Jan. 1 brings new do’s ‘n don’ts

By Robert Tanner

Associated Press

New Year’s Day will offer more than resolutions, hangovers and football games. Washington state will see new limits on tax increases, Florida gets revamped elections, and attempts to improve health care begin in Colorado, Rhode Island and elsewhere.

When 2002 arrives Tuesday, so will many new state laws, including Oregon’s ban on smoking in most workplaces and tougher drinking laws in New Hampshire and Alabama.

Some measures only won approval after long and loud debate, such as a sweeping new gay rights law in California and a lottery in South Carolina, where the first scratch-off tickets go on sale Jan. 7.

Many of the new laws take effect Jan. 1; others will be implemented soon after governors sign legislation already approved by lawmakers, or on July 1, which begins the fiscal year in most states.

In Washington state, a voter-approved initiative takes effect capping local governments’ property tax growth to 1 percent a year unless voters allow a larger increase.

This year began with a big push for election reform, but that gave way in many states to study committees. Florida, fittingly, was ahead of the rest with a sweeping change that bars punch cards and sets recount standards. Elsewhere, changes were smaller — such as Colorado’s law to let the secretary of state upgrade the computer system to combat fraud.

Criminals and other assorted lawbreakers, as always, were the focus of many new laws. Convicted felons in Michigan will get their mouths swabbed for a DNA database; in Alaska, they will have to pay cash to victims of their crimes.

In Oregon, anyone who gets another person to unknowingly consume so-called date rape drugs can get 10 years in prison and a $200,000 fine — 20 years if it’s done with intent to commit rape or violence.

Repeat drunken drivers in New Hampshire face tougher penalties: a fourth conviction now will mean up to seven years in prison and at least seven years without a license.

"If you haven’t learned by the second or third time, you’re not going to be rehabilitated. You’re not going to be drinking while in prison and hopefully you’re getting treatment," said state Rep. John Tholl, who is also police chief in Dalton, N.H.

South Carolina cracked down on anyone pretending to be a sheriff. Nonsheriffs or deputies caught wearing a star with the state seal can get a $100 fine or 30 days in jail.

Driving worries inspired new laws in several states. Laws require children 6 and under to be in child seats in Oregon, set tougher teen driving restrictions in Georgia, and ban talking on hand-held cell phones in Santa Fe, N.M. (New York’s ban, the only statewide law, took effect Nov. 1).

Starting Jan. 1, cell phones and driving will be studied in California, while Oregon made it illegal for local governments to regulate cell phones and driving. In North Bend, Wash., inattentive drivers — fiddling with the radio, eating a burger — can be fined an extra $300 if they get a ticket.

Smokers will face a ban in most workplaces in Oregon, though smoking will go on in bars and taverns (except in cities with pre-existing bans). In Washington state, through a voters initiative, smokers will pay the highest cigarette tax in the country — $1.42 1/2 cents a pack, a 60-cent increase. The extra $100 million annually will go to health care and anti-smoking campaigns.

Gambling, too, caught several states’ attention.

South Carolina’s new lottery, after a year of planning, begins six days after the new year begins, with prizes up to $100,000. In West Virginia, long popular but illegal video poker machines are now legal and regulated, with some of the money going to pay for college scholarships.

And in Bristol Bay, Alaska, a new gambling venture hopes to pay for scholarships for young people in the economically depressed area. The idea? Guess the number of red salmon caught in the fishing season.

The new raffle was inspired by another Alaska-only gamble, where raffle buyers guess when the ice will break on the Tanana River. This year, eight winners split $308,000 after the river ice broke on May 8 at 1 p.m.

Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

1 pedestrian dead after car crash on I-5 south of Marysville

Around 5 p.m., a car crashed into a pedestrian on I-5. Investigators were working to determine exactly what happened.

A man walks by Pfizer headquarters, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in New York. Pfizer will spend about $43 billion to buy Seagen and broaden its reach into cancer treatments, the pharmaceutical giant said. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan, File)
Pfizer backs out of Everett manufacturing plant after $43B Seagen deal

Pfizer finalized the acquisition of the Bothell-based cancer drug developer in December.

A view of one of the potential locations of the new Aquasox stadium on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 in Everett, Washington. The site sits between Hewitt Avenue, Broadway, Pacific Avenue and the railroad. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
20 businesses could be demolished for downtown Everett stadium

Some business owners say the city didn’t tell them of plans for a new AquaSox stadium that could displace their businesses.

Kathy Purviance-Snow poses for a photo in her computer lab at Snohomish High School on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Snohomish, WA. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
To ban or embrace ChatGPT? Local teachers fight AI with AI — or don’t

“It has fundamentally changed my teaching in really stressful and exciting ways,” an EvCC teacher said. At all levels of education, ChatGPT poses a tricky question.

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to fix quality, safety issues

The agency’s ultimatum comes a day after a meeting with CEO Dave Calhoun and other top Boeing officials in Washington, D.C.

Madi Humphries, 9, Rose Austin, 13, and Eirene Ritting, 8, on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
No grades, no teachers: Inside a Bothell school run by student vote

Each day at The Clearwater School, 60 students choose their own lessons. It’s one vote per person, whether you’re staff or student.

SonShine Preschool inside First Baptist Church Monroe is pictured Friday, March 1, 2024, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
SonShine preschool in Monroe to close at the end of the year

The preschool, operated by First Baptist Church, served kids for 25 years. School leadership did not explain the reason behind the closure.

Two troopers place a photo of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd outside WSP District 7 Headquarters about twelve hours after Gadd was struck and killed in a collision on southbound I-5 about a mile from the headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
State trooper killed, 1 arrested in crash on I-5 near Marysville

Authorities said Trooper Chris Gadd had been stopped along the freeway around 3 a.m. near 136th Street NE. A Lynnwood driver, 32, was arrested.

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night on December 11, 2017. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Following lawsuit, Providence commits to improved care for Deaf patients

Three patients from Snohomish County sued Providence in 2022 for alleged Americans with Disabilities Act violations.

Cars drive through snow along I-5 in Snohomish County, Washington on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
In March, 7 p.m. sunsets are back for Western Washington

Washingtonians will finally start seeing more sun starting March 10. But a little more winter could be on the way first.

One of the parking lots at Stevens Pass Thursday afternoon on December 30, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Stevens Pass to charge $20 for parking reservations on busy days

Two-thirds of spaces will remain free for early arrivers on weekends. Cars with four or more occupants can also park free.

Days after shootout with Lynnwood police, suspect checks into hospital

Police learned the 18-year-old was in a hospital in Portland, Oregon. His alleged role in the shooting remained unclear.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.