JUNEAU — This part of summer is a time for patriotism. It’s also the time new state laws go into effect across the nation.
Fiscal years begin July 1 on most financial calendars, and a slew of state government spending regulations kick in each year on that date. Policy laws also hit the books in a wave, though states often mark their independence by enacting such legislation on their own time.
Among the laws set to take effect this year around the U.S. are new abortion limits, gun laws and technology rules. And one state, Wyoming, will start setting up a lottery Monday, leaving only a handful of states without a jackpot drawing.
Alaska’s three-month legislative session was dominated this year by debate over rolling back the state’s oil taxes as a way to increase production. The bill, recently signed into law, is now the subject of a repeal effort. Other bills were less controversial, including those that take effect July 1.
So as you get ready for Fourth of July gatherings and family time, consider this roundup of what’s happening in Alaska:
Sex trafficking: SB22, from Gov. Sean Parnell, is an omnibus crime bill that deals with things like trafficking, conduct of probation officers and domestic violence. It eliminates statutes of limitations to prosecute child pornography, human trafficking and sex trafficking cases. It allows judges to require that the movements of individuals charged with or convicted of domestic violence be tracked using GPS or other technology. It also bars probation and parole officers from having sex with those on probation.
Agency audits: HB30, from House Speaker Mike Chenault, requires performance reviews of state agencies. The intent is to get a more in-depth look at the workings of state agencies than legislators can typically do during a 90-day session. Agencies are to be audited one at a time, beginning in 2014 with the Department of Correction, and audited every 10 years.
Mobile insurance: HB146, from Rep. Pete Higgins, allows drivers to provide their proof of motor vehicle insurance on electronic devices, like smartphones.
Provisions within several other bills, including state spending bills, also take effect July 1.