4 laws that take effect in 2018 and their impact on you

HARRISBURG, Pa. — With the end of the year only days away, there are several new laws on deck in Pennsylvania.

Here is information about some of them and what they could mean for you:

1. Real ID

Pennsylvania's Real ID Law is scheduled to go into effect in October, requiring travelers to carry a passport when flying, even domestically.

The federal government has already delayed this once.

The state plans to upgrade driver's licenses in 2019 to accommodate the Real ID law.

2. DUI

If you're caught driving under the influence, your options are often limited. But a new law set to go into effect next year will give drivers a tough decision.

A first-time DUI offender with a blood alcohol content level about 0.1 has the option to get the conviction expunged from their record.

But that option includes classes and a minimum 30-day license suspension.

Beginning in 2018, drivers can choose to keep the conviction and not lose their license, instead opting for an ignition interlock to be installed in their car for a year.

3. Bingo

Current regulations for bingo don't allow organizations to advertise the dollar value of cash prizes for the game, including online.

The new law will allow the advertising, while also increasing the maximum prizes for games: from $250 to $500 for a single game; from $2,000 to $4,000 for jackpot games; and from $4,000 to $8,000 as the total amount awarded in a single day.

Other restrictions were also lifted, including the restriction on the number of days on which an organization can host or call a bingo game.

4. Fireworks

The state’s attempt to fill a budget hole hundreds of millions of dollars deep will make holiday celebrations in Pennsylvania a little more explosive.

Under the revenue bill passed by the Legislature in October, fireworks vendors in the state are now allowed to sell consumer-grade fireworks – think aerial items, such as Roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars – to Pennsylvania residents.

Previously, vendors could only sell fireworks to out-of-state residents.

Lower-grade fireworks, such as sparklers and fountains, were already legal to buy for Pennsylvanians. Display-grade fireworks are still restricted for use only by licensed professionals.

Consumer-grade fireworks come with a 12 percent tax on top of the state’s regular 6 percent tax. Legislators are hoping more sales will mean more tax revenue.