New Year, New Laws

Welcome to 2013. As of today, more than 400 new laws come into effect in states across the country. CNBC sums up a few of the weirder ones:

In 2013 in Illinois, motorcyclists will be able to “proceed through a red light if the light fails to change.” In Kentucky, releasing feral or wild hogs into the wild will be prohibited. And in Florida, swamp buggies will not legally be considered motor vehicles.

The Illinois motorcycle law may sound strange, but it actually makes a lot of sense in certain situations. Many traffic lights are triggered by magnetic sensors. They work just fine for passenger cars, but motorcycles are small enough that it can be difficult to get them in a detectable position, meaning a light may potentially never change. Hopefully riders use their new powers wisely.

The article also points to an odd new Oregon law: if your business has a job opening, and you’re unwilling to consider unemployed applicants, you are not allowed to advertise the opening. This would seem to have rather obvious free speech issues, and is unlikely to survive a court challenge on First Amendment grounds.

All in all, state legislatures across the country passed 29,000 new laws.

At the federal level, a total of 3,706 new regulations hit the books in 2012, as Wayne Crews pointed out today. Now that the holidays are over, agencies have hit the ground running, publishing another 13 new rules in today’s Federal Register, the first issue of the new year. The rules cover topics ranging from soybeans to Rolls-Royce jet engines.

It’s already looking like a busy year for regulatory watchdogs.