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Dec 30, 2009 11:50 AM by Associated Press

New laws take effect in La

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Nearly two dozen new state statutes take effect with the start of the new year. Some are arcane or technical changes to existing laws while others are more sweeping. The new statutes will:

-Increase the minimum auto insurance liability coverage required for drivers, boosting boost costs for motorists who carry only the minimum.

-Impose a 2 percent fee on packages of prepaid cell phone minutes, with revenue to go to statewide provements to 911 systems.

-Prohibit the sale of novelty cigarette lighters, with exceptions for lighters manufactured before 1980, those considered collectibles and devices designed to ignite grills or fireplaces. Violators could be fined up to $250.

-Create a public safety campaign to warn Louisianians about alleged risks of consuming Chinese seafood, even if it is deemed safe by the state's seafood inspection program.

-Require school boards to ensure that children in foster care can remain enrolled in the same public schools in which they were enrolled when entering foster care, if that is determined to be in the children's best interest.

-Require the Department of Social Services to conduct background checks of potential employees who will investigate child abuse or neglect, supervise children or perform licensing surveys of child care facilities.

-Transfer the responsibility for regulating ground water resource management, water wells and water well drillers from the Department of Transportation and Development to the Department of Natural Resources.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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