Here are 10 new laws that are now in effect in 2020
A new year typically brings new legislation, and in the U.S., laws addressing everything from plastic bags to recreational marijuana are now in effect or will go into effect soon. Here are 10 new laws taking effect.
1. Oregon bans single-use plastic bags
Some bans or restrictions on single-use plastic bags have been passed at the local level, others at the state level. One of those states is Oregon: on January 1, retail stores and restaurants will no longer be allowed to provide single-use plastic bags, although they can offer paper bags as an alternative if they charge least least five cents for them.
2. 22 states raise their minimum wages
Although the United States’ federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 per hour since 2009, states and cities are free to raise their minimum wages — and in 2020, 22 states now have higher minimum wages, including New Mexico and Washington.
3. At least 8 states have higher fees for electric vehicles
In 2020, at least eight states have either increased their fees for electric vehicles or introduced new fees for them — and they range from $50 in Hawaii to $200 in Alabama and Ohio.
4. California enacts data privacy law
In California, the California Consumer Privacy Act will give consumers more control over how companies share their information with other companies. And the law affects not only California-based companies, but also, any companies doing business in California.
5. Illinois allows recreational marijuana use
Illinois will be the 12th state in the U.S. to allow adults to purchase or smoke marijuana recreationally. And in Hawaii, possession of small amounts of marijuana will be decriminalized in mid-January.
6. New York eliminates cash bail for nonviolent offenses
A new law in New York will eliminate cash bail for defendants charged with minor offenses or non-violent felonies. The goal is to reduce the number of people in pre-trial detention.
7. Victims of sexual abuse will have longer to file civil lawsuits
A new California law expands the statute of limitations for sexual abuse, allowing victims to file civil lawsuits up until the age of 40 or five years from the time the abuse was discovered.
8. Floridians will be fined for texting while driving
Under a new Florida law, those caught texting and driving will be fined $30 for non-moving violations and $60 for moving violations.
9. California forbids discrimination against black hairstyles
Under the Crown Act, California becomes the first state in the U.S. to forbid employers or school officials from discriminating against black hairstyles such as afros and braids.
10. Colorado law increases gun restriction
Under Colorado’s new “red flag” law, family members and law enforcement officials can petition a court to temporarily take a gun away from an individual they believe to be a threat to themselves or others.