Sunday, April 14Watch Arkansas News Journal Today

New Laws Target Fuzzy Dice and Firearms, reports The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Hundreds of new laws are taking effect with the new year in states across the U.S. Some of these laws may seem mundane, such as limiting the ability for police to pull over drivers because of objects hanging from their rear-view mirrors, while others delve into more controversial issues such as restrictions on weapons and medical treatments for transgender people.

Starting Monday, police in Illinois will no longer be allowed to pull over motorists solely because they have something hanging from the rearview mirror of the windshield. This includes air fresheners, parking placards, and even fuzzy dice. Originally intended to improve road safety, the law had come to be seen by some as a pretext for pulling over drivers. The new law still prohibits objects that obstruct a driver’s view, but forbids law enforcement officers from conducting stops or searches solely because of suspected violations.

In addition to this, Illinois has also implemented a law that prohibits people from participating in video conferences or scanning social media while behind the wheel, in an effort to combat modern forms of distracted driving.

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Several states have also implemented new laws regulating guns and online activity. Minnesota has implemented a law that allows authorities to request “extreme risk protection orders” to temporarily take guns from people deemed to be an imminent threat to others or themselves. Colorado has implemented a law banning “ghost guns”, firearms that are assembled at home or 3D-printed without serial numbers, which allowed owners to evade background checks.

Furthermore, several state laws have addressed acceptable online activities. In Connecticut, online dating operators are required to adopt policies for handling harassment reports by or between users. In North Carolina, pornographic website operators are required to confirm that viewers are at least 18 years old by using a commercially available database. Illinois has implemented a law that allows lawsuits from victims of deepfake pornography, in which videos or images are manipulated without their consent.

Another hot-button issue addressed by new laws taking effect is LGBTQ+ rights. Over the past few years, there has been a major push by conservatives to restrict access to gender-affirming treatments for transgender minors. In response, many Democrat-dominated states have implemented laws to protect transgender rights. For instance, Hawaii has implemented a law that requires new marriage certificates to be issued to people who request to change how their sex is listed. Hawaii is also replacing gender-specific terms in state law, replacing “mother” with “birthing parent” and “father” with “non-birthing parent”.

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In addition to these laws, new minimum wage requirements, tax changes, and book censorship policies will also be taking effect in various states. The new year brings a variety of new laws on taxes and wages, as well as perennial issues for state governments. More than 20 states will raise minimum wages for workers and several states will be reducing, rebating, or suspending some type of broad-based tax.

In summary, the new laws taking effect with the new year in states across the U.S. cover a wide range of issues, including restrictions on weapons and medical treatments for transgender people, new regulations on guns and online activity, and changes to taxes and wages. Some of these laws have practical effects, while others touch on controversial issues, showcasing the diversity of policy changes that are shaping the legal landscape of the country.


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