4 New Year's Bans: Plastic Bags, Light Bulbs, and More!

The new year provides a perfect
time to turn a new leaf… whether you like it or not. Before
diving headfirst into 2014, you may want to exhaust all your
desires to put groceries in plastic bags, talk on the phone while
driving, use a tanning bed, question a convicted felon, or buy
incandescent light bulbs. At all different levels of government,
these activities and products are about to banned.

4. Los Angeles Bans Free Plastic Bags

Los Angeles is about to become the nation’s biggest city to ban
free plastic groceries bags.
to the Los Angeles Times, any business
caught violating the law will “face a fine of $100 after the first
violation, $200 after the second and $500 after the third. Fines
would be imposed for each day the violation continues.”

The crusade against plastic grocery bags is not exactly popular.
A Reason-Rupe poll conducted earlier this year
that “60 percent oppose a ban on plastic bags in all
grocery stores and other retailers in the city or town where they

Likewise, although the initiative enjoys large support from
environmentalists for ostensibly cutting down on waste. The
sentiment is nice, but ReasonTV suggests
this is just “feel-good legislation,” because plastic bags actually
have a negligible on the environment.

3. The Illinois Twofer: Phone Calls While Driving,
Minors from Using Tanning Beds

It’s about to be a long winter for image-conscious Illinois
teens. As of Wednesday, no one under the age of 18 will be allowed
to use a tanning bed, even with parental consent. A local ABC
affiliate reveals
how detrimental this will be to many small businesses in the state.
Pushing tanning salons to the brink cannot help Illinois, which
already bears high
on businesses.

But that’s not all. Come New Year’s Day, talking on the phone
(unless it’s hands-free) while driving in will become a punishable
offense with a
$75 ticket
. Illinois joins a growing number of states with
similar prohibitions, despite murky evidence about their
effectiveness. Reason‘s Peter Suderman addresses
how laws banning cell phone use while driving have failed across
the board to reduce crashes. Likewise, former Reason
staffer Radley Balko highlights
research that indicates that bans “actually may prompt a slight
increase in road crashes.”

2. Rhode Island “Bans the Box”

Rhode Island will become the fourth state to “ban
the box
.” The law prohibits employers, whether public or
private, from inquiring about a potential employee’s criminal
background during the application process. They will have to wait
until interviewing an individual to ask. Law enforcement agencies
are exempt from the law,
to the Society for Human Resource Management.

This type of legislation is well-intentioned in its effort to
help reintegrate convicts into society, but it doesn’t address the
problem of harsh laws that imprison non-violent offenders. After
all, Department of Justice data
that an increasing proportion of the roughly 1.5 million
individuals in state and federal prisons are behind bars for
non-violent crimes. Instead, Rhode Island is following a trend of
creating an even more complex set of laws that infringe on the
rights of business owners.

1. The Feds Black Out Incandescent Light

Not unlike Canada or the
People’s Republic of China
, our own federal government is
phasing out incandescent light bulbs. The
Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007
already killed off
100-watt and 75-watt bulbs, but 2014 will mark the end of 60-watt
and 40-watt bulbs.

The majority of Americans are in for a rude awakening about
this. Computer World
that as many as 60 percent of consumers are unaware of
the ban. They will likely not realize its impact “until a few
months into the next year when those light bulbs are bought and not
The Sentinel.

The Heritage Foundation
of how serious of an impact this government overreach
will have. The feds not only used scare tactics to constrict
consumer choice and distort market forces, but have forced
“unnecessary job losses from traditional incandescent manufacturers
in the United States. After already closing factories in Kentucky
and Ohio, General Electric recently announced that it is closing
its major incandescent factory in Winchester, Virginia—a factory
that employed 200 people and the last major incandescent
manufacturing facility in the United States.”

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/30/4-new-years-bans-plastic-bags-tanning-be

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