New laws take effect across US in New Year

New laws take effect across US in New Year

[JURIST] New laws slated to take effect January 1 with the start of the New Year came into force in many jurisdictions across the United States Saturday, affecting areas from health insurance to gay rights. In Maine, the state-supported universal health care program began coverage for small businesses and the self-employed. In New York state, wild animals can no longer be kept as pets. In Indiana, all restaurants, day-care programs and schools are now required to have at least one food handler certified in food safety. In Montana, income tax rates have been cut by an average of 7 percent. In Florida, judges can order outpatient treatment for people with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or manic depression. In Georgia, removing or destroying an electronic monitoring bracelet is now a felony carrying a five-year prison term. And in California, a law passed in 2003 and taking effect today gives gay and lesbians registered in domestic partnerships an array of parental and community property rights. AP has more.