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5 Notable New State Laws for 2013

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

As you deal with your hangover and watch football on New Year's Day, you should also be prepared for a slew of new state laws.

In fact, about 400 new laws are set to take effect as the clock strikes midnight on Jan. 1, 2013, reports USA Today.

Some laws make sense, like one in Illinois that allows motorcyclists to proceed through a red light if the light doesn't change (because motorcycles often fail to trigger underground sensors). Other laws may seem odd, like a Kentucky law that prohibits releasing feral hogs into the wild.

As you prepare for New Year's revelries, here are five notable new state laws that are making news nationwide:

  1. Social media passwords. It will be illegal for employers to either require or request social media passwords from job applicants and employees in several states including Maryland, New Jersey, California, Illinois, and Delaware, reports USA Today.
  2. Same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples in Maryland will soon enjoy the right to get married. Just two days ago, residents in Maine also won this right. As of Jan. 1, nine states and the District of Columbia will have legalized gay marriage.
  3. Minimum wage increases. Nearly 1 million minimum-wage workers in 10 states will see an increase in their wages, CNN reports. New laws in these states will raise the state minimum wage between 10 and 15 cents an hour.
  4. Hands-free texting. First there were laws that prohibited texting while driving. But now there is a law that allows texting while driving in California -- the catch is, you can't use your hands, The San Francisco Examiner reports. Using voice-recognition software like the iPhone's Siri to compose a text is OK under the law. Critics fear this will add to a driver's distractions behind the wheel.
  5. Sex offenders limitations. In Illinois, registered sex offenders will no longer be able to don Santa Claus or Easter Bunny costumes, or hand out treats on Halloween. This follows laws in other states that bar registered sex offenders from creating social media accounts, among other prohibitions.

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