people to be conscious and respectful and tasteful in a way that they use their weapons and carry and display them," Loebs said. "I wouldn’t be surprised if we get some complaints for a little while about young kids having weapons, young kids who are 18 are adults."
Idaho officials are now required by law to test all sexual assault kits. This did not pass the first go-around last year.
"They all add to the database to catch offenders, really, nationwide," Loebs said.
A few other laws that went into place include a new penalty that people can see if they are harboring vicious dogs, a new protective order that judges can issue that have to do with "stalking, harassment or threatening people because of their racial or religious makeup." Loebs said it used to be limited to domestic violence before.
Those who evade jury service can now be fined up to $300.
"People who get a summons to come to jury should pay attention because if a judge looks out there and sees a lot of empty seats where people should be, you can get a fine and arrested for that," Loebs said.
While there are so many new laws, you can read them on the Idaho State Legislature's website to be up-to-date.
"It’s important to educate yourself and be aware of what laws might affect you," he said.