NEW LAWS COVER TAXES, HEALTH CARE, AMPHIBIANS
January 3, 2006
The new year has dawned with an array of state laws taking effect. Among the new laws:
- New Jersey and Virginia now bar making public a person's Social Security number, while Minnesota requires businesses that hold such information to quickly notify clients if there is a breach of security.
- Michigan demands background checks of just about anyone working at schools, and it bans convicted sex offenders from living or working within 1,000 feet of a school.
- Missouri is requiring homeowners' associations to delete "restrictive covenant" policies that discriminate by race or religion.
- Oklahoma cut taxes for nearly everyone, and New York cut them for those making more than $150,000 a year; meanwhile, Florida cut taxes on stocks and bonds while Nevada gave a tax break to property owners, and West Virginia lowered its tax on food.
In the area of health care:
- Missouri created a state prescription-drug program for lower-income seniors to pick up costs not covered by the new federal Medicare prescription plan.
- Wisconsin lawmakers expanded the state's health care program for the working poor to provide prenatal care and delivery services to illegal immigrants and inmates.
- Virginia law made illegal immigrants ineligible for state or local benefits such as welfare or health care.
Lastly, Illinois outlawed human trafficking, already a federal crime, and approved a state amphibian -- the Eastern tiger salamander won 51 percent of the Internet vote, beating the gray tree frog and American toad.
Source: Robert Tanner, "New laws cover taxes, health care, amphibians," Associated Press, January 3, 2006.
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