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New Laws Effective July 1

By Staff | Jul 7, 2011

If u cn rd tht, u r a txtr.

If you send a message like that while driving down the road, you are in violation of one of nearly 100 new laws that went on the books in Iowa last week on July 1. The various new laws address just about every subject from fines, hunting regulations, traffic violations and texting, just to name a few.

While it’s always been a poor choice to text while driving a vehicle and you could have been fined for the transgression, there is now a much steeper fine for those who are caught texting while driving.

Law enforcement officers across the state hail the increased texting penalty, citing texting as one of the most common causes for accidents related to distracted driving, especially with teens.

July 1 also marked the beginning of the .08 legal limit for blood alcohol content for operators of boats on Iowa’s lakes and waterways. For many years, lawmakers had pressed for a common blood alcohol level for prosecution of impaired motorists and boaters, and following action by the 2010 Iowa Legislature, the Impaired boating law was approved and became law.

But along with new offenses and fines, there are also some changes in current regulations that are in the taxpayers’ favor for a change. One such change is the abolishment of a $25 title fee. Another benefit for taxpayers will be a change in the date of delinquency for tax notices, from February 1 to November 1. The change will result in less of a delinquency or penalty fee on unpaid taxes for taxpayers.

Along with such changes to existing laws is the creation of a new law allowing motorcycles to be operated with large removable wheels, just like training wheels on a bicycle. The purpose of the new law is to promote safety for less experienced motorcycle operators.

And for the record, other new laws that went into place on July 1 included regulations for the Mourning dove hunting seasons, a provision to consider cellular phones as contraband inside jails and prison facilities and an official designation of August 7 each year as Purple Heart recognition Day to honor recipients of the Purple Heart from wounds received in military service.