Entries in New Year (3)


New Year Welcomes Oddball State Laws

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many new, unusual state laws will take effect when the ball drops at midnight and millions of Americans ring in the New Year, including one that will limit the number of cats in a household.

Turns out 2013 will be unlucky for cat lovers in Wellington, Kan., where the city will be restricting the number of cats in a household to no more than four.  The law was put in place after 231 cats were sent to animal clinics in 2012, Wellington Police Chief Tracy Heath told the Wellington Daily News.

“Those are cats that go to the animal clinic, they’re there for the allotted time and then, unfortunately, they are euthanized,” Heath told the newspaper.

Another unusual law taking effect at midnight is Public Act 97-743 in Illinois.  This law imposes a fine of $1,000 on anyone who pops a wheelie on a motorcycle while speeding.  While this law might upset some motorcyclists, the state is now giving them a free pass to go through red lights.

Motorcycles are often not heavy enough to trigger magnetic sensors at traffic lights to inform them a vehicle has pulled up.  Motorcyclists usually have to wait for a car to pull up before the light turns green.

The new bill states that after a “reasonable” amount of time, the motorcycle could pass the red light if the coast is clear.  The law doesn’t apply to cities where the population exceeds two million people.

Illinois is also imposing a law cracking down on those who posses, sell or distribute shark fins.

Come 12:01 a.m. Tuesday in Concord, Mass., plastic bottles will be considered contraband.  Concord will be the first town in the nation to outlaw plastic bottles.

As of Jan. 1, it will be illegal to flash your headlights in Florida to warn drivers about a speeding trap set by police.

In California, more than 800 laws are about to take effect, including one that allows driverless vehicles on the road.  But a human must be present in the passenger’s seat of all computer-driven cars.

As for those Californians who are still driving, you can now whip out your proof of insurance on your smart phone if police pull you over.

Those who love deep fryers in North Carolina need to take into consideration that it’s a misdemeanor to steal unused cooking oil, according to Torbett’s Grease Law.  It’s a felony if the value of the stolen grease -- or the grease plus its container -- is worth more than $1,000.

If you want to stay out of trouble in Kentucky, don’t release pigs into the wild.  The state’s growing population of feral pigs has caused officials to slap a fine on any person caught releasing hogs into the wild.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Calls for Reconciliation in Rosh Hashanah Message

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- In his annual message marking the Jewish New Year, President Obama calls for reconciliation at a time when “public discourse can too often seem harsh” and “society too often focuses on what divides us instead of what unites us.”

“This is a joyful time for millions of people around the world. But Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are also opportunities for reflection. They represent a chance to take stock of our lives and look forward to the coming year with clear eyes and renewed purpose,” Obama says in a video message in advance of the beginning of Rosh Hashanah Sunday night.

“In that spirit, the Jewish Tradition teaches us that one of the most important duties we have during this period is the act of reconciliation. We’re called to seek each other out and make amends for those moments when we may not have lived up to our values as well as we should,” he says. “I hope that Americans of all faiths can take this opportunity to reach out to those who are less fortunate; to be tolerant of our neighbors; and to recognize ourselves in one another.”

The president also reaffirms the U.S. commitment to Israel. “As a nation, let us be mindful of those who are suffering, and renew the unbreakable bond we share with our friends and allies, including the State of Israel,” he says.

“Michelle and I wish you and your families a sweet year full of health, happiness and peace,” he says. “L’Shanah Tovah.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Laws for the New Year: 3 More States Ban Texting While Driving

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Tens of thousands of new laws go into effect Saturday in cities and states all across the country. Some of the laws have far-reaching goals, like making roads safer. Three more states – Delaware, Kansas and Kentucky – now ban text messaging while driving.

Others have more specific targets. In California, photographers now face beefed up penalties or false imprisonment for blocking cars. New laws make it more difficult to be a food cart owner in Des Moines, Iowa; they are now banned at night because of their tendency to attract crowds.

Many of the new laws deal with technology. In California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, and Texas, for example, impersonating someone through social media or email is now a crime.

In Connecticut, the fine for those pesky telemarketers who violate the “Do Not Call” registry just jumped to $11,000 per violation.

There are now stricter penalties if you’re convicted of holding a dog fight within 1,000 feet of an Illinois school, park or playground.

And don’t try subletting your New York City apartment for just a few days or weeks. A new law that takes affect in May bans renting your apartment for less than a month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio