Friday, January 1, 2010

New Laws Are In attention.....

From CNN:

(Jan. 1) -- Legislatures in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico met in 2009, leading to the enactment of 40,697 laws, many of which take effect January 1.
The new laws cover a variety of areas, from texting and tanning beds to human trafficking and seat-belt safety.

New Hampshire, Oregon and Illinois join 16 other states that prohibit motorists from sending text messages while driving. (FINALLY!!!!) Gloria Wilhelm fought for the Illinois law after her son, Matt, was struck and killed while he was riding his bike by a driver who was downloading cell phone ring tones. "These are incredibly selfish and dangerous behaviors," she said.

A new law in Oregon requires children under the age of 16 to wear a seat belt on an all-terrain vehicle or in a car while on public property.

Same-sex couples will be able to marry in New Hampshire beginning January 1 under New Hampshire General Court HB 436, and the state joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Iowa in legalizing same-sex marriages. In California, SB 54 requires the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states while such marriages were legal in California. The legislation covers same-sex marriages performed between June 16, 2008, and November 5, 2008, when a ballot initiative, Proposition 8, banned same-sex marriage in the state constitution.

A California measure that limits trans fat in restaurant food also takes effect January 1. Enacted in 2008, it requires restaurants to use oils, margarines and shortenings that have less than half a gram of trans fat per serving. A similar provision will apply to baked goods in 2011.

A statewide smoking ban in bars and restaurants that will take effect in North Carolina, the nation's biggest producer of tobacco, has drawn mixed reactions."I find it rather annoying that they're going to turn me into the police," tavern owner Van Allston said.

Not all laws become effective January 1. State constitutions or statutes typically establish when laws go into effect, and the date is written into the specific piece of legislation.

CNN's Kara Finnstrom and Emanuella Grinberg contributed to this report.



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