New state laws kick in Jan. 1
January 1 will start the new year, ushering in as well a slew of new laws in states across the country. New regulations for 2013 affect everyone and everything from drivers to sex clubs to hunters. Here’s a look at a few of the measures on tap.
Many states regularly enact new driving laws. In Illinois, for example, all drivers in 2013 will be prohibited from using cell phones at roadwork zones or emergency scenes, and commercial drivers can’t use hand-held cell phones at all. California drivers, meanwhile, will be able to legally text and drive — but only with a voice-operated, hands-free device.
California also takes high-tech driving a step further with a new law allowing so-called autonomous vehicles, i.e., driverless cars. The measure allows the vehicles on the road for testing, provided a qualified driver is in the passenger seat to take control.
On the employment front, a new Massachusetts law expands rights for temporary workers, including prohibiting staffing agencies and worksite employers from charging them fees. Illinois will prohibit employers from demanding access to employees’ and job applicants’ social media accounts, while new measures in California include prohibiting discrimination based on breastfeeding or religious dress.
Several states will enforce new regulations requiring employers to use the federal E-Verify system to confirm workers’ legal residency. The measures take effect Jan. 1 in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, while Georgia and Virginia begin enforcing new E-Verify requirements later in 2013.
Some new laws for next year are obscure or esoteric. One California law addresses “inflatable restraint systems,” making it illegal to sell automobile safety air bags that have already been used. Another California law says it’s ok to use dogs to hunt ducks, but not bobcats and black bears. And an Illinois law imposes a new $3 fee for entry to adult entertainment clubs, with the proceeds going mostly to a fund to prevent sexual assault.