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States Push Ahead

States Push Ahead

Immigration isn't the only battle that has shifted from the Beltway to state capitals. Federal inaction on a range of issues has prompted state legislatures to get busy. And many of the resulting laws go beyond existing federal ones. Here are some new laws affecting small businesses around the nation.

Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Washington are among the states that passed aggressive legislation to fight climate change in 2007. New Jersey and Washington, for example, set targets to bring greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020. Small companies have no exemptions at this point, which could cause headaches for some that may have to make big changes. And some experts warn the laws could send energy prices even higher. But alternative energy businesses may benefit. Despite the ongoing fight between California and the Environmental Protection Agency over that state's right to regulate auto emissions, other states are expected to take action on climate change this year. "Something is being discussed in every single state," says Nathan Newman, policy director at Progressive States Network, a nonprofit advocacy group in New York.