From snow day guidelines to gun laws, new regulations take effect in Ohio

Lawmakers passed more than 50 new laws in the state

Ohio Statehouse

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Dozens of new laws are now in effect in Ohio for 2017.

Lawmakers passed more than 50 new laws that went into effect Jan. 1 – several have to do schools and students.

Lindsay’s Law helps prevent sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes. Along with concussion guidelines, students and parents now have to review standards and protocols about sudden cardiac arrest, and coaches are required to complete an annual training course on the condition.

Sudden cardiac arrest is the number one killer of student athletes. The goal of the law is for athletes, parents and coaches to know the warning signs and symptoms.

STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum can now start as early as kindergarten. Programs are available that help to guide students on the educational path that will carry them through their primary education.

A new law impacting student debt allows lenders to add fees onto student loan balances. Right now there is no limit on how high those fees can be.

A few new criminal laws are new for 2017 as well. For instance, a driver’s license suspension due to a vehicular homicide is 15 years. That suspension begins the day after a driver serves the court sentence for the crime – not simultaneously with any jail sentence.

Also new for 2017, employers can no longer forbid workers from keeping a gun locked in their own vehicle while parked on company property. This law also gives active military members permission to carry a concealed gun without a permit in Ohio.

A few more laws that take effect in 2017 include:

  • Minimum wage: Cities can no longer try to raise the wage above the state minimum, which is $8.15 per hour in 2017.
  • Abortion rights: Abortions are now banned after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Previously it was 24.
  • Passing a bicycle: A vehicle passing a bicycle must now give at least 3 feet of space.
  • Traffic lights: If a traffic light does not detect your vehicle, you may drive through the intersection as long as you yield to oncoming traffic.
  • Truancy: Schools can no longer suspend or expel a student just for excessive truancy. Districts with truancy levels over 10 percent are required to implement an absence-intervention team in an attempt to avoid truancy charges.
  • Assisted suicide: The act is now a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
  • Cockfighting: Cockfighting is now a felony in Ohio.
  • Autism: Health-insurance plans are now required to provide coverage for treatments of autism-spectrum disorders.
  • Snow days: The Ohio Department of Education will no longer have to approve a district’s plan to make up snow days or the “blizzard bags” that schools send to students’ homes. Schools will work out a solution on their own.

There are also new days set aside for state recognition. They include the following:

  • Thyroid Health Awareness Month: January
  • Annie Glenn Communication Disorders Awareness Day: Feb. 17
  • Asthma Awareness Month: May
  • Service Dog Awareness Week: Last week of July
  • Blue Star Mother’s Day: Fourth Sunday of July
  • Ohio Survivors of Suicide Loss Day: Saturday before Thanksgiving

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