It's a new year, which means all kinds of new laws have taken effect (or will take effect soon) across the county. Here's a roundup of some of the more interesting ones, including an important heads-up: The next time you run into a tiger in New York, put down your cellphone.
Plastic bag ban
Starting in July in California, disposable plastic bags will no longer be allowed at supermarkets, pharmacies, and retailers like Target and Wal-Mart, with just a few exceptions. Although more than 100 cities and counties in the state already had similar bag bans, this makes the law applicable statewide. Business groups are fighting the ban and may have enough signatures to suspend the ban or at least put it on hold while voters weigh in.
Banning tiger selfies
Think twice before snapping a photo of yourself with your favorite big cat in New York. A new state law bans people from taking selfies with lions, tigers or other big felines. Apparently, it's a hot trend on social media — especially on dating websites where men show off their virility by posing with wild cats at animal shows.
No underage tanning
Sun worshippers under the age of 18 aren't allowed to use tanning beds in salons in Delaware anymore — even if they have a parent's permission. Several other states have similar laws aimed at lowering the risk of skin cancer.
Ending breed prejudice
Cities and towns in Utah are no longer allowed to ban specific dog breeds. Ten cities in the state had banned certain breeds, including pit bulls, but those laws are now history. Utah is the 19th state to prohibit dog breed discrimination.
You can't throw old computers, TVs, VCRs or any other electronics in the trash anymore in New York. Instead, New Yorkers must take electronics to a state collection site for recycling or take advantage of manufacturer recycling programs. If you try to sneak a busted DVD player or other electronic into the trash, you may be fined.
Dining with dogs
You may spot more canine dining companions if you're eating out in California. Restaurants in the state will have the option of permitting dogs to dine with their owners on outdoor patios.
No food in the trash
Don't throw away your food in Seattle. A new law bans food and food waste in the trash. Instead, residents must compost and recycle.
All egg-laying hens in California must now have enough room to stand up, lie down, turn around and spread their wings. While animal welfare advocates are rejoicing over this groundbreaking rule, the cost of eggs in the state has already skyrocketed as poultry farmer have replaced cages and reduced the size of their flocks.
Pet tattoo ban
Spike might really want that "Mom" tattoo, but you're out of luck if you're in New York. A new law makes it illegal to piece or tattoo animals, unless it's done by a veterinarian for medical reasons or identification. Penalties range up to 15 days in jail and as much as a $250 fine. The bill was introduced by state Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, who heard about a woman trying to sell pierced kittens as "gothic." The bill gained traction when a Brooklyn man tattooed his pit bull while the dog was unconscious during surgery and the photos he posted went viral.
Easier gas pumping
Photo: Syda Productions/Shutterstock
Finally, drivers in Massachusetts can jump back in the car while they are pumping gas. The state has just made it legal for gas stations to install "hold-open clips" on pumps. Those are the little metal hooks that allow the gas to keep flowing from the nozzle, even if no one is holding the handle. The concern was that people would get out of their cars and be a safety hazard with static electricity when they touched the pump again. But data from other states — and really cold winters — convinced the Massachusetts Fire Safety Department to change its mind.
Related on MNN:
- 10 good luck foods for the new year
- Are more technology recycling laws needed?
- 18 apps to help you keep your resolutions