January 1, 1996
Web posted at: 3:40 p.m EST (2040 GMT)
(CNN) -- New laws go into effect Monday that crack down on parents who don't keep up with their child support payments, sex offenders who want to become part of a community, and those people who love to interrupt you at dinner -- telemarketers.
Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota and Nevada are among 18 states that now have laws allowing courts to strip deadbeat parents of driver's and professional licenses when they don't pay child support. "It is a privilege to have a driver's license. It is a responsibility to pay your child support," Nevada Gov. Bob Miller said.
California is taking a tough new stance on convicted sex offenders, allowing courts to sentence them to up to two years in a mental hospital if the state Corrections Department believes they will strike again. "This legislation means our sickest and most dangerous criminals won't be released merely because liberal laws compel us to," Gov. Pete Wilson said in signing the two bills that created the new civil commitment law. Illinois has new laws on the books requiring sex offenders to register with local authorities when they move to the state. Illinois also requires the offenders to provide samples of blood for DNA testing and cataloging.
Telemarketers will operate under tighter rein as new Federal Trade Commission regulations take effect. The new FTC rules limit how and when telemarketers can solicit business. Telemarketers are not allowed to withdraw money from a customer's checking account without authorization that can be verified. Calls are limited to the hours between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Telemarketers aren't allowed to call back if asked not to. Callers must immediately say that they are selling a product. And they also must reveal the true cost of goods as well as the odds of winning a contest when it is part of the offer.
A state-by-state breakdown of some of the new laws that take effect Monday:
Voter registration -- Makes it easier to keep up-to-date lists of voters. County registrars will be required to mail notices to all registered voters. If the notice is not returned within 90 days, the voter will be put on an inactive list. If he or she fails to vote in one of the next two federal elections, the voter's name is removed from the rolls.
Sex offenders -- Allows the state Corrections Department to seek to commit sex offenders who it believes may strike again. The offenders could be committed for up to two years in a mental hospital after facing a civil jury trial.
Domestic violence -- Eliminates an option that would have allowed those charged with misdemeanor domestic violence to choose a batterer's counseling program to avoid a jail sentence. Under another law, police would have to take a course on domestic violence every two years. And another law would prevent health insurance plans from canceling or denying coverage to victims of domestic violence.
Pepper spray -- Allows sale and purchase of pepper spray, used for self-defense, without a training course or license.
Loitering -- Makes it a misdemeanor to loiter in a public place and act like a prostitute or drug dealer.
False reports -- Makes it a misdemeanor to knowingly file a false report of police misconduct.
Income tax -- Eliminates the 10 percent and 11 percent tax brackets, occupied by those making over $100,000 per year.
Alternative minimum tax -- Reduces the maximum rate for the alternative minimum tax from 8.5 percent to 7 percent. The alternative minimum tax is paid by high-income taxpayers in lieu of the regular income tax schedule.
Spelling -- Requires spelling to be taught in grades 1 through 8.
"Zero-tolerance" policies -- Sets a "zero-tolerance" policy requiring expulsion of students who bring guns or knives to school or sell drugs on school grounds.
Community college fees -- Reduces from $50 per credit hour to $13 per credit hour the fees for students of community colleges who already have degrees.
Teachers -- Allows teachers to be fired for "unsatisfactory performance" rather than the tougher standard of incompetence.
Gender pricing -- Prohibits businesses, such as hair salons and dry cleaners, from charging a different price for women than men for similar services.
Fluoridation -- Requires the state this year to adopt regulations requiring fluoridation of drinking water in systems with at least 10,000 customers by 1997.
Rent control -- Begins a three-year phaseout of rent control on voluntarily vacated apartments in five cities, on single-family homes in seven cities and on new construction in three cities.
Speed limit -- Raises the speed limit to 70 mph on 1,400 miles of rural freeways. The actual change won't take effect until new signs are erected, probably in a week to 10 days.
Traffic monitoring -- Lets police set up sensor-operated cameras at traffic signals to photograph drivers and license plates of cars that fail to stop. The car's registered owner will then get a ticket in the mail.
Child support -- Allows the courts the right to strip away licenses from parents who are flagrantly behind in their child support. Mothers and fathers who are more than 90 days behind in their payments, and have no good reason for it, will be at risk of having their driver's licenses as well as professional and occupational licenses taken away.
Welfare -- Limits AFDC benefits to employable parents to 21 months -- the shortest time limit in the country. The state also will cut in half the extra amount provided for each child conceived after a mother goes on public assistance. Instead of receiving an extra $100 a month, the parent will receive an extra $50 a month for each additional child.
Home sales -- Property owners who put their single- to four- family home on the market after Jan. 1 must submit a form that discloses any known defects.
Taxes -- The corporate tax rate drops to 10.75 percent, from 11.25 percent. The dip is part of a plan to gradually bring the rate to 7.5 percent by 2000.
Phone service deregulation -- Cable TV companies and long-distance carriers, among others, can offer local telephone service.
Sex offenders -- All sex offenders, including those moving in from other states, must register with local authorities for 10 years after conviction. Also, sex offenders who move into the state must provide samples of their bodily fluids, from which DNA can be identified.
Traffic -- Motorists or pedestrians ticketed for violating a railroad crossing device face a mandatory $500 fine or 50 hours of community service. The old law had no mandatory fine and the maximum $500 penalty was rarely enforced. The measure was approved last spring before the deadly school bus-train collision in Fox River Grove. Also, motorists face mandatory fines, including a $150 penalty for a first offense, for failing to stop for a school bus stop arm. First offenders also will now lose driving privileges for three months, instead of 30 days. And the fine for parking in a space reserved for handicapped people is doubled to $100.
Child support -- Courts can suspend the professional, driving and hunting licenses of parents who fall more than 90 days behind in child support.
Term limits -- Members of the Louisiana House and Senate are now limited to three consecutive terms.
Officials' pay -- Most statewide elected officials will be paid $75,000 a year. The governor will get a pay raise from about $73,000 to $95,000.
Rent control -- Buildings with three or fewer units become fully decontrolled in Boston, Brookline and Cambridge. This also applies to owner-occupied buildings with between four and 12 units, and rented condominiums.
Child support -- Parents who are at least three months behind on support payments could have their driver's licenses suspended if they fail to work out a payment plan with a court or county within 90 days. A second provision will allow liens to be placed on vehicles valued at more than $4,500 owned by people owing child support payments. A third provision requires employers to report new hires to the state in order to track those who drift from job to job to avoid having their wages garnished for child support.
Teacher background checks -- Everyone who applies for a job as a teacher or other employee with a public or private school will undergo a background check for criminal records, at their own expense.
Sexual assault -- Part of the 1995 Crime Bill redefines "without consent" in the portions of criminal law dealing with sexual assault. Under the new law, "the victim need only resist, either verbally or physically, so as to make the victim's refusal to consent genuine and real."
Genetic testing -- Outlaws genetic testing for employment or health insurance purposes.
Child Support -- Parents who haven't made a payment in 60 days or are behind by more than $1,000 will have their driver's licenses suspended.
Home sales -- Requires home sellers to fill out a form disclosing all known defects in electrical, heating, cooling, plumbing and sewer systems at least 10 days before the closing of the sale.
Helmet laws -- Requires all children under 14 to wear safety helmets while using in-line skates.
Sports memorabilia -- Sellers will have to provide customers with a written notice of an item's authenticity at the time of sale.
Telephone sales -- Consumers will be allowed to cancel a telephone sale within three days for many items in an attempt by the state to crack down on high-pressure hucksters.
Auto insurance -- Auto insurance companies will be required to offer a discount to drivers who have cars equipped with daytime lights.
Jury duty -- More than a million more people will be eligible for jury duty under a law that removes jury exemptions for doctors, lawyers, judges, journalists, nurses, embalmers, police officers, firefighters and clergy. Even the governor would have to do his duty under the new law.
Domestic violence -- Police would be required to arrest batterers who commit felonies in domestic violence incidents, and those who violate orders of protection that prohibit contact with a victim. Law enforcement also would have to arrest batterers who commit misdemeanors, unless the victim tells police otherwise.
Concealed weapons -- People 23 years or older will be able to carry a concealed weapon after completing an eight-hour training course.
Concealed weapons -- People will be allowed to carry a concealed weapon after taking a 15-hour gun-handling course and passing background checks to show if they have a criminal past or a history of mental illness.
Juvenile crime -- 17-year-olds accused of a crime will automatically be tried in adult court.
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