The New Year will mean some new statewide laws. The laws were passed over the last year in the State Legislature. They tighten restrictions on everything from recycling to smoking. Reduce, re-use and recycle. Words local bars and restaurants will live by in 2008. Come the new year, all establishments with on-premises alcohol permits will have to sort and send all of their bottles to the recycling center. That's because North Carolina lawmakers passed a bill that will require more than 400 establishments in New Hanover County alone to recycle all wine, beer and liquor bottles. Bars applying for alcohol permits are now required to also submit a recycling plan. "We can crush these bottles and turn them right back into beer bottles and have alcohol in them again within 30 days," bar owner Chuck Dorman said. Another law effective January first -- smoking will be banned in all state-run psychiatric hospitals. This is part of a bill co-sponsored by local representative Carolyn Justice that banned smoking in elder-care facilities in October. Also beginning January first, local law enforcement will have access to a database that gives them information about a detainee's citizenship status. If they're found to be illegal they're turned over to immigration officials. Also becoming law, an act to protect military personnel from becoming victims of life insurance scams and statewide protections for victims of human trafficking.
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