Thursday, October 02, 2014 Headlines & Global News

2014 To Bring In A Bunch Of New State Laws

By Rida Ahmed | Dec 25, 2013 05:29 PM EST

Colorado Marijuna Law
New laws: A man holds a sign referring to Colorado legalizing marijuana at the 4-20 marijuana holiday in Civic Center Park in downtown Denver. (Photo : REUTERS)

The year of 2014 will be seeing many states bring in new laws including regulating drone use, mitigating juvenile sentences and new gun control laws, Reuters reported.

While many new laws take effect on January 1, others will not be implemented until July 1. Some others will begin on dates specified in the bills.

In Colorado, anyone 21 or older will have the luxury to buy up to an ounce of marijuana from a state-licensed retail store for recreational use.

The use of drone, an unmanned aircraft, will be prohibited in Illinois as a way to restrict interference with hunters or fisherman. The sale of shark fins is being banned in Delaware.

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Those are among the nearly 40,000 bills and resolutions approved in U.S. states, commonwealths and territories in 2013, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which tracks trends in state laws, Reuters reported.

Some laws will continue national trends like tighter voting requirements.

Photo ID's will be required by voters at polling places in Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Indiana and Kansas. However, Virginia will allow voters to register online, Reuters reported.

U.S. Affordable Care Act's health exchanges with newly issued insurance policies will begin covering patients on January 1.  New Year's Day also marks the start of Medicaid's coverage expansion in the states that decided to expand it, according to Reuters.

Uninsured and underinsured Americans were advised by administration officials on Monday to enroll in Obamacare by midnight, saying those who sign up before Christmas Day would be eligible for coverage starting January 1.

Taxes, education and healthcare are the perennial issues, said Jane Carroll Andrade, a spokeswoman for the NCSL, about trends in new laws from the past year.

Topics such as how technology relates to issues like privacy and voting procedures are being looked at as well, Reuters reported.

"As technology emerges, state lawmakers find themselves having to balance - in the case of drones - people's privacy with the very useful services drones can perform," said Andrade.

In light of new research on mental development, juvenile justice is another developing area of new laws, Andrade said. A California law provides a way to mitigate sentences for inmates who committed crimes when they were teenagers by taking effect on January 1, Reuters reported.

A final set of gun control laws in Connecticut will be passed following the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School last December.

Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island and New Jersey will have an increase in minimum wages.

According to Reuters, new marijuana laws will be enacted in a handful of U.S. states with the new year.

Allen St. Pierre, executive director for NORML, a non-profit that supports legalizing marijuana, pointed to an October Gallup poll showing that 58 percent of Americans favor legalization - a sharp contrast to the first time Gallup asked the question in 1969, when 12 percent wanted it, Reuters reported.

"This is a fortuitous time for people who want to go forward with these initiatives," said St. Pierre. Ten states introduced legalization bills in 2013 and attempts are expected in another 15 states next year, he said.

 

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