The year 2014 has so far been considered a watershed when it came to law making around the world. The following are some of the most influential and interesting laws of 2014, and span all the regions of the globe. Here are 10 groundbreaking laws made in 2014.
Sources: TheGuardian.com, NYTimes.com, DuhaimeLaw.com, Governing.com, NPR.org, NCSL.org, BBC.com, GlobalTimes.cn
When Bulgaria and Romania joined the E.U. in 2007, transitional restrictions were based on the bloc’s new poorest members, including the right to work and claim benefits across the E.U. for the first seven years in order to assuage fears of mass migration. In 2014, those controls were lifted when Greece took over the rotating presidency of the E.U. However some E.U. members have instituted their own laws to ensure Bulgarians and Romanians still obtain work permits to access the full benefits of employment.
This includes cross-border yuan direct investment in an attempt to boost the trade relations and business investment in both China and Taiwan. Though this type of investment was initially allowed in October 2011, China has now increased the amount, signifying an increasing willingness to cooperate with Taiwan in an economic manner.
Following a series of bad publicity due to “value-based” restrictions on membership, Boy Scout organizations across the world have been forced to re-evaluate their standards so as not to lose support, both socially and financially. In the U.S., gay members are now allowed to participate in Boy Scouts, though the rules remain murkier when it comes to adult leaders, and in Britain, atheists are now permitted to join as well.
George Brandis, Australia’s attorney general, pushed through new security legislation in 2014 that held journalists accountable for reporting on spy leaks such as Edward Snowden’s. The bill greatly expanded the powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and members of the media could be imprisoned for up to five years for reporting on special intelligence operations.
As bitcoins continue to take the world by storm, Canada made history in 2014 by implementing the first regulations regarding the new currency. Bitcoin financial transactions are now included under national anti money-laundering laws. Canadian laws now define “dealing in virtual currencies,” maintaining that bitcoin bank accounts must be registered, and regulating foreign bitcoins entering the country.
Australia’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, proposed broad anti-terrorism laws in 2014 in an attempt to protect the country’s borders from jihadi fighters, but the laws have been blamed for including racial profiling and inflammatory rhetoric in the legislation. For instance, Australians returning to the country from “terrorist hot spots” need to prove they had legitimate reasons for being there.
In April 2014, Turkey’s highest court attempted to re-establish separation of powers in the country by taking away Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s control over the judiciary, blamed for preventing meaningful corruption investigations from being conducted. This move re-implemented judicial review in Turkey, and is credited as a move by the country’s courts towards a more democratic and liberal society.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, went into effect in January 2014, in an attempt to provide universal healthcare across the country. Though some elements of the law will go into effect on a rolling basis, the crux of the bill is in effect and Americans are now responsible for insuring themselves through either public or private sources — or face penalties.
Due to its continuing decline in wildlife, Botswana issued a ban on commercial hunting in January 2014 – a controversial move, given that many of its citizens depend on hunting for their livelihoods. But as one third of Africa’s elephant population lives in Botswana, Botswana decided hunting was not compatible with its dedication to preservation. The environment ministry said this about the ban: “The shooting of wild game for sport and trophies is no longer compatible with our commitment to preserve local fauna.”
Like the new law where you can demand your home be checked for electromagnetic waves, presumably to ensure you aren’t being bugged. And police now must address you as “vous,” rather than “tu,” if you are being arrested, presumably to promote respect and a general attitude of friendliness between arresting officers and suspects, as is the norm.