July 1, the half way mark of the year, is a common date for new laws to take effect. This year, in particular, there are several interesting new laws that are now in operation.

The following laws have taken effect as of July 1, 2012:

  • Virginia It is illegal for roadside signs to change electronic messages more often than every eight seconds. This one seems common-sensical. If you've ever seen an electronic billboard, you know it can be distracting to attempt to see what new message flashes across the screen. This seems like a straightforward traffic safety issue.
  • Idaho New law says state can issue warrants through fax. With this law, I am guessing that warrants through a pdf email are likely to follow. Courts are looking for new ways to implement secure electronic records that are safe, reliable, cost effective, and most importantly fast. Imagine, rather than having to mail an email to various locations, the government can now merely fax it to all relevant locations. The ability to put the word out regarding wanted criminals as soon as possible probably increases the likelihood that they will be found more quickly.
  • Florida It is now illegal to film someone without their knowledge in a residential dwelling. This law makes perfect sense. Whether you are in someone else's home, or they are a guest in yours, there is usually not a commercial understanding that there is the potential of being filmed. It is also in accordance of the prohibition against intrusion into a person's seclusion--making someone's private life public without their consent. I'm guessing unauthorized sex tapes and YouTube exploits are at the heart of this law.
  • Illinois Cab drivers can now charge a $50 cleaning fee for people who vomit in their cab. I'm guessing this has a lot more to do with those utilizing taxis as designated drivers than people who need a ride to the hospital to treat a stomach bug.