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New Month, New Laws

July ushers in spate of new state laws

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Sorry kids, no more piling in a car driven by a 16-year-old friend to head to the bowling alley to spend an evening lighting up cigarettes. The good news though, is that if you get arrested, you'll be released on a more timely schedule.

With July comes a pile of new laws passed during the last session of the Legislature.

No. 1: No more smoking in bowling allies.

And then there's the changes to the driving regulations. Anyone younger than 17 must now wait six months before he or she is allowed to have more than one non-related passenger under the age of 17 in the car. These newbie drivers may still carry multiple family members as passengers.

Driver's permits can still be issued to anyone at least 14-1/2 years old, but these drivers must now have at least six months of supervised driving with an adult age 21 or older before he or she can get a driver's license.

The Legislature also set in place a structure for dealing with end-of-life decisions. The Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment gives Idahoans a set form they, along with family and doctors, can fill out to address issues including life support, nursing care and right of attorney. These forms are filed with the secretary of state, allowing medical facilities around the state to access the information.

New laws also make it illegal to disturb the peace and dignity of any funeral or memorial proceeding. The legislation came in direct response to the protests let by Fred Phelps, head of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. Phelps and his followers have picketed military funerals across the country claiming that the deaths of soldiers is part of God's wrath because of the United States' tolerance of homosexuals.

The law also requires that prisoners must be discharged on the last weekday prior to a weekend or holiday.

And last, but definitely not least, the Legislature cleared the way for hunting wolves—once they are formally removed from the federal endangered species list. The new law allows the state to issue 10 tags to be awarded via lottery or special auction. If sold at auction, it must be through a non-profit wildlife conservation group, which would then receive the proceeds from the sale.

For a full list of new laws, check out the Legislature's Web site at www.legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/2007/07law.htm.

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