BOISE -- It's been about three months since the Idaho Legislature adjourned Sine Die. But Sunday most of the new laws they created this year went into effect.
342 bills were passed through the 2012 Idaho Legislature. Most of those you won't really notice, because they set budgets or slightly adjust existing laws. But there's a few that are aimed at changing your everyday life by making you, your kids, and animals, safer.
The most talked-about law to be signed by the governor this year is the ban on texting while driving.
"It's a safety issue," said Rep. Julie Ellsworth (R-Boise), who floor-sponsored the bill in the House. "It sends a message that you just don't text and drive."
After two years of similar bills failing, many in the statehouse credit this legislation's passing to the emotional testimony of the family of Taylor Sauer. Taylor died in January minutes after apparently posting on Facebook while driving.
"As parents, as we sit and teach our kids, don't text and drive," said Shauna Sauer from an earlier interview. She's Taylor's mom. "It's a lot easier when we can say don't text and drive because it's a law."
Tougher animal cruelty laws also officially went on the books Sunday. Organizing a cockfight is now a first offense felony if illegal drugs or gambling are involved. Also, animal cruelty with malicious intent is a felony on a third offense in 15 years. Idaho is the 48th state to enact a felony animal cruelty law.
"They've been duped into thinking we have a felony animal cruelty law, and we don't," said Virginia Hemingway, founder of Stop Torturing Our Pets.
Activists like Hemingway say the law has no teeth, because again, the felony law defines cruelty as having malicious intent.
"It's virtually impossible to prove malicious intent, even once," said Hemingway. "This won't be a felony until this person has been convicted three times."
Another new law extends to the youth sports fields. Before the start of the season, all middle school and high school athletes will be required to learn about concussions in order to play. Any player who shows signs of a concussion must be pulled from play, and not return to the field until cleared by a doctor.
Former Boise State football player Matt Kaiserman championed the bill. He had his playing days ended because of multiple concussions.
"I think that sports can have such a great impact on a young guy's life," said Kaiserman in May. "But with that, I think we need to educate ourselves and be able to play these sports in a safer way."
A few more state laws that are going into effect Sunday: a broader ban on spice, requiring massage therapists to be licensed, and allowing you to use your smart phone to provide proof of insurance.
If you want to see all the new laws for yourself, you can do so here.