published Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

New laws on illegal aliens, golf carts, fire breathers

A new year brings a host of new laws that take effect around the country. Some make sense. Some are counterproductive. And some are just plain odd.

Here are a few of the more important -- or at least the more interesting -- ones:

* Tennessee's necessary and appropriate law requiring legitimate photo ID when residents of our state vote will take effect -- unless there is some belated meddling by an activist court. A similar law takes effect up in little Rhode Island.

* Georgia will reasonably begin requiring agencies that administer certain taxpayer-funded benefits to get evidence that applicants for those benefits are in the United States legally.

* In cities in Georgia where golf carts are permitted on roads, the carts will have to have a horn, brakes and reverse-warning devices.

* Motorcyclists in Illinois will be permitted to proceed through red lights after stopping at intersections if the lights do not change after a reasonable period of time. (We wonder how different motorcycle riders will interpret the word "reasonable.")

* Lawmakers in Utah have banned happy hour by making daily specials on alcoholic beverages illegal.

* And performers in Nevada who breathe fire as part of their routines must now apply for a certificate of registration from the state fire marshal.

Some of the laws that were enacted last year and that are now going into effect across the United States are models of common sense. But looking at some of the others, we can only guess what legislators may come up with for next year.

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Why do you have to guess? Why can't you learn what's happening?

And you must not be familiar with the common law system, since reasonableness of conduct is a major part of it. I have my doubts that you even understand the conditions that lead to that particular law.

January 4, 2012 at 1:16 a.m.
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