Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Politics

Legislation

Drones, placentas and transgender students: New laws in 2014 cover much ground

dronespolice12.jpg

Sept. 2011: This photo provided by Vanguard Defense Industries, shows a ShadowHawk drone with Montgomery County, Texas, SWAT team members. (AP)

You may have heard that Colorado residents will be able to legally buy pot next year. 

But did you know that in Oregon, mothers will be able to take their placentas home after giving birth? And in Illinois, it will be illegal for police to use a surveillance drone in most cases without a warrant. 

These are just a few of the thousands of new laws and regulations going into effect next year -- mostly on Wednesday. 

They cover everything from the minimum wage to tanning beds to drones, some a bit more unusual than others. But residents might want to brush up on the changes -- state lawmakers approved nearly 40,000 bills and resolutions this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

The placenta measure in Oregon was approved this past May. 

Advocates said some families wanted to take them home for cultural or religious reasons -- while in some circles, it is thought that consuming the placenta can have health benefits. Hospitals in the state previously barred mothers from taking them home, labeling them as hazardous medical waste. 

Other issues were prominent in multiple state capitals. One concern this year among some legislatures -- or at least among their constituents -- was the perception of growing government surveillance. In Illinois, the response included passing a law barring law enforcement from using a surveillance drone unless they obtain a warrant -- and only for specific purposes, like countering a terror attack. 

And California, as is often the case, continued to enact some of the most unique and controversial laws in the country. Under one such law, starting next year transgender students in the Golden State must be allowed to use school bathrooms "consistent with their gender identity." 

California will also become the first state requiring websites to tell users how they track, and share, personal information. 

Here are some more highlights (which were compiled by the NCSL) of what's in store for 2014: 

-- Into shark fins? Sorry, but Delaware is formally outlawing their possession and sale next year. 

-- Oregon will now prohibit adults from smoking in a car if children are present. 

-- Good news for people worried about their mug shots. Illinois has made it illegal for websites to post mug shots and then ask for money to take them down. And in Oregon, such websites will have to remove mug shots for free if the person in question was acquitted or had the charges dropped. 

-- Also in Illinois and Oregon, minors will no longer be allowed to enter tanning salons. 

-- Several states hiked the minimum wage for 2014. They include Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. The highest, though, will be in California, which upped the base wage to $9 an hour -- this will take effect in July of next year. 

-- Partial legalization of marijuana was big news in 2013. Colorado will soon let anyone over 21 buy up to an ounce from a licensed outlet. Oregon and Illinois are also venturing into allowing medical marijuana.