A host of new laws–from making it a crime to sell a live animal on any street or in any parking lot, to honoring law enforcement officials killed in the line of duty with a special medal–become effective Jan. 1, 2012.
In 2011, all 50 states and territories met in regular session and enacted close to 40,000 new laws on issues across the board. Laws do not always become effective on Jan. 1, however. State constitutions or statutes usually establish when they go into effect, or sometimes, an effective date is written into the specific piece of legislation.
Several states passed legislation regarding the use of E-Verify that will go into effect at the start of the new year. Several legislatures also changed requirements for upcoming elections. Other bills range from prohibiting the sale of shark fins to allowing civil unions, from creating a license plate for music teachers and banning people under the age of 18 from using tanning beds.
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) found an assortment of laws in at least 21 states that will become effective on New Year’s Day. The following list is a sampling of some of the new state laws (organized alphabetically by topic) ringing in the new year.