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New laws take effect today

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Hundreds of new laws take effect Friday, Aug. 1. Below are just some of those changes:

  • Driving laws: Drivers who use hand-held cell phones in school zones will face fines, if the school district has posted a sign saying such use is prohibited. Single-axle, two-wheeled trailers and boat trailers no longer require state inspections. Vehicle inspection stations can conduct their inspections in the rain.
  • Cigarettes — Flicking a cigarette butt out of your car window can get you slapped with a hefty fine and community service. A first offense carries a $300 fine and eight hours of community service in a litter cleanup program.
  • Digital Privacy — Employers, public schools and colleges in Louisiana are prohibited from demanding access to personal email, social media and other types of online accounts.
  • Tanning — Anyone under 18 in Louisiana is prohibited from using tanning beds.
  • Cockfighting: Louisiana’s ban on cockfighting now mirrors laws that prohibit dogfighting in the state. The measure increased penalties for cockfighting convictions and criminalized the possession, manufacturing and selling of paraphernalia used to fight chickens.
  • Teacher gifts — Public schoolteachers can accept small gifts from their students, no more than $25 at a time, capped at $75 per year from one person.