KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:
It is, of course, a new year, and that means a bunch of new state laws. You might have heard about some of the headliners like recreational marijuana here in California and minimum wage hikes in several states. There are some that might have fallen through the cracks. Luckily, NPR's Colin Dwyer has been spending his new year looking into them for us. Hey, Colin.
COLIN DWYER, BYLINE: Hello.
MCEVERS: So what are the ones we might have missed?
DWYER: Well, you mentioned minimum wage increases, but that's not the only workplace change afoot. In fact, maybe the most notable has to do with mandated paid leave. Washington state is now requiring all employers to provide paid sick leave. That makes it one of just a handful of states plus Washington D.C. to mandate paid sick leave. And Rhode Island will join that list too in just a couple months. Meanwhile, New York is instituting a paid family leave mandate of its own. But also, there are a number of hot-button issues nationally that are being treated in states, including some stricter voter ID laws in Iowa and West Virginia. And meanwhile, in Tennessee, they are requiring colleges to offer broad First Amendment rights for speakers on campus. And that follows a number of months of speaking engagements resulting in protests and sometimes violence.
MCEVERS: Of course, not every state law has so much appeal. Have you found any strange ones in your research?
DWYER: So there is some bad news for exotic pet owners in South Carolina, unfortunately. Normal residents there can no longer acquire new exotic pets. So that means no apes, no lions, no tigers anymore. But that said, the 25 estimated exotic pet owners who currently reside in the state will be grandfathered into the new rules under certain new conditions. Also, in Illinois, Barack Obama is getting his own holiday. That is August 4. The former Illinois senator is getting a state holiday on his birthday. Now, unfortunately, you will not be getting any work or school off for that holiday. You will just be able to observe in his honor.
MCEVERS: Nice. And just give us one more that you might have found interesting.
DWYER: Yeah. So this one might be my favorite. This one brings us back to Tennessee, where, happily, barbers can now make house calls.
MCEVERS: Oh, phew (ph).
DWYER: Yes, exactly. Before, they were only able to do so if the client happened to be sick. But it turns out now that as long as you have your residential barber certificate, you can do business in private homes as a barber.
MCEVERS: NPR's Colin Dwyer. Thank you very much.
DWYER: Of course.
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