The New Year Brings New Laws & Higher Wages to Some States
Americans in 13 states will see higher wages and others will see new laws that affect everything from marijuana use to gun regulation.
Minimum Wage Increases
Washington state will see the highest wage increase per hour at $9.32, followed by Oregon at $9.10. California will see an jump to $9, but not until July. It is, however, the first of two planned minimum wage increases that will push the total to $10 per hour by 2016. Vermont and Connecticut are next incrementally at $8.73 and $8.70, respectively. Then it's neighboring New Jersey at $8.25. Colorado, New York and Rhode Island will all start 2014 with a minimum per hour wage of $8. Just under that mark is Ohio at $7.95, Florida at $7.93 and both Arizona and Montana at $7.90. Rounding out the list of states ushering in the new year with a bump in the minimum wage is Missouri who is raising it from the federal minimum of $7.25 to $7.50.
Retailers can begin selling marijuana for recreational use in Colorado on New Year's Day. Sales of legalized pot in Washington state are expected to start later in 2014. Yes, it is still against federal law, but the feds say they won't fight state laws... for now.
In the state of Illinois, medical marijuana use becomes legal. The new law is written with strict guidelines. Legislative committees and state agencies continue to work on the bill, so it may take more than a year before any transactions actually occur.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 resulted in gun legislation in two New England states. In Connecticut, the home state of Newtown and Sandy Hook, any firearms considered an assault weapon and large-capacity ammunition magazines must be registered with Connecticut law enforcement authorities. Another law also created a statewide registry to track parolees convicted of crimes involving weapons.
In New York, gun laws ban high-capacity magazines and purchasing or selling popular AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. Registration of firearms classified as assault weapons, whether or not an owner previously had possession of them, will be required by April 15th.
People living in the United States without legal permission to do so can apply for a driver authorization card in the state of Nevada starting on January 2nd. The card will cost about four times as much as a regular driver's license and, according to the law, cannot be used as a form of identification.
The state of Maryland will also allow immigrants living in the United States illegally to get a state identification card or driver's license. However, the law does mandate that the applicant prove that he or she filed a state income tax return or was a dependent for at least the preceding two years.
One always remains the same in every state: Don't drink & drive!
Happy New Year!!!