What’s New for 2018
2018 is ushering in thousands of new laws around the country. While a good portion of them matter very little, there are some that will have far-reaching consequences. Here is a list of the top seven state laws and why they are important.
Let’s kick things off by taking at look at a new law taking effect in California. It’s one that should worry every law-abiding American citizen.
Several laws took effect on January 1st in California with many of them being controversial. The most important, in our opinion at least, are those aimed at gun control. Gun owners are no longer allowed to purchase ammunition online and have it shipped to their home.
Instead, their purchase must be sent to a firearms dealer licensed through the Department of Justice. Starting in 2019, gun owners will also be required to undergo a background check to purchase the same ammunition. As a result of the impending laws, online purchases of ammunition skyrocketed near the end of 2017.
This is a major win for gun control advocates but an even bigger loss for 2nd Amendment supporters. Especially since California is now officially a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants, many of whom pose a threat to public safety.
In the “Land of Lincoln,” changes are just as disturbing. On the brink of bankruptcy, cities ravaged by violence, and citizens crushed under the weight of high taxes, 2018 isn’t looking bright. But hey, former president Barack Obama now has his own state holiday on August 4th, his birthday. Good news is, state employees do not get the day off.
Additionally, transgender individuals can now change the gender on their birth certificates. Despite numerous warnings from health experts on the dangers of transgenderism, progressives continue to push the narrative.
Unfortunately, when (not if) mental health issues arise, taxpayers will foot the bill to clean up the wreckage. This is not a burden Illinois residents need or want, right about now.
Iowa and West Virginia
We put these two states together because both enacted new voter ID laws this year. Although many Democrats dispute the existence of voter fraud, research shows it is indeed a problem. To address the issue, Iowa lawmakers passed legislation requiring photo ID at the polls.
However, in 2018 voters without proper ID can sign an oath verifying their identity. Starting January 1, 2019, Iowa voters must present some form legal and valid identification. Otherwise, they must cast their vote using a provisional ballot.
Similarly, West Virginia voters are also required to produce a valid form of ID to vote. Although, identification may be a photo or non-photo type. The State Elections Division is working with DMV officials to provide free photo ID to registered voters experiencing financial hardships.
In 2017, a new and more aggressive form of liberalism invaded college campuses across the country. Debates over free speech led to violence at schools like Berkeley, as leftists deemed any speech they don’t like as “hate speech.”
Thankfully, Tennessee lawmakers aren’t buying the need for “safe spaces.” Rather, they are recognizing the importance of having an open and honest debate about important issues. You know, the hallmark of democracy.
As of the new year, the law prohibits all Tennessee colleges and universities from “stifling freedom of speech or expression.” This means no more free speech codes or safe zones. Adults will actually have to be, well, adults. The new law, which you can read here, is quite in-depth and vehemently protects the First Amendment.
A new law taking effect in rural parts of Oregon is not at all significant. But, reaction to the law is a different story. It highlights the much bigger issue of the “entitlement” mentality that is pervasive in America. Hard as it is to believe, the controversy is about pumping gas. And no, we aren’t kidding.
In cities with populations under 40,000, Oregonians can now pump their own gas. Prior to the new legislation, full-service gas stations were not just normal but required. Suffice it to say, residents in these communities aren’t happy about the change. Apparently, some of them don’t know how to pump gas. Others, don’t like the inconvenience.
Darn that pesky “privilege.”
New Opioid Laws
America’s opioid epidemic reached dangerous heights in the last two years. President Trump signed a new executive order last year, declaring the problem a national health crisis. The president’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, is spearheading a federal commission to tackle the epidemic.
Responding to the crisis, several states enacted laws addressing the issue. In Connecticut, health insurers are now required to cover treatment for people with substance abuse disorders.
Nevada is requiring doctors to fill-out additional paperwork when prescribing opiates for longer than one month. Also, the law limits new patients to a 14-day prescription of opioid medications.
In North Carolina, the “STOP Act” limits the number of opioid painkiller doctors can prescribe. In addition, nurse practitioners are seeing increased restrictions on their prescribing abilities. To further prevent abuse, NC is operating a statewide database to track all opioid prescriptions.
Mirroring North Carolina’s laws, Michigan is mandating that doctors check the database before prescribing opiates and other powerful narcotics. Other bills limit the amounts patients can receive and require a legitimate doctor-patient relationship to dispense drugs.
Illinois took similar steps to other states as well. Patients receiving opioids must now register in the state database.
Country Goes to Pot
California, Maine, and Massachusetts, joined Colorado in making recreational pot use legal. While few could, or would, argue that medicinal marijuana isn’t beneficial for many patients, recreational drug use is still somewhat controversial among American voters.
According to reports, Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in the United States. And, contrary to the opinions of proponents, can be highly addictive. However, in the interest of fairness, a study in Colorado found that marijuana use significantly decreased the number of opioid related overdoses.
Nevertheless, the ramifications of recreational pot are not all that obvious. Although, something tells us we’ll have the answer soon enough as many more states are poised to legalize use. In either case, the subject will be a hot topic for debate in 2018. That, and all things Trump.
Happy New Year.
Tell us your thoughts on these new state laws in the comments.