Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Laws for the New Year

Happy New Year! The beginning of a new year usually brings some new laws, as previously enacted legislation often takes effect on January 1, unless otherwise specified in the act itself or in the jurisdiction's laws on effective dates. Some of the highest-profile state law changes around the country include California's legalization of recreational marijuana sales and New York's sweeping family leave plan for businesses. Additional highlights of state law changes can be found on CNN and NPR.

In North Carolina, the legislature provides a PDF of 2017 legislation, sorted by effective date, with links to the enacted laws. Twenty state session laws enacted in 2017 took effect as of January 1. Most notably, the North Carolina driver's education curriculum has been revised to include instruction on handling vehicle stops by law enforcement. The full text of this new law can be found on the legislature website at S.L. 2017-95.

Another law change which has caused confusion is the REAL ID, minimum federal security standards for identification documents enacted by Congress in 2005. Most states, including North Carolina, have already begun to issue REAL ID-compliant drivers licenses, which require additional documentary proof of identity. As seen in airports around the country during the busy holiday travel season, January 22, 2018 marks the end of a planned "grace period" for federal agencies to accept identification documents from states which are not yet compliant with federal standards. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it was granting an additional extension to nine non-compliant states until October 2018. As noted in the TSA's fact sheet, this means that passengers may continue to use their current state-issued ID for domestic air travel; by October 1, 2020, all travelers must use a REAL ID-compliant form of identification.

For help with locating recently-effective legislation, be sure to Ask a Librarian.