January 1 is a busy time for state legislature, as about 40,000 state laws took effect on that day. A few federal rules changed as well, including a Social Security increase that will amount to about $450 a year for most recipients and heavy fines for truckers and bus drivers caught on their hand-held cellphones will driving.
As reported by NBC News, eight states are going to raise the minimum wage including Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Colorado, Ohio, Vermont and Florida. San Francisco is the place to live as a minimum wage worker, as it will be the first city to have a minimum wage over $10 an hour.
Alabama, for instance, with the nation’s strictest immigration law, is now requiring employers to use a federal system called E-Verify if they work with government bodies. Laws going into effect in Tennessee, South Carolina and California also focus on illegal immigration. The California Dream Act makes it easier for students who came to the country illegally when they were babies to now get private scholarships.
Protecting the Young
Many new laws are intended to protect young people. In Colorado, coaches will have to bench players as young as 11 if they think they’ve had a head injury. If you’re under 18 in Illinois, you’ll now need to wear your seat belt in a taxi during a school-related event. Illinois’ school boards can also suspend or expel its students who make threats on websites against other students or against school staff.
Many abortion laws are being changed. In Arkansas, a facility that has more than 10 abortions a month for nonsurgical reasons has to be licensed by the state Health Department and have inspections.
Many states are adding driving safety laws to the books. In Nevada, the three-year old ban on texting during driving will now include tickets instead of warnings. In North Dakota, drivers under 16 now have to have their permits for a year rather than for six months.