Happy New Laws
With each new calendar year come a slew of new laws regulating an already over-legislated populace. Last year I incurred the wrath of more than a few readers by merely mentioning a handful of the thousands of new laws that had just been enacted. So heck, let’s have some fun and do it again. With more than 800 new laws taking effect in California alone, it ought to be a wild ride. Ready?
Beginning this month, health insurers, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers (think pacemakers, stents, artificial hips, knees, etc.) across the country will pay an additional 2.3% tax on their sales, expected to total $1.7 billion this year alone. How many of those dollars do you think will get passed right along to the American consumer? You got it. Which, ironically, may increase the sales of pacemakers. And in a related development, the state of Illinois has a new 2013 law requiring middle-schoolers to learn how to use a defibrillator. Coincidence?
Here in the Golden State, drivers can now apply for “legacy license plates” – California plates like they made decades ago. Maybe if I drove a ’65 Mustang or ’55 Nomad, but I’m not sure why anyone would want an old all-blue or black plate with yellow lettering on their late model car. Oh, and it’ll cost you an extra $50 for the retro-privilege. Talk about getting rear-ended.
Unbelievably, foolishly, Californians can now legally text and drive – provided we use a “voice-activated” smartphone to do it. This just proves that the lobbyists for the mobile phone industry are at least as powerful as the ones for the NRA. And I would bet that more people die from the wireless phone lobby efforts than those of the NRA. Maybe we should outlaw phones with high-capacity batteries.
Another new law aimed at California drivers allows our CHP to issue “silver alerts” to alert motorists when senior citizens go missing. Not kidding.
One state law for 2013 raises registration fees for all California boat owners, ostensibly to fight the infestation of Quagga and Zebra mussels in our state’s lakes and waterways. Being the proud skipper of an ancient 14-foot aluminum boat that gets its hull wet maybe twice in a good fishing year, I’m not happy about having to pay more to the state for the privilege. I don’t even eat mussels, much less let them stowaway on my boat.
Lest you think California has a lock on strange new laws, however, read on.
In Kentucky, you can no longer release feral hogs into the wild. In Illinois, you can’t pop a wheelie while speeding on your motorcycle. (But is it okay to pop a wheelie while riding a wild pig?)
Although I shudder to even imagine why such a law is necessary, as of last week it’s illegal in Illinois to make whoopee with a dead person. Seriously. In Kansas, a new law limits each household to no more than four cats each. In North Carolina, stealing any unused cooking oil worth more than $1,000 is now a felony. And it’s about time.
In Concord, Mass., the sale of plastic bottles is now illegal. Yes, plastic bottles. (Sacramento Democrats must be drooling with legislative envy.)
In New York, minors can no longer purchase electric cigarettes and I’ll bet the entire state is breathing a sigh of relief.
In Florida, it’s no longer against the law to warn other drivers of a police speed trap ahead by flashing your headlights. All those Florida retirees speeding to their early dinners to get the senior rate must love this new law.
And last but certainly not least, convicted sex offenders in Illinois (what’s going on in Illinois, anyway?) can no longer get a job as a Santa, pass out Halloween candy or even dress up as the Easter Bunny.
I already feel a whole lot safer this year, don’t you?
I’ll see you ’round town.