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If you sense that California's Legislature is the nation's most active -- or most intrusive -- generator of new laws, a nationwide compilation of 2012 state legislation by the National Conference of State Legislatures seems to prove the case.

The NCSL released its annual list of the nation's 81 most significant new state laws Thursday, and the California Legislature is responsible for 27 of them, or exactly one third. California edged out Illinois, which generated 26 of the noteworthy new laws.

Among California measures cited by the NCSL were those that allow clergy members to refuse to perform same-sex marriages, prohibit prison workers from having sex with inmates, allow life-sentence offenders who were under 18 when they committed crimes to seek release, restrict picketing at funerals, protect breastfeeding rights, require car washes to recycle water, reform state pensions, and no longer require passengers in off-road vehicles to keep their feet flat on the floor.


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