2013 was a busy year for the Illinois legislature. While two of their most headline-grabbing achievements -- pension reform legislation and the marriage equality law -- don't go into effect on Jan. 1, plenty other significant new state laws do.
Below, we've rounded up some of the most important new Illinois laws of 2014. For a complete list, visit the Illinois Senate Democrats' website. Plus, of course, there's a slew of new federal laws -- including the new ban on incandescent light bulbs.
ANNIE, GET YOUR GUN
Earlier this year, Illinois became the final U.S. state to pass a concealed carry law and, starting this week, it will formally go into effect. Beginning Sunday, Illinois residents can apply online for a concealed carry permit on the Illinois State Police's website. State Police are required by law to approve a license, should no problems arise, within 90 days and the first licenses are expected to be issued by mid-January, ABC Chicago reports. (HB 183)
MEDICINAL PURPOSES ONLY
Medical marijuana technically arrives in Illinois on Jan. 1, though the agencies overseeing the state's four-year pilot program will still have 120 days from Wednesday to lay out the application process for those who qualify to get their hands on the drug. (HB 1)
PUT DOWN THAT PHONE
Beginning on Jan. 1, drivers in Illinois will be required to use a Bluetooth headset or speakerphone if they wish to talk on the phone while driving -- any driver caught holding a phone up to their ear could be fined at least $75. Exceptions may apply in the case of emergencies. About a dozen other states have already implemented similar laws, according to the Chicago Tribune. (HB 1247)
PEDAL TO THE METAL (JUST NOT IN CHICAGO)
Taking a long road trip across Illinois? You can get to your destination slightly faster now. As of Jan. 1, the speed limit on rural Illinois highways has been increased from 65 to 70 mph. For now, the law leaves the majority of the Chicago area as a slow zone, something state Sen. Jim Oberweis is pushing to change. (SB 2356)
LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX
Another new Illinois law going into effect means public school districts teaching sex education will now be required to teach about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases, rather than just abstinence. The law does allow districts to opt out entirely of sex education. (HB 2675)
Beginning Jan. 1, any Illinois voter eligible to vote in a November general election will also be eligible to vote in the preceding primary, even if they are only 17 years old at the time of the primary, NBC Chicago reports. Interested 17-year-old voters in Chicago must register by Feb. 18 in order to vote in the March 18 primary. (HB 226)
New pet owners in Illinois will be newly protected by a "lemon law" that allows owners to be refunded the cost of the pet or reimbursed for veterinary costs if a new pet has been purchased without disclosure of any serious illnesses. (SB 1639)
'FLASH' MOBBERS BEWARE
Illinois lawmakers have also increased the maximum penalty for anyone caught using social media to organize a violent "flash mob" from three years to six years in prison, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. (SB 1005)