Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year, New Laws

With the coming of a new year, new laws are scheduled to start as well. Here is a small sampling:

Athlete safety: requires school districts to develop a process for identifying cases in which students suffer concussions in sports mishaps and require a parent to give written permission for the athlete to return to the lineup.

Baby food: bans stores from selling expired infant food and formula.

Bail: requires that people extradited to California to face criminal charges face $100,000 in bail in addition to any bail already issued for the underlying offense.

Beer: bars the importation, production and sale of beer to which caffeine has been directly added as a separate ingredient, in response to incidents in which young people have been hospitalized with severe intoxication after drinking the beverages.

Child actors: streamlines the process for obtaining state permission for minors to work in the entertainment industry by allowing parents to get temporary permits online rather than through the mail.

Drunk drivers: authorizes courts to revoke, for up to a decade, the driver's license of any person convicted of three or more DUIs in a 10-year period. Another law bars police agencies that set up drunk-driving checkpoints from impounding cars from sober but unlicensed drivers if there is a legal driver available to take the wheel.

Elder abuse: allows wage garnishments against anyone convicted of elder abuse or financial abuse of a dependent adult.

Food stamps: eliminates the requirement that food stamp recipients be fingerprinted to prevent fraud. Another law calls for state agencies to promote more enrollment in the federal food stamp program.

Infused drinks:
allows bars to infuse alcohol with fruits and vegetables for use in cocktails.

Lying politicians: forces elected officials to forfeit office if convicted of falsely claiming they have been awarded military decorations.

Marijuana: gives cities and counties clearer authority to regulate the location and operation of medical marijuana dispensaries. Another law creates new penalties for the possession of synthetic cannabis products, which have been sold in convenience stores and tobacco shops.

Puppies: outlaws the selling of live animals on any street, sidewalk, parking lot or other public right-of-way.

Raves: requires any state agency that plans an event with more than 10,000 people on state property to conduct a threat assessment before the event.

Restaurants: may use up their supplies of shark fins — a delicacy in Chinese cooking — purchased before Jan. 1. After that, sale and possession of shark fins will be illegal.

Student government: authorizes illegal immigrants who are students to receive grants, fee waivers and reimbursement for serving in student government at public colleges.

What are your thoughts on these new laws? Would you like to suggest a law of your own?