As kindly reminded me today, 40,697 laws were gently and expertly crafted in 2009 by our fine American public servants in Congress and elsewhere. January 1st, 2010, which is today as I understand it, is when many of these squalling newborn legislations take effect. Now, those of you whom have been arrested or those of you whom have cleverly avoided incarceration know that ignorance of the law is NO DAMN GOOD EXCUSE. No one in the justice system gives a rat’s hemorrhoid if you didn’t know there was no turn on red, that you weren’t entirely sure if you could smoke at a day care center or not, or thought it was pretty likely that you could kick a guy because he made fun of you attending Comic Con. You gotta read up on your laws, people, all extra 40,697 of them, or risk being taken down in 2010 by THE MAN. I could make a sleazy double entendre with that last sentence, but I would never do anything like that. Anyway, let’s look at some of the new laws that CNN kindly selected for us to know about:

-- Sorry, Texan parents, you have to wait until your child is 16-and-a-half years old to bake melanoma into them now. That’s right, at halfway through your child’s 16th year of life you can then go with them and sign consent for him or her to use a tanning bed. Although it does just say “with an adult” so maybe the 16.5 year old’s creepy 30-year-old significant other could take said teen. And Texas, WHY 16.5? Is there some magic reason that halfway through that year cancer rays become OK? This is really gonna hurt the Texas kiddie pageant circuit. There’s really nothing that says, “WINNER!” more than a fake lineless tan on a 3-year-old.

-- California is now limiting the use of nasty trans-fat oils in restaurants, which is good. Now how about limiting the massive portion sizes and servers who spit in the salad? Just a thought.

-- North Carolinians can no longer smoke in their state’s bars and restaurants. And as the top producers of death-inducing tobacco in this country, to them I say, “HA HA!”

-- Nineteen states now prohibit text messaging while driving. All the other states apparently like their drivers with a hefty side serving of needless accidents and road rage. Your “LOL, no U!!!” can wait.

-- Louisiana, long known for its stellar record protecting the health and welfare of women and children, will no longer allow cigarette lighters that look like toys to be sold. Oh, thank god – all those poor, undereducated, underfed, underhoused kids can stop lighting themselves on fire now. Bless you, Louisiana – you are leaders of merit.

-- Oregon says that kids have to wear a seatbeat while riding on an ATV or car on public property. Private property? WHEEEE!

-- New Hampshire has finally put down its collective foot on human trafficking. New Englanders find it distasteful.

-- Hey, registered gang members in California! Get away from that school! If you were told to piss off and you come back around sooner than 72 hours you might get fined or go to jail a little. But for what you’d make in drug sales, it still might be worth the risk. Or just make it 72.5 hours.

-- New York says THE MAN can drug test any racing horses that are in competition on a New York track. I wish they had to do it while the horses are running, because that would be funny.

-- California does not want you to chop off a cow’s tail, unless a vet says you should. There go those pesky gang members again.

So, Americans, enjoy a fresh new year: pale, greaseless, with clear lungs and non-sore thumbs, non-charred, non-ejected, not being imported nor exported for your sexual favors nor hard labor, free from persistent gang members impeding your education, ‘roided-up racing equines, and tailless cows. Cheers!