Not only does the new year bring a new start, it also ushers in a slew of new laws and regulations imposed on the public. The National Conference of State Legislators states that over 40,000 laws were passed in the 50 states in 2011. Here’s a small sample of the new rules, taxes, and regulations across the country in effect as of January 1, 2012:
- In California, drivers face fines starting at $475 if they fail to secure children under age 8 or less than 4 feet 9 inches tall in car seats. California has also outlawed the production, sale, and distribution beer that has added caffeine (no more FourLoko in the Golden State). Consumers there are also banned from using self-checkout lanes to purchase alcoholic beverages in grocery stores.
Utah has, in essence, banned happy hour
- In Montgomery County, Maryland, shoppers will be assessed a 5 cent tax for every paper and plastic bag.
- It is going to cost more to drive in many parts of the country. There are higher tolls imposed for driving on the New Jersey Turnpike (53 percent) and the Garden State Parkway (50 percent). North Carolina has increased its state gas tax by 3.9 cents, raising the total taxes (federal and state) paid per gallon in the Tarheel state to 57.3 cents per gallon.
Not all laws taking effect restrict freedoms: The variety of fireworks available to Michigan citizens is expanding beyond those wimpy sparklers and snakes to include firecrackers, Roman candles, and other similar devices.
Let’s make it our new year’s resolution in 2012 to reduce the restrictions on freedom and regulatory and financial burdens that both state and federal legislatures impose on we the people.