With the dawn of every New Year comes a slew of new laws that go into effect, the state legislature having passed them the year prior. 2012 is no different as multiple laws in California will change personal liberties and the way we do business. For better or for worse, nonsensical or justified, every Californian will have to abide by these new laws unless an uproar churns up a voter initiative and succeeds during election season, or it is overturned with a constitutional appeal. The new laws include but are not limited to:

Ban against requiring employers to use E-verify
, an Internet-based system confirm employment eligibility. And employers can’t do credit checks or consider potential employees’ credit report upon hiring.

As much as this country, this state, even Ventura County are polarized on the subject of illegal immigration, assuming everyone is suspect and forcing employers to pry into another’s life and do social security verification is an invasion of privacy for everyone. To cripple anyone’s ability to find a job and work is unethical, be they here legally or otherwise.

Open-carry citizen handgun ban. Endorsed by law enforcement because officers can’t tell if the weapon is loaded or not, the law prohibits carrying a handgun in plain sight. Violators may be fined up to $1,000 and spend six months in jail. Second Amendment supporters swear to carry rifles and shotguns instead. California residents can still apply for a concealed weapon permit.

No matter where one stands on the subject of our Second Amendment right, there is no denying that stupid people can obtain and discharge guns, killing innocent people. Whether guns are concealed or exposed, our right to life shouldn’t be threatened by loose gun laws.

California gay bullying law (Seth’s Law).
School personnel must intervene if they witness gay bullying. Also, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Equality and Equal Access in Higher Education Law. Public higher education institutions must create and enforce campus policies protecting the LGBT community from harassment and appoint employee contact persons to address relative on-campus matters. And Domestic Partnership Equality Act.

To think that lawmakers had to create such laws is at best disappointing. Why we aren’t mature enough as a society identity in this day and age to accept differences in sexuality and gender identity is difficult to understand. The fight for civil rights rages on.

California gay history law. Gov. Brown signed legislation that mandates that school textbooks include LGBT accomplishments.

Though this will be a costly endeavor, continuing to ignore the achievements of the LGBT community will most likely only result in more problems, including bullying and wrongful treatment. Ignorance has already caused too much harm.

Reader Privacy Act. Government and third party “snoops” can no longer gather information on Internet users’ reading, book shopping or e-book habits without a legal court order.

Finally, some privacy on the internet. But such a law could trigger class action lawsuits, causing unknown expenses in taxpayer money.

People younger than 18 banned from ultraviolet tanning beds.

If people younger than 18 can’t purchase carcinogenic cigarettes, it seems reasonable they shouldn’t be able to purchase exposure to cancer-causing rays.

Ban on the sale of shark fins.

It is estimated that between 10 and 100 million sharks are slaughtered each year for their fins for shark fin soup. Due to the inhumane treatment of sharks, stripping them of their dorsal fins and throwing them back to the sea with no real chance of survival, retailers can no longer sell shark fins. Just because humans are on top of the food chain, it doesn’t justify barbaric treatment of lower species.

Minors banned from purchasing medicine containing dextromethorphan, including Robitussin cough syrup.

It’s unfortunate that medicine used to stave off sore throats and irritating coughs has morphed into a narcotic that gets children intoxicated. So, lawmakers chose the normal route and made it illegal for children to buy it.

The production and sale of caffeinated beer ban. The toxic combination of a depressant (beer) and a stimulant (caffeine) has hospitalized many young drinkers. While the new law won’t stop people from mixing alcohol and caffeine, consumers will be forced to be more aware of the contents of their drinks — versus buying a colorful can of a potentially hazardous beverage.

Regardless of whether one agrees with these laws, the unfortunate reason for such laws is to legislate common sense in our society. If we learn anything from these actions, it is that if we aren’t mindful of the damage we cause ourselves and/or others, there may be laws enacted that will force us to consider certain actions, lest we face jail time.