Each new year is met with a flurry of laws that take effect on the first day. The delay is so that opponents have a chance to get the bill repealed if they can gather enough support. However, some survive to become the law of the land. For better or for worse, below is a list of laws that now rule our days.
1. OBAMACARE! Yes, the Affordable Care Act will be officially the Affordable Care LAW January 1st, and people will be able to start availing themselves of services. Some people will be seeing doctors for the first time in their lives.
2. Federal law now requires that the vending machine you are frying to liberate a bag of greasy chips from tell you how many calories you’re about to consume. Vending machine manufacturers are saying the cost will force them to cut jobs and drive up the price of snacks — the same tired rhetoric we hear every time a law is passed that educates or edifies.
3. Incandescent bulbs are on their way out. Americans are already unable to buy 75 watt and 100 watt incandescent bulbs, but starting tomorrow, Federal law bans the production of 60 watt and 40 watt bulbs as well. The point is to force Americans into using more energy-efficient bulbs such as halogen or compact fluorescent bulbs. Sounds like a good idea, right? The new law will save us money in energy used, but the up front cost of the newer bulbs comes with a hefty price tag. While a new 60 watt incandescent bulb costs around 60 cents, a new fluorescent bulb of equivalent luminosity is about $3.50, and a LED equivalent is as much as $18.
4. Teens in Illinois and Oregon will no longer be able to use tanning beds starting tomorrow. The two states join a growing list of states trying to prevent over-exposure to ultra-violet rays which can be harmful to the body and cause skin cancer. The only exceptions will be with a doctor’s note, since ultra-violet light is beneficial in the treatment of psoriasis. Oregon and Illinois join a growing list of states with similar laws. Other states subject to the ban already are Nevada, New Jersey, Texas and West Virginia.
5. Animal rights activists will no longer be allowed to use drones to monitor the activity of hunters and fishermen. After all, that’s the government’s job.
6. Mothers in Oregon will now be able to take their newborn’s placenta home with them. For centuries, birth placenta has been used in ceremonial events surrounding the welcoming of a new child into the world. Additionally, the placenta has many cosmetic and modern medicinal uses. Some medical facilities have been making money on the side selling the placentas of unsuspecting mothers, raking in millions. The new law allows mothers to decide for themselves if they wish to use the placenta at home for something like a commemorative tree, or let the hospital keep it so they can sell it for eye cream.
7. Students in California will now be able to join sports teams and use the bathrooms consistent with their gender identity regardless of birth gender. While we wholeheartedly support this law, we also wonder what the women’s bathroom will be like once the guys figure out how much cleaner it is in there.
8. In Oregon, employers can no longer force you to turn over the account passwords to your Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts. We find ourselves wondering who would allow a boss to have access to that information in the first place.
9. In California all websites will be required to tell users how they are being tracked and how personal information is shared It is unclear whether this just applies to web pages hosted in the state, or all websites viewed by Californians. No word on whether the NSA has to start being honest with anyone. Ever.