31 States Ring In New Laws for New Year

From minimum wage hikes to approval for kangaroo-hide shoes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2008 3:15 AM CST
Kate Hanni, founder of the Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights, center, instructs participants inside a mock-up to simulated the airplane cabin experience during a demonstration located...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Anyone planning to import shoes made of kangaroo hide into California can legally begin this year—but they'd better not try to sell any foreign-made US flags in Minnesota. Both states are among 31 that launched a host of new laws beginning New Year's Day, some of them rather unusual, USA Today reports.

But most addressed key concerns and established controls on technology, illegal immigration and mortgages. Some states instituted smoking bans, while others tightened laws protecting the environment, like mandating the use of energy-efficient light bulbs. Fourteen states hiked their minimum wages, and New Hampshire approved same-sex civil unions. New York established a "bill of rights" for airline passengers, which could become a model for new laws across the nation.