More than 40 new laws passed by state legislators earlier this year went into effect yesterday.
The laws that went on the books are primarily criminal. They include greater punishments for those who abuse or endanger children.
One of them would more than double the maximum prison terms for the most serious child abuse charge. It was inspired by the case of a three-year-old from Concord, who was severely beaten by her stepfather.
Legislators passed another law that would make it a misdemeanor for parents failing to report a missing child within a reasonable amount of time.
Additional laws include punishing those who produce methamphetamine in the presence of children and making it a crime to drive an ambulance, fire truck or police vehicle while drinking.