It’s the Law…Now

Every January 1st, new laws go into effect and people must begin to follow them. Last year in the U.S., 40,000 new laws were passed.  Here are a sampling of (examples of) some of the new laws now in effect in the U.S.

* In the state of Texas, a new law says that teenagers (people between the ages of 13 and 19) must be accompanied by (be with) an adult if they want to use the facilities at a tanning salon.  Tanning salons are business where people go to have special lights shine on their skin so that it becomes darker, so they’ll have a suntan.

* If you’re driving in the state of Ohio, be sure to turn on your headlights (lights at the front of a car or vehicle that allows you to see the road in the dark) while it is snowing.  If you don’t, you’ll get a ticket.

* The state of Illinois became the 19th state to outlaw (make illegal) texting, sending and receiving electronic messages, while driving.

* If you live in Kentucky and you want to get a payday loan, the new cap (limit) is $500.  A payday loan is a loan you get from a private business that will lend you money until you get your next paycheck.  Unfortunately, most payday loans require very high interest rates, so you would have to pay those high fees, too, when you get your paycheck.  Of course, we don’t recommend getting a payday loan at all, as we talked about in English Cafe 94.

* In California, it is now illegal for restaurants to use oils, margarines, and shortenings (animal fat) that contain more than half a gram of trans fat, a type of unhealthy fat.

* Also in California, it is now against the law to cut off a cow’s tail, unless it is medically necessary, that is, only if a veterinarian (animal doctor) says the cow needs to have it cut off for the good of his or her health.  So those who collect cow tails, beware!

Are there any unusual or surprising laws where you live, past or present?

~ Lucy

P.S.  The photo above is of Lady Justice, a symbol of the judiciary, the system of courts in the U.S.  Any depiction (image; drawing; painting; statue) of Lady Justice always has three things:

  • a sword (very long knife used as a weapon) to symbolize the power of the courts
  • a set of scales (device use to measure weight by putting weight on both sides until both sides are at the same level) to represent the weight of evidence on both sides of an issue
  • a blindfold, cloth over the eyes of Lady Justice, to symbolize impartiality (fairness; the ability to treat everyone the same)

P.P.S.  Thanks to all those who read and comment on our blog posts.  It’s one of the ways we know what you like and what you want to see more of on the blog. That’s why we really appreciate you taking the time to give us your feedback!

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19 Responses to It’s the Law…Now

  1. Thomas says:

    I think all this laws sounding useful for me.
    But it could be difficult that the laws are different from state to state.
    Many useful laws in Germany where taken from the U.S.
    Some smoking rules and the catalyzer in cars for instance.
    Some laws can be very surprising.
    When it was my first time in California, I didn’t know it’s not allowed to drink a beer on the street.
    A friendly citizen told me so I didn’t got a ticket.
    I like that traffic rule on crossroads, all drivers have a stop since and the first driver who was on the crossroad can drive first.
    I think this is impossible in Europe.


  2. emiliano says:

    Sorry Lucy, but as I have said very often here I don´t belive in law in the least.
    The Law always depend of the time you are living and the country you are in. Actually there are not the same laws in USA that in France, Spain or Iran, and so on.
    Also the laws have beeng changing along the years and depending of the political or historical situation of the countries, all of this is very well known for us if we take a look to the History.
    Dictatorship has nothing to do with Democracy or Absolutism, so please.. Laws?
    Which of them, when or where?.

    Now reading this kind of new laws and the fact that is impossible to know all the new one that every year passed in your country, I even may belive in Law less than before as to me they seem to be a lot of nonsenses.
    Very sorry for the people who make the rules, or the laws but I think some of them are absurds by my personal point of view.

    Who may know all of them as to not infrige any?…….no way.
    Not me if I was living over there, that´s for sure.

  3. emiliano says:

    Well, I know that is necessary to have some rules or laws just to live in comunity, but please why so many?.
    From 1.500 years B.C. more or less, we Christians got ten that could be valid for all means.
    Many years ago other cultures got their few laws too, that I think may have the same purpose that the ten.

    If we could submit these ten or the other few laws it would be enough, as they are the pilars that support
    fair´s human behaviour.

    Yes, I know that´s an ideal but inside all good people there are the same rules to live in armony with our
    other fellows, despite along history it seems an impossible dream.

    So the point to dictators, politicians, or Kings, is to make new laws every moment…….how many along hundred or thousand of years?.
    No body knows, impossible of counting.

    Less for the best means.

  4. Mohammad says:

    I think laws are necessity in civilized societies and the details that it takes is in the nature of developed and complex civilazation but executing of it and streamlining and making it as a habit to conform to new ones is another subject

  5. Jose Antonio says:

    Interesting, specially that referring to texting. I am wondering if twitting should be forbidden also.
    Thank you Lucy.

  6. Richard says:

    There are so many interesting laws in the states!

  7. Daniele says:

    I thank you Ms. Lucy. It is always a pleasure for me reading your blog that I often find really interesting.
    I cannot believe it, for the first time I do not agree with Mr. Emiliano that I consider the wisest man in this blog.
    It is a fact that there are too many, but we need rules and laws.
    Take for example texting while driving, how many people get killed in this way each year?
    What do you do? you have to make a law that prohibits that.
    Then, if you look into the cars, a lot of people keep doing that.
    Maybe if we were better citizens there were fewer laws.

    bye to you all 🙂

  8. emiliano says:

    Thank you Daniele, but I´m not what you said of course.

    Yes, I know what you mean and without laws life as we understand it should be impossible.
    But as you said “if we were better citizens there were fewer laws”.
    Have in mind the laws of Germany under the National Sotialist Party?, the way that these laws treated people?, Jewish for example?, or gipsiest?.
    The laws under the Dictator Franco here in Spain?, or so many dictators every time and everywhere?
    The laws that in England on the XVIII sent people to Australia or EEUU as slaves only to thieve a piece of bread? or to be hunged if a man hunted to have meat for his children and wife?
    Our laws now seems very right for us, but the others were right on the past time for the people living that times.
    Even now there are laws so different from a country to another.
    Homosexual couples may be married here in Spain, but in other countries are punished with capital penalty….Hunged from a machine.
    What to say about abort?…….and so on.
    What about capital penalty?
    Penalt punishment and age of criminals?
    Here a boy or a girl may kill all their families and if they are 15 years old or less they haven´t any punishment.
    Or may rape a children, or a girl without any penalty. Or rape and kill them knowing that the law has nothing to do with them…..
    That´s true and we have some cases now.

    What are right? What are wrong?….Who has the truth?.

    Yes, I know I´m going against something sacred as Laws, that of course are useful to share our vital space with our similar, but I think there is a lot to think about this matter having a wide mind. And yes I know we need rules but I think less and better that
    thousands so badly thought.

    My position is extreme only in the way of giving reasons to think about this theme and happy to talk with you now.
    Regards Daniele, just a pleasure.

  9. emiliano says:

    I think it´s interesting to read about :
    “Lex Talionis” (latin) also “The Hammurabi (1792 a. C.) Code” and the “Germanic “Blutrache”
    and contrast all these old texts of laws that were valid and right for hundred or thousand of years with the dozen of thousand
    laws we have now in every country.
    Politicians are always doing laws that have nothing to do with the right-wrong or the common sense of persons.

    Thank you Lucy, this topic is one of my favorites as I dislike so much lawyers and all kind of legal jungle people.

    Well may be I have read too much John Grisham novels.

  10. Bahadore says:

    Thank you Lucy for this interesting post.

    I really wonder why it matters not to cut off a cow’s tail! I mean why for example in California cutting off the tail of a cat is not illegal? (I’m not sure; maybe it is!).
    Why lots of congressmen squander their time approving such vein laws? (Again I’m not sure about the usefulness of this particular case).


  11. francesco says:

    Hi guys! Nice topic this week… Last year in Italy, precisely in Naples,it was passed a law that said that it’s forbidden to smoke cigarettes in all parks were children used to play especially close to a pregnant woman! thus you’ll get a ticket. Moreover, in a region in the North of Italy it’s also illegal for guys to gather if they are more than 3 people!!… for security!! I think that politicians are taking too much seriously this issue of security in Italy and sometimes they release strange, unusual and nonsense laws at all!!!

  12. dongsung says:

    I’m the one of the people who observes the law well without any complaints. I think modern law is made for every people who live in their own countries can have equal rights or fairness on certain circumstances. Before some law is made, there will have had lots of problems upon some matter. I’m not the only person living in this world. There are lot of people are living with each others. To live in harmony, laws should be existed.

  13. emiliano says:

    Nice topic indeed, I would like to write less but I can´t.
    40.000 new laws in a year to 50 states?
    Is there anybody who may know only 50 of the new laws?, but doing an easy division each state may have 8.000?
    And wich is the penalty?
    Money, money, money…….to the Government.
    A good way of taking dollars off your pockets, of course.
    Euros or wichever money a person has……..It´s always the same, money money…..

    “The not knowledge of the law doesn´t exing the punishment”…so another ticket for you.

    No, I don´t see the public benefit in doing so many laws every moment, what I see is the lure of taking your money off continously.
    Less laws and better education to the children and citizens, that´s the way I think.
    But the Administration has to survive, the judges, the lawyers, fiscals…and so on.

    Is there a nation in the world with so many lawyers that USA?, I think no.
    Over there if you haven´t a lawyer you may be lost in the jungle of Justice.

    Here in Spain we have a Gispy´s malefice that says: “Pleitos tengas y los ganes” (“Judgments you have and gain them”).

    The last experience with Justice and laws has been Laura´s, my daughter.
    She rented her flat along more than three years to a person that didn´t pay her anything for the last three years.
    She went to the Justicie, paid a lawyer, the judgment, everybody at the court……..for nothing.
    At the end she resqued her flat destroyed, without anything and she has to spend more that euros restoring and buying
    furniture for her flat.
    She has got nothing from justice, the man is free without paying anything and having all he wanted he left the flat at the end.
    Justice results……none.
    All this confirm my previous ideas about so many bad laws here in Spain. If you are not going to pay anything to the
    State, all is very slowly…..but if you get a ticket that is faster.

  14. Fazzito says:

    I’d like to invite all of you to read Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault. It’s a amazing book about laws and their use by the State.

  15. emiliano says:

    Fazzito, thank you very much.
    It seems a very interesting book that I´m looking for after reading some extract in Wiki.
    I know nothing about it and I think I have to read something more from M. Foucault.

    Thanks again.

  16. Bakhtyar basher says:

    That is good, it is the way that state of rules of law does work, keep going, your country is pionner since the end of world war two in the areas of democracy and rule of law and spreading them thoughout the world

  17. Bahadore says:

    I’m very sorry because of the wrong spelling of the word “vain” in my pervious response a few lines above.
    I wanted to say “Why lots of congressmen squander their time approving such VAIN laws?” but unfortunately I typed “vein” instead (which makes the sentence doesn’t mean anything in particular).

    Sorry again

  18. Lina says:

    Yea. In Singapore, we are not allowed to chew gums anywhere and we even cant’ bring those from other countries.
    ah.. Do you know a tropical fruit Druian? Durian has a bit disgusting smell for someone. So, we are not allowed to carry it on the subway. if we do, they will say ” FINE 500 dollars ” instead of saying Fine, thanks.

  19. Valery says:

    Hah! Funny laws. 🙂 It’s interesting- who creates them? I can’t remember our odd laws but we definitely have ones

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