New Laws For The New Year

(AP) — Ringing in the new year also means some new state laws take effect, including an energy reform measure in Connecticut and an airline passenger bill-of-rights in New York.

A law that went into effect at midnight in New Hampshire makes it the fourth state to legalize civil unions between gays and lesbians.

The Connecticut energy reform measure expands the sales tax exemption for fuel-efficient vehicles. The law also seeks to kick-start the biodiesel industry and places new requirements on electric utilities.

New York’s airline passenger bill-of-rights, the first in the nation, was passed following a series of delays last winter at JFK airport. The delays left some passengers stranded on the tarmac for more than 10 hours with no food or water, overflowing toilets and no air conditioning.

New York is also setting standards to better track unscrupulous individuals who move from company to company in the mortgage industry, leaving borrowers with unaffordable loans.

A new law in Iowa allows voter registration on election day, dropping the old requirement to register ten days in advance.