Legislatures in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico met in 2009, leading to the enactment of 40,697 laws, many of which take effect January 1.
The new laws cover a variety of areas, from texting and tanning beds to human trafficking and seat-belt safety.
New Hampshire, Oregon and Illinois join 16 other states that prohibit motorists from sending text messages while driving.
Gloria Wilhelm fought for the Illinois law after her son, Matt, was struck and killed while he was riding his bike by a driver who was downloading cell phone ring tones.
"These are incredibly selfish and dangerous behaviors," she said.
A new law in Oregon requires children under the age of 16 to wear a seat belt on an all-terrain vehicle or in a car while on public property.
Same-sex couples will be able to marry in New Hampshire beginning January 1 under New Hampshire General Court HB 436, and the state joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Iowa in legalizing same-sex marriages. In California, SB 54 requires the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states while such marriages were legal in California.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with