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AMERICAN MORNING

New State Laws Take Effect Today

Aired January 1, 2004 - 08:26   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: The new year brings with it a host of new state laws that take effect today.
Elaine Quijano takes a look at some of these laws and what they could mean for you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the days of auld langsyne, drivers in the Sunshine State, including the elderly, could renew their licenses by mail without taking a vision or road test.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of these people just don't know how to drive and it's just causing accident after accident.

QUIJANO: But a new Florida law requires drivers over age 80 to pass an eye test before renewing their licenses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a good idea. A good idea. Because there's too many drivers that, you know, probably can't see the red lights, etc.

QUIJANO: In Illinois, being a left lane lurker could get you in trouble. Drive more than half a mile on the left lane on the interstate without a good reason for being there, like passing a slower car, and you could get a $79 fine. And while in car TVs are getting more common, don't try watching and driving in California. The state legislature has banned screens that are visible to the driver when the car is in motion unless it's part of an approved system, like a map device.

In Louisiana, you might not get to play as much if you fail to pay the state's income tax. Officials there can now suspend your hunting, fishing and driver's licenses if you try to duck your taxes. And apparently keeping tabs on tattoos and piercings may be passe. Illinois law makers have turned their attention to the latest style trend, tongue splitting. The idea is to get a tongue that looks like this. But now to achieve that serpentine split, you'll need to slither over to a doctor's office or a dentist's chair instead of your neighborhood tattoo parlor.

Elaine Quijano, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: In a word, yuck. Here are a few more for you. In Delaware, a new law cracks down on false fire alarms. Anyone who's testing an alarm system must first notify their fire department. And a scheme in Tennessee involving the selling of used mattresses as factory rejects or closeout models led to a new mattress labeling law.

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