Challenge Accepted! New Year, New Laws

January 25, 2018

Hey Kids! This is a brand new section of Xyza called, “Challenge Accepted!” What’s this section all about? We’re sharing some pretty interesting news about the world and we thought it’d be fun for you to challenge your parents on their knowledge of world news.

This week’s challenge? Read the article below about some of the new laws that took effect January 1st—there are some pretty quirky ones—and then ask your parents what new laws they know about. We’re willing to bet that after reading this article, you’ll know more than your parents! Don’t believe us? Accept this challenge and see for yourself!

New Year, New Laws

The ball dropped in New York City’s Times Square, and firework displays around the world marked the beginning of a brand new year. While celebrations continued into the wee morning hours and people marked the new year with brand new resolutions, countries around the world marked the new year with new laws. Yep, on January 1st, many new laws went into effect around the world. From serious to entertaining—uh, we mean interesting—here are just a few that caught our attention:

Protecting Animals:

Oh! Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! That’s what Dorothy said in “The Wizard of Oz,” but you won’t be hearing that from South Carolinians, unless they’re visiting a zoo, that is. As of January 1st, South Carolinians can no longer buy exotic animals and keep them as pets, but those twenty-five estimated owners of exotic pets can keep them—they just can’t get Mr. Fluffy, the Siberian tiger, a friend.


We all know that sugar’s bad for you, but can it be bad for your wallet too? It sure can! Residents of Seattle, Washington, must now pay a “sweetened beverage tax”—that’s an extra $.0175 per ounce of a sugary drink. Want a can of soda? It’ll cost you an extra $0.21 per average twelve ounce-sized can. Bad for your health and bad for your wallet? Now that’s what we call a painful double whammy!

Public Schools:

Washington Union High School, 38442 Fremont Blvd, Fremont, CA

Public schools in California will have to follow several new laws, including one that requires no child goes hungry because their parents forgot to pay for their lunch.
California and Illinois public schools with sixth through twelfth grades must provide feminine hygiene products in girls’ bathrooms for free.

A Presidential Day:

President Barack Obama is photographed during a presidential portrait sitting for an official photo in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

It’s official: Illinois is making August 4th—that’s former President Barack Obama’s birthday—Barack Obama Day. But don’t get too excited about getting a day off from school or work because Barack Obama Day will only be a commemorative holiday, not an official state holiday.

You’ve Scored:

In Florida, teachers are scoring large bonuses if, along with strong evaluations, their SAT or ACT scores (college entrance exam scores) were high. It’s a controversial law, but it’s being enforced nonetheless. So, what are teachers doing who didn’t take an SAT or ACT exam? They’re taking them now so they can qualify for the bonuses.

Take It Down or Else:

In Germany, Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, or the Network Enforcement Act, requires that companies (yes, we’re talking about you too, Google and Facebook), take down known illegal posts or be fined up to fifty million Euros. Don’t mess with Germany when it comes to fake news!

Even Steven:

Think you can get away with paying a man more than a woman in Iceland? Think again. Iceland isn’t kidding around. It’s taking a serious step towards making sure that companies pay men and women equally. How? They’re making it illegal for any company who employs twenty-five or more people to pay men and women different salaries for performing the same job. Iceland might be small, but it’s making a gigantic difference, and countries around the world are taking notice.

Did You Study for Your Drone Safety Test:

Drones have become a huge deal—so huge, in fact, that we at Xyza have covered stories about drones here and here! It might seem like a harmless toy, but these little flying objects can be dangerous. That’s why the United Kingdom is cracking down on drone usage. How? Well, drone owners will now be required to take a safety test. Better hit the books if you want to fly a drone!

Slow Down:

In Ukraine, people are now driving slower. Speed limits have been decreased from 60 kilometers per hour to 50 kilometers per hour—about 37 miles per hour to 31 miles per hour—in certain areas.

Everyone’s Responsible for Public Libraries:

via @MVRDV

A public library law in China that took effect on January 1st is the first of its kind. From whose job it is to take care of the library (the citizens of China and its leaders!) to what the library should provide—we’re talking about a reading area just for kids—this new law pretty much covers it all when it comes to libraries.

No More Beads:

The United Kingdom is saying no to microbeads—small plastic beads that are sometimes added to face wash, body wash, and other skin care products. Why? Microbeads are washing into waterways and harming marine life that swallow these tiny particles. The ban of these beads means that cosmetics with rinse-off glitter have also been banned. Not to worry though—craft glitter is still okay, so craft away!