New State Laws For 2014

Published: December 25, 2013

New State Laws For 2014, “What brand are you smoking?,” could become a more routine question among Coloradans in January, when anyone 21 or older will be able to buy up to an ounce of marijuana from a state-licensed retail store for recreational use.

In Illinois, a new law will prohibit anyone from using a drone – an unmanned aircraft – to interfere with hunters or fishermen. Delaware, meanwhile, is banning the sale of shark fins.

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.

Many new laws take effect January 1. Others will not be implemented until July 1 – the start of many states’ fiscal years – or on other dates specified in the bills.

Some laws continue national trends like tighter voting requirements. For example, Arkansas will require voters to present a photo ID at the polling place. Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Indiana and Kansas already have similar laws on the books. Virginia, however, will allow voters to register online.

Newly issued insurance policies purchased through the U.S. Affordable Care Act’s health exchanges 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.

On Monday, administration officials continued to encourage uninsured and under-insured Americans to enroll in Obamacare by midnight, saying those who sign up before Christmas Day would be eligible for coverage starting January 1.

Asked about trends in new laws from the past year, said Jane Carroll Andrade, a spokeswoman for the NCSL, said taxes, education and healthcare are the perennial issues. Other subjects are just emerging, such as how technology relates to issues like privacy and voting procedures.

“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.

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