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Abortion, immigration changes among new 2012 laws

Girls seeking abortions in New Hampshire must first tell their parents or a judge, some employers in Alabama must verify new workers' U.S. residency, and California students will be the first in the country to receive mandatory lessons about the contributions of gays and lesbians under state laws set to take effect at the start of 2012.

Many laws reflect the nation's concerns over immigration, the cost of government and the best way to protect and benefit young people, including regulations on sports concussions.

Alabama, with the country's toughest immigration law, is enacting a key provision requiring all employers who do business with any government entity to use a federal system known as E-Verify to check that all new employees are in the country legally.

Georgia is phasing in a similar law requiring any business with 500 or more employees to use E-Verify to check the employment eligibility of new hires. A similar Tennessee law exempts employers with five or fewer workers.

A South Carolina law would allow officials to yank the operating licenses of businesses that don't check new hires' legal status through E-Verify.

California is also addressing illegal immigration, but with a bill that allows students who entered the country illegally to receive private financial aid at public colleges.

A California law will add gays and lesbians and people with disabilities to the list of social and ethnic groups whose contributions must be taught in history lessons in public schools. The law also bans teaching materials that reflect poorly on gays or particular religions.

In New Hampshire, a law requiring girls seeking abortions to tell their parents or a judge first was reinstated by conservative Republicans over a gubernatorial veto. The state enacted a similar law eight years ago, but it was never enforced.

Among federal laws, a measure Congress passed last week to extend Social Security tax cuts and federal unemployment benefit programs raises insurance fees on new mortgages and refinancings backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration by 0.1 percent beginning Jan. 1. That covers about 90 percent of them and effectively makes a borrower's monthly payment on a new $200,000 mortgage or refinancing about $17 a month more than it would have been if obtained before the new year.

Nevada's 3-month old ban on texting while driving will get tougher, with tickets replacing the warnings police have issued since Oct. 1. In Pennsylvania, police are preparing to enforce that state's ban on texting, scheduled to take effect by spring.

Abortion, immigration changes among new 2012 laws 12/28/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 11:22pm]
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