New Year means new rules, laws, regulations and policies. Of course, most people aren’t too keen on being told what they can and cannot do with their lives and the minute, micro-managing laws which vary from state to state in the U.S. can be particularly irritating. But as 2015 gets underway, even more boundaries will be set in the cities and states in which Americans live,
These latest laws will affect the day-to-day operations, practices and policies of individuals and businesses in 2015.
Several states have designated regulations that will set more limitations on behaviors citizens might not otherwise even think of: Some of these directives are shocking and some of them have many scratching their heads, wondering what behaviours could have led to the need for these laws.
Depending on where you live, you may have to contend with these dozen new and somewhat off the wall laws and regulations in America in 2015.
12. Compost those Pizza Boxes (Seattle, WA)
The New Year in Seattle begins with a law that makes it illegal to throw away food scraps. Instead, they must be sorted and placed into a specially designated composting can.
In layman terms, this means the City of Seattle will no longer allow food and compostable paper, including food-soiled pizza boxes, paper napkins and paper towels, in the garbage.
These special compost cans will be picked up every two weeks. One can only imagine what garbage containing two weeks of old food items and sticky pizza boxes will smell like… Sometimes even good intentions can stink.
11. Lower Anxiety for Drivers (Illinois)
In a welcome move for motorists, the state of Illinois is banning police departments from requiring officers to hand out a minimum number of traffic citations in a given period of time.
Despite initially being opposed by police and county sheriffs, this new law bans local law enforcement agencies from forcing their officers to reach a quota on the amount of tickets they write every month.
Supporters believe this novel law will benefit both sides: banning quotas will improve working conditions for police and it will help reduce the anxiety drivers feel when they encounter a police officer or vehicle.
10. Freedom for Chickens (California)
What comes first, the chicken or the egg?
Starting this year, chickens get the priority. In 2015, egg-laying hens in California will now enjoy larger living quarters. A new state law requires egg laying hens have enough space to fully extend their limbs (also known as their wings). The policy refers to all vendors supplying eggs to the Golden State.
Egg producers nationwide are “scrambling” to meet this new requirement. Since farmers will have to put fewer hens into each cage or invest in revamping their henhouses, they will almost certainly pass along the expense to consumers.
California is the nation’s largest consumer of eggs and imports about one-third of its supply. Experts expect residents of California to pay up to 40% more for this morning staple. Bad news for the farmers and maybe even the industry, but good news for animal lovers.
9. Truants Lose Drivers’ Licenses (Nevada)
Beginning in 2015, teenage drivers in the state of Nevada have a new incentive to attend school: Under this current state law, students who miss class can have their vehicle licenses suspended.
In fact, anyone under the age of 18 who applies for a driver’s license or learner’s permit must have a principal or other school official certify that he or she has attended at least 90% of the school days in the current semester. That translates to no more than 10 unexcused absences in a school on regular schedule.
Nevada is obviously very serious about encouraging students to become educated; after all, without a vehicle truants probably won’t get very far on their days off.
8. Recycle that Technology Gadget (New York)
If Santa brought a new laptop or flat-screen TV to your home this year, don’t toss the old one in the trash. In New York it is now illegal to throw your old electronics in the trash.
Residents must now recycle or donate their old stuff or risk a $100 fine. Just be sure to scrub your information before you move on to your new device.
7. “Buyer Beware” Becomes Buyer Protection (Oregon)
In Oregon, home sellers are now required to disclose to buyers if a house was previously a methamphetamine lab. But this law that shields home buyers goes quite a bit further. The new regulation requires that foreclosed and auctioned homes actually be tested for meth or have a posting stating the house has not been tested.
6. Amish ID (Illinois)
The Amish have some serious religious restrictions in their life styles. One of them is the aversion to having their picture taken. Many Amish sects cite the Bible as not allowing them to make “graven images,” which includes photographs.
In 2015, the Amish in Illinois will be exempted from having to take driver’s license pictures. However, these new ID’s, which serve as a license for operators of horse-drawn buggies, will use a fingerprint instead of a picture.
5. Water Recreation (Minnesota)
By summer 2015 in Minnesota, if you transport a watercraft or water-related equipment, you will be required to complete Aquatic Invasive Species Training and obtain a trailer decal.
These permits are intended to stop, or at least minimize, the introduction and spread of intrusive and hostile water plants and animals by people working, conducting research and recreating in Minnesota waters. Fines range from $200 to $500 for noncompliance.
4. Got Buffalo Milk? (Illinois)
In Illinois, the definition of milk now includes a new hooved animal. It is now legal to sell and drink water buffalo milk. Yes, the state has approved the public sale of milk from this mighty beast.
A water buffalo weight ranges from 660 to 1,210 pounds. So the question now becomes, “how do you even milk a water buffalo?”
3. Tackling Tiger Selfies (New York)
Who knew that taking a selfie with a living, breathing tiger would become a trend? But apparently 2014 saw a slew of young men posting selfies with tigers or other big cats on social media and dating sites. But in February New York designates this bizarre act as illegal. The measure specifically prohibits contact between members of the public and big cats.
2. Find a New Way to Wash Your Face (Illinois)
The tiny plastic microbeads found in exfoliating washes and hand soaps will be banned in Illinois this year. Residents will have to keep their complexions clear some other way.
These tiny plastic beads found in cosmetics are seriously bad news for the environment. Microbeads are normally less than 1 millimeter across, and slip through most water treatment facilities into the water supply. They harm animals that swim and drink the water since they cannot digest these man-made substances.
Most major companies that use microbeads in their products are happy to comply. Companies such as L’Oreal and J&J have already agreed to begin replacing the plastic with more natural alternatives like oatmeal and sea salt. You can even download an app to determine if your product contains microbeads.
1. No Tats for Pets (New York)
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law making it a criminal act to pierce or tattoo animals. Penalties range up to 15 days in jail and as much as a $250 fine. Cuomo stated, “This is animal abuse, pure and simple. I’m proud to sign this common-sense legislation and end these cruel and unacceptable practices in New York once and for all.”
This new 2015 state law is aimed at curbing the trendy practice of inking or even maiming animals to make fashion statements.