Editorial: Good laws, and unusual in new year

Jan. 04, 2013 @ 07:06 PM

North Carolina has hit the list of unusual new laws taking effect with the new calendar year.

In case you missed it, the latest hot commodity is used cooking grease. No, we haven’t slipped up and pulled a fast one on you.

In Gaston County, Rep. John Torbett learned restaurants’ cooking oil was becoming a popular item to steal for payment through recycling. So rather than becoming garbage, outdoor storage areas are targeted by criminals.

It’s a misdemeanor for stealing used cooking oil, a felony if the grease and its container are worth more than $1,000.
Plenty of other laws, with good intentions as well, also hit the books.

We’re pleased that a new day care law will bring better checks on employees, but disappointed in the recurrence time.

The criminal record check has been expanded, clarifying that all child care providers must have a record check prior to employment. It also requires a check every three years after, an effort to catch offenses that may have occurred.

The new law also prohibits anyone with convictions for child neglect or abuse, sex offense or attempts to commit a sexual offense.

We hope employers do better than the required criminal record check after three years with a new employee.

North Carolina is also among states implementing immigration laws.

Employers in our state with 100 or more workers must use E-Verify to ensure employees are legal U.S. residents. The employers in the state with 25 to 99 employees have to begin compliance on July 1.

Among the head-turners we found beyond our borders:

• In Illinois, popping a wheelie on a motorcycle while speeding is against the law. But motorcyclists at Illinois stop lights, in cities with fewer than 2 million population, can also wait a “reasonable” time and then proceed through red lights.

• Illinois, with no ocean borders by the way, is also cracking down on the possession, selling or distribution of shark fins.

• Wellington, Kan., restricts the number of cats in a household to four.

• Concord, Mass., has outlawed plastic bottles.

• Florida now allows flashing headlights to warn oncoming drivers of law enforcement speed traps.

• And California will allow you to show proof of insurance on a smart phone.