Every January 1 a deluge of new laws take effect across the country, more than 200 of these new laws were added to the books in Illinois alone. Illinois state rep Mark Batinick said, “We passed bills that talk about things like how we label fish on a menu. I think we named two expressways after former President (Barack) Obama. We debated whether or not you need to paint a school bus after you sell it on the used market.” Adding that the “major issues facing the state” were not addressed at all. ABC News reports that a new law in Illinois will allow a “judge [to] decide who gets custody or partial custody” of a family pet in the case of a divorce.
In the Lone Star State, vehicles transporting fluid milk will now be allowed to carry 90,000 pounds of milk, whereas the old law capped the amount at 80,000 pounds; and merchants in Texas will be allowed to require “photo identification verifying the” identity of customers using a credit or debit card.
In California, job applicants will no longer be asked “if they have been convicted of crimes unless there has been a conditional job offer,” in what the Wall Street Journal calls, “the latest expansion of the ‘Ban the Box’ movement.” Also in California, cannabis use will no longer be restricted to those with a doctor’s recommendation, however it will remain illegal to consume cannabis in a vehicle, whether as a passenger or the driver. Another law taking effect in California will require “online [purchases of ammunition] to be processed by a licensed ammunition vendor. The state also added hate crimes to the list of misdemeanor offenses that come with 10-year bans on firearm possession.” Californians will however no longer be fined for crossing the street with a flashing “DON’T WALK” or “WAIT” or approved “Upraised Hand” symbol, as long as they complete the crossing prior to the display of the steady “DON’T WALK” or “WAIT” or approved “Upraised Hand” symbol. However one new law in California seeks to curb drunk driving by allowing “alcohol manufacturers and licensed sellers [to] offer free or discounted rides to… drinkers… through ride-sharing services, taxicabs or other ride providers.” California will join forty-four other states and the District of Columbia in allowing alcohol manufacturers or licensed seller to pay for free or discounted rides.
While some of these new laws will expand upon freedoms, or remove some criminal penalties; there are still more laws, statues, ordinances & regulations on the books than there were 365 days ago. Here’s hoping that 2018 will see the beginning of legislative repeal of some of these burdensome regulations with more freedom in the year ahead!