Did you know before this year it was illegal to enter a crosswalk after the “Don’t Walk” symbol begins flashing? With over 900 bills signed into law last year, it’s nearly impossible to know what is and isn’t legal. The majority of laws going into effect this year won’t affect most of our daily lives, but there are a few everyone should know.
Many sanctuary state laws will be taking effect.
- Police may no longer ask a person’s immigration status.
- Immigration officials must present a warrant to access employee records.
- Universities and businesses are prohibited from cooperating with federal immigration officials.
- Landlords may not report illegal renters.
- State agencies and officials who work with children do not have to report immigration violations.
Recreational marijuana is legal. What you may not know is:
- It’s illegal to smoke or have any open containers of marijuana while driving, or to drive while under the influence of marijuana.
- You must have a state-issued license to sell recreational marijuana.
Business owners will see some major changes.
- Minimum wage rises to $10.50 or $11 based on the number of employees.
- Employers must offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave.
- Employers may not ask an applicant about their salary history or perform a background check until after an official employment offer has been presented.
- Sexual harassment training must include gender identity and sexual orientation harassment.
Schools and Universities will change in varying ways.
- Children may no longer be denied meals if their parents fail to pay their fees.
- Free tampons must be provided to junior and senior high students attending schools where poverty-level students make up at least 40% of the class.
- The high school exit exam has been eliminated.
- Per-unit fees will be waived for first-year students attending community college.
LGBT laws continue to expand.
- A “non-binary” status option will be available for all state documentation.
- It will be illegal for long-term care facilities to discriminate based on gender identity or sexual orientation, or repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred name or pronoun.
Gun regulations ramp up.
- All ammunition must be bought or transported across state lines through a licensed dealer.
- Gun owners convicted of a felony must turn over all firearms.
- Anyone convicted of a hate crime will be unable to purchase firearms for 10 years.
- A serial number must be purchased from the state for every home-made weapon.
A few safety and environmental measures will also take effect.
- Incandescent lightbulbs will no longer be shelved.
- Public venues undergoing heavy renovations will be required to include a baby changing table in men’s bathrooms.
- Drivers with certified medical conditions may tint their windows.
And finally, some local and state issues.
- Neighborhood polling places will be closed in favor of mail-only elections.
- Vehicle registration will rise between $25 and $175 depending on the value of the vehicle.
- Pharmaceutical companies must give advance notice before any large rise in costs.