New Laws for the New Year

By Jeremy Del Nero on 1 January 2014
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Chicago River in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago River in Chicago, Illinois

Lawmakers in the 50 United States, U.S. commonwealths and territories, spend their days creating new laws. Indeed, in 2013, over 40,000 new laws were enacted.  Many will go into effect on January 1, and the National Conference of State Legislatures, a group that tracks lawmaking, put together a list of some of the most interesting examples.

From that list, we chose a select few that we felt would be of interest to our readers.

In the state of Illinois alone, lawmakers at the state capitol approved 200 laws and measures for the new year, covering how students are taught sex education in school, limiting the use of tanning salons to those over 18, to specifying that dogs tethered outside must have access to adequate food, water, and shelter.

Anybody over the age of 21 in Colorado can legally buy up to an ounce of marijuana from regulated dispensaries.

A new Delaware law prohibits the possession, sale, and distribution of shark fins within the state borders.

It will be illegal to use a drone to interfere with hunters or fishermen in Illinois.

Oregon state law will forbid smoking in cars in the presence of children.

One must be at least 18 years of age to use a tanning salon in both Illinois and Oregon as of January first.

Maine added a checkbox for organ donation on its driver’s licenses as a way of promoting the practice.

Employers and institutions of higher learning in Oregon are barred from demanding access to social media profiles of an employee or applicant, student, or prospective student.

Illinois Internet users can receive a maximum of six years in prison for inciting violent flash mobs or riots via their social media accounts.

Illinois joins twelve other states (as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands) in forbidding the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving.

The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority reserves the right to publish online the names of drivers who owe more than $1,000 in tolls, fees, and fines.

Colorado is adding a $50 a year fee for plug-in electric vehicles registered in the state.

Finally, New Hampshire requires drivers to ensure that any child under the age of 7 is securely restrained.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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