The hangover this New Year's Day might be a bit less painful for parents whose teens itch for the car keys, for seniors who struggle with prescription drug bills, and for many people and businesses trying to pay taxes.
New state laws should ease some worries as 2001 arrives tomorrow. They tackle issues from sweeping social policy to day-old bread (which can now be donated to charities in Illinois without fear of civil liabilities).
There are tougher realities, too: a ban on certain flavored cigarettes in Illinois; the possibility of a year in jail for hunters in Minnesota who claim they're disabled to get better permits; a pornography czar in Utah (though no one has yet been appointed).
States took steps on some of the thorniest issues facing the nation.
Illinois, New York and Vermont now give seniors better drug coverage. Maine, the state that passed the most sweeping prescription drug assistance, was to have its law take effect tomorrow -- except it is tied up in an industry lawsuit.
Missouri and Idaho will require teen drivers to study a bit longer before they can drive without adult supervision. And car insurance for all drivers will now be mandatory in Mississippi and Alabama. The only states that don't require auto insurance are Wisconsin and Tennessee.
New York cab drivers who saw a jump in killings this year will get more help from the government, through a new safety training program.
Family life didn't go unnoticed, either: In Tennessee and Minnesota, divorcing parents can join a program to plan out how they will raise their children, in an effort to reduce acrimony and confrontation. …