More than 40 new state laws went into effect this weekend. Two aim to prevent underage drinking. Alcohol inhalers -- devices that transform liquor into a mist -- are now illegal in North Carolina. That means selling and using the devices are no longer permitted. Also, adults who serve alcohol to minors could lose their driver's licenses, even if the minor does not get behind the wheel. Bikers no longer have to wait out sensory traffic lights at intersections. Some signals are designed to change when they detect vehicles. The problem is they don't always detect motorcycles. "It's a great thing because the bike will not trigger the light and you wind up sitting at a light forever," said local motorcycle rider Chris Chandler. "You almost have to wait for a car to get beside you to trigger it." After three minutes bikers can now cross the intersection if they think it's safe. Legislators also hope to keep drug dealers farther away from kids. Dealers will be slapped with a class E felony if they're caught selling drugs within one thousand feet of schools and parks. State Senator Julia Boseman (D-9) co-sponsored the law. "Particularly with some of the areas downtown that are caught between these school districts and there's a lot of drug sales going on there, this would hopefully get them out of these areas," Boseman said. Another law aimed at keeping kids safe bans school bus drivers from using cell phones while operating school buses. They'll be fined at least $100 if they're caught. Those driving without a license can now have their picture taken if they're given a ticket. Legislators say the measure will help prevent identity theft. Finally, penalties for harming animals have become more severe. Starving an animal to death is now a class A1 felony. Killing or seriously injuring a police dog is now a class H felony. These laws were all finalized and approved in the last legislative session that ended this past spring. They're all effective as of yesterday. Another set of laws will go into effect January 1, 2008.
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