New Year’s Resolutions, State Laws, and Your Characters

There are approximately 40,000 NEW state and local laws in the U.S. which went into effect on January 1.

A couple of thousand years ago Pharisees in the Middle East were keepers of the Jewish law, including the approximately 400 laws for what it meant to work on a Saturday. For instance, if a tailor left his house on a Saturday with a straight pin left on his lapel, it was considered work because he was advertising his business.

I’ve started some, but not all, of my New Year’s Resolutions. I made them in hopes of making me a better person and/or to accomplish certain big things. I’ll know in twelve months if I’ve broken any of the nine. But realizing how many new state and local laws are in effect starting in 2014, I don’t want to leave my house for fear of breaking one — “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” — let alone cross a state line. And what about NJ becoming the 8th state for it to be illegal for potential employees to do a criminal background check on people applying for positions? I understand giving people a break and honoring their rehabilitation, but does this law allow pedophiles to work in day cares or elementary schools? Who knows?

I’m shivering in my house, and it’s not just the -30 wind chill factor going on outside.

I wonder what my characters would make of these new laws. Perhaps I’ll write a few scenes this wintery day, scenes which will never make it into any book. I’ll pick a character or three and put them in a situation where they discover they’ve broken a law they were unaware of. What would be their reaction? Consequences? My New Year’s Challenge to you is to do the same. Post here in comments, if you dare.


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