Avalanche of New Laws in 2014

December 31, 2013

An estimated 40,000 new state laws, regulations and resolutions were approved by state legislatures in 2013, and many of which take effect January 1, says USA Today.

Among them:

  • Arkansas voters must now show a photo ID at polling places, while Virginia voters for the first time will be able to register online.
  • In Colorado, 16 year olds will be able to pre-register to vote, but must still wait until they're 18 to vote.
  • California students must be allowed to play school sports and use school bathrooms "consistent with their gender identity," regardless of their birth identity.
  • In Oregon, new mothers will now be able to take their placentas home from the hospital -- some experts say ingesting it has positive health benefits. Another new state law bans smoking in motor vehicles when children are present.
  • Minimum-wage increases take effect in four northeastern states: Connecticut's rises to $8.70 an hour; New Jersey's to $8.25; and New York's and Rhode Island's to $8. In nine other states, the minimum wage rises automatically because it's indexed to inflation.
  • Perhaps most significantly, Colorado adults age 21 or older will be able to buy up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use from a state-licensed retail store.

A sample of other state laws taking effect Jan. 1:

  • Colorado: Drivers will see a new annual $50 fee for plug-in electric cars. Colorado is one of several states looking to capture revenue from alternative fuel, electric and hybrid vehicles.
  • Delaware: Sale, possession or distribution of shark fins prohibited.
  • Florida: Expanded early voting.
  • Maine: Becomes the 48th state to require a check-off for organ donation on driver's licenses to promote organ donation.
  • Oregon: Privately run websites that feature police mug shots must take down photos for free if subjects can show they were not guilty or that charges were dropped.
  • Rhode Island: Becomes the eighth state to enact a so-called "ban the box" law that prohibits prospective employers from inquiring into an applicant's criminal history on written job applications.

Source: "New Laws in 2014: From Tanning Bed Bans to 'Lemon Pets,'" USA Today, December 29, 2013.

 

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