A host of new laws—from making it a crime to sell a live animal on any street or in any parking lot, to honoring law enforcement officials killed in the line of duty with a special medal—become effective Jan. 1, 2012.
In 2011, all 50 states and territories met in regular session and enacted close to 40,000 new laws on issues across the board. Laws do not always become effective on Jan. 1, however. State constitutions or statutes usually establish when they go into effect, or sometimes, an effective date is written into the specific piece of legislation.
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