2018 is in full swing; here are some new laws to keep in mind

ownership of wild animals limited

COLUMBIA, S.C (WSPA)– It’s the start of a new year and that means new laws go into effect. Some laws deal with drivers and how we fund our roads, others deal with state agencies, local elections, and even exotic pets.

South Carolina drivers have been paying an extra 2 cents at the gas pump since July to repair state roads, but starting this year, if you hold onto those gas receipts you could see some of that money back in 2019.  Vehicle registration fees also went up by $16.

“If we have to pay an extra 2 cents to have better roads if that really is the outcome i think that’s great,” said Ron Cooper.

Another law in effect puts limitations on who can own large wild cats, non-native bears, and apes.

“I had a cousin who her dad had a bobcat in an enclosure..and it bit her.. she was 5 years old and hanging over the cage and it bit her fingers off so i don’t think we need anything like that,” said South Carolina resident Virginia Cooper.

The wild cats, bear, and apes bill would ban the possession, purchase, or sale of those animals in the state starting January 1st 2018. Current owners of the exotic pets have to pay $500 to register their animal and have an escape plan to follow if their animal gets away.

For some residents exotic pets bring up safety concerns, but feel the state shouldn’t be the one to regulate it.

“I think it’s up to the individuals and it shouldn’t be legislated. i think people should police themselves..neighbors friends family should do that not the state,” added Ron Cooper.

The bill does have exceptions in regards to who can own these animals. It lists veterinarians and animal handlers as being able to own the animals after January 1st, 2018. Any person caught violating the wild cats, bears, and apes bill could face a $1,000 fine and 30 days behind bars.