Only a few more days until the calendar rolls over to 2013, and with Jan. 1 will come a variety of new laws and regulations affecting businesses in your region. Even if you or your statehouse counterparts have covered them piecemeal throughout the year, you might want to compile a year-end round up so consumers know what to expect in the coming months. Here’s an example from Chicago’s WGN a year ago; it tells readers and viewers which of some 200 new laws were likely to affect them the most come 2012.
You can focus on a specific beat, as in this example from OCRegister.com; the writer has compiled a list of new regulations affecting real estate, including a law that requires landlords to tell prospective tenants if they’ve received a mortgage default notice. And here’s an interesting law firm press release that identifies workplace-related laws that kick in come January, including those that affect breastfeeding, religious garb, people who work on commission and how employers may or may not inquire into workers’ social media use off and on the job. And here’s an interesting new rule that allows California wineries to offer sweepstakes to state residents, which previously had been prohibited.
The Bangor Daily News reports that a new same-sex marriage law is likely to “bring an economic windfall in Maine,” while a new cottage food law in Georgia allows home preparation of some food products for retail sale. (Note, not all new laws take effect Jan. 1; some were passed and implemented in 2012, but there’s no harm in a recap letting your audience know generally of how the legal landscape will be different going forward.)
I wasn’t able to find any sites that comprehensively list new laws on state and local books; but you can start at your state legislature’s website; I sampled a few they vary in the ability to sort out bills that actually have been passed and signed into law. You can check with the legislative research service in your state, perhaps a staffer there can show you a shortcut or run a list of newly effective laws for you.
Another route is to try trade groups, professional associations and the journals and publications for the industries you cover; they likely have a legislative or lobbying arm that keeps tight tabs on any lawmaking affecting their sector or industry.
You also might want to look up your state’s tax expenditure list for 2013; these expenditures, also known as loopholes or tax breaks, benefit specific industries or entities and might be worth a closer look in light of revenue issues at all state and local levels. For example, this report from Arizona notes that in the category of luxury taxes alone, the state would realize some $400 million more in revenue but for preferential tax treatment of some liquor and tobacco items. Sometimes you’ll find credits that benefit a narrow niche; I once found a hefty one that was given to a for-profit Michigan auto-racing track.