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Legislative overhaul sweeps across U.S. states in 2024, addressing varied legal fronts

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Several U.S. states has been ushered in the new year with a spectrum of laws, encompassing issues from traffic stops to stringent regulations on firearms, and encompassing online activities.

Illinois Revises Traffic Stop Policies

As of this week, Illinois has instituted a significant alteration to its traffic stop protocols. Law enforcement officers are now barred from pulling over motorists based solely on items hanging from the rearview mirror, including air fresheners and, notably, fuzzy dice. The revision maintains restrictions on objects obstructing a driver’s view but explicitly prohibits stops or searches solely on suspicion of such violations.

Democratic state Sen. Christopher Belt, a sponsor of the bill, underscores the law’s intent to convey a resolute stance against racial profiling and discrimination.

Minnesota and Colorado Forge Ahead with Gun Regulations

Minnesota joins the cohort of states implementing extreme risk protection orders, empowering authorities to temporarily seize firearms from individuals posing an imminent threat. Simultaneously, Colorado enacts stringent measures against “ghost guns,” prohibiting the possession of firearms assembled at home or 3D-printed without serial numbers, effectively closing a loophole enabling owners to circumvent background checks.

Navigating the Legal Terrain of Online Activities

Several states are addressing concerns surrounding online activities. Connecticut introduces a law mandating online dating platforms to institute policies for handling harassment reports. North Carolina imposes requirements on pornographic websites to verify viewer age through commercially available databases, enabling parents to pursue legal action against companies allowing minors access to explicit content. Meanwhile, Illinois introduces legislation facilitating legal recourse for victims of deepfake pornography.

Gender Restrictions, Book Challenges, and LGBTQ+ Policies

A notable legislative landscape emerges concerning gender-affirming treatments for transgender minors. Idaho, Louisiana, and West Virginia implement stringent restrictions on access to puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgery for minors. West Virginia’s law, however, includes exceptions for treatment with parental consent and a diagnosis of severe gender dysphoria from two physicians. In contrast, Hawaii introduces a law altering gender-specific terms on marriage certificates.

Taxation and Wage Adjustments

Over 20 states are poised to implement increases in minimum wages in 2024, surpassing the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, and Washington are among the states implementing notable increases, marking an ongoing discourse on tax and wage policies dominating state legislative agendas.

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