New Laws Target Driving, Crime, Politicians

When the clock strikes 12 on New Year's Day, a variety of new laws across the country take effect, including some that warrant immediate notice. For example, if you're text-messaging while driving in California at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, hit the send button fast. Or if you're in an Oregon bar enjoying a smoke, snuff it out in a hurry.
Jan.1 is the effective date for a wide range of new state laws, some of which touch many lives. For example, at least 10 states will raise their minimum wage.
Other laws affect a specific group of people, such as politicians. An Illinois law banning pay-to-play politics — when companies that do business with the state give campaign money to state officers who oversee their bids or contracts — has attracted national headlines. That's because of the recent arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) on charges that he tried to sell President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder, while on a mission to rake in as much campaign money as possible before the law could take effect.

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