More than 300 new laws in Idaho became active on July 1. While many are simple text amendments to current state code, others include significant changes to gun laws and harsher fines for driving violations.

Drivers can now be fined $200 if they unlawfully pass a loading or unloading school bus. Though there was already a law with a fine for motorists who pass school buses unloading or loading children, Senate Bill 1131 increased the fine from $100 and added language to increase it further on subsequent offenses, up to $600 for a third offense within five years. Fines exceeding $100 will go toward the school bus camera fund, to install cameras on school buses to enforce traffic law established in this new section of state code, according to the bill’s text.

Drivers are also now legally required to slow down and move over when approaching tow trucks or maintenance vehicles parked along roadways when their lights are flashing.

Pet-loving motorists may now purchase “pet friendly” license plates, similar to other customized plates. The $60 fee associated with the plate will go toward assisting low-income Idaho families with the cost of spaying or neutering their pets to decrease unwanted litters and pet overpopulation.

A more controversial law, House Bill 206, relates to concealed-carry regulations in urban areas. The bill aligns gun laws in urban areas with rural ones where adults 18 and older can carry a concealed handgun. Previously, adults 18 to 20 were not allowed to carry a concealed handgun in urban areas. This law changes that and does not require a permit or gun-safety training, as was suggested by Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum.

House Bill 89 designated U.S. Highway 20 the Idaho Medal of Honor Highway, honoring current and future Medal of Honor recipients. The designation of that portion of Highway 20, which goes through Blaine County from Timmerman Junction through Picabo and Carey, was part of a nationwide effort to designate a single route across America in honor of the nation’s highest military-decorated recipients, according to the bill’s statement of purpose. Highway 20 begins in Newport, Ore., and ends in Boston, Mass.

Senate Bill 1028 changed a former statue stating that Idaho First Responders needed a physical injury accompanying their mental injury for the injuries to be handled through worker’s compensation. The bill now allows first responders to seek treatment through worker’s compensation when they have been examined by a psychologist or psychiatrist. The bill also identifies post-traumatic stress disorder as “an occupational injury that affects Idaho’s First Responders,” according to the bill’s statement of purpose.

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