Every year, new laws go into effect around the United States. How long does it take for a law to be made? That depends on a few things. Is the law clear? Will there be any opposition? Will it take time to convince people that the law is important? But when a law does go into effect, make no mistake, there can be real consequences for those who break it. Let’s take a look at five new laws that will be implemented in 2021.
1. Prisoners Can Help Too!
The year of 2020 will not only be remembered for a life-changing pandemic but, in California at least, it will also be remembered for record wildfires. And when wildfires get out of control, the state relies on different types of people to help out. For example, firefighters from other states sometimes come in to help. And California also looks toward prisoners to help with firefighting. In fact, prisoners form about a fifth of the state’s wildfire firefighting teams, and they work tirelessly to protect people and properties from damage.
But what happens when the fires go away? Firefighters still need new crew members to join their teams. Until now, prisoners couldn’t apply for jobs to be a firefighter once released from prison. This meant that even if a prisoner had been through training and fought fires, this wasn’t a job they could apply for when released from prison. But there’s a new bill (AB 2147) that fixes that—since January 1st, 2021, prisoners could apply to remove their criminal record if they’d previously helped to fight fires. Now, prisoners can apply for jobs they’ve trained and literally fought for.
2. Not All Sunscreens Are The Same!
Apply sunscreen, check! If you religiously apply sunscreen before hitting the beach, good for you. But now, you might want to check that sunscreen before you use it on your body. Hawaii has banned the sale of sunscreens that contain two harmful chemicals that are known to cause harm to sea life. These chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, are known to be particularly harmful to coral reefs. The state has issued another measure to help protect sea life—food vendors must provide utensils made of bioplastic, paper, or other renewable materials.
3. Obey Traffic Laws, Robots!
Do robots deliver packages? Yes, but that’s so 2020! Well, not everywhere, but it’s certainly been the talk of many cities that are testing robot delivery systems. But should robots follow the rules of the road too? After all, we obey the rules when we cross streets or come to a stop sign when driving, right? Well, in North Carolina, a new bill (Senate 739) specifies that robots need to obey traffic rules too. Not only that, but they can’t go beyond ten miles per hour on sidewalks and must be controlled by a human with access to a remote control of the robot.
4. No More Dog Racing
Greyhound racing—a sport where dogs are raced for gambling—has ended in the state of Florida. The sport was a big deal in Florida, with some of the biggest dog racing events happening in local stadiums. But due to growing concerns for the welfare of animals in captivity, voters chose to outlaw the sport two years ago, and the new law takes effect on January 1st.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us: What new laws would you like to see in 2021? Why?