New Year Brings New Laws

by Paige Boldt on 01/01/2014

As 2014 approaches, an estimated 40,000 new laws will take effect January 1.  Individual states enact laws that take effect 90 days after they are signed. A few states such as California, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon and Texas use January 1 as a start date. Here is a snapshot of some of the laws affecting Texans and residents of other states.


Beer and wine have always been subject to sales tax but liquor has not. January 1 changes that and an establishment selling liquor will face an 8.5 percent levy attached. It will not directly the consumer unless an establishment increases their pricing to pass the tax on.

Domestic violence victims will be protected under a new law allowing them to break their lease for the benefit of their safety.

No more tanning beds for anyone under the age of 18. Parental or guardian permission will not circumvent the new law.

Veterans with post-traumatic stress who use a service animal will be allowed the same public settings as service dogs who assist the blind.

People seeking state unemployment benefits must first take a drug test.

Apartment complex owners who provide “all bills paid” in leases must give tenants fair notice if the utilities face disconnection due to the landlord’s failure to pay the bills.


Voters must show a photo ID at polling places


Regardless of their birth identity, students must be allowed to play school sports and use school bathrooms “consistent with their gender identity”.


Adults age 21 or older will be able to buy up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use from a state-licensed retail store.

Drivers of plug-in electric cars will see a new annual $50 fee.


All assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines purchased prior to April 2013, must be registration. A statewide registry will be created to track parolees whose crimes involved weapons.


Sale, possession or distribution of shark fins prohibited.


Illinois is now the 13th state to prohibit handheld cellphones while driving.

School-based sex education must include information about both abstinence and contraception.

The state also joined Texas in the tanning salon ban for anyone under the age of 18.


Privately run websites that feature police mug shots must take down photos for no charge is the subjects can prove they were not guilty or the charges were dropped. 

Tags: Texas, California, Illinois

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