2019 brought many new laws in different states of the United States. Northwest Liberty News have compiled a list of the most important ones.
List of bills that became laws in 2019
Information on previous salaries
The states of Connecticut and Hawaii have forbidden employers to ask job seekers about their previous wages. Thus, the number of states with similar prohibitions rose to 10. These laws were enacted to prevent wage inequalities, especially for women and ethnic minorities.
In the state of Washington in 2019, they will begin to punish people who pass off their pets as trained service animals. This measure is being taken to protect people with disabilities who, due to such abuses, find it increasingly difficult to get the help they need from service animals.
Improving pet life in California
California was the first US state to require pet stores to sell only animals from shelters and rescue centers. State residents can still buy pets from private breeders, but pet stores no longer have the right to do so. Nearly 300 cities in different states of the USA already have similar restrictions, but this is the first such law applied at the state level.
Under another new law in California, pets are divorced from family members. Judges may appoint sole or joint custody of a pet based on what, in their opinion, is in the interests of the animal.
On January 1, 2019, a law amending the taxation of alimony came into force throughout the United States. Congress abolished the right to pay child support to deduct their amount from taxes. This rule has been in effect for 75 years. This change also provides that those who receive child support should no longer pay taxes on them.
Online shopping taxation
Online shoppers in six states — Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Utah, and West Virginia — must pay sales taxes on January 1 for products they purchase online from retailers registered outside of these states.
In Colorado, all types of beer are now sold in grocery stores and at retail outlets where previously only low-alcohol drinks were allowed to be sold. This restriction has expired at the end of 2018.
Vermont relocation fee
In the spring of 2018, Vermont said they would pay $10,000 to remote workers who move to the region, and the law entered into force on January 1, 2019. Details of the application process and receipt of payments are available here.
Salary increase (New York)
Companies with 11 or more employees must increase their minimum wage to $15 per hour. In addition, in New York, organizations with 10 or fewer jobs must raise their minimum pay to $13.5; employees in fast-food restaurants – up to $12.75.
On Long Island and Westchester, the minimum wage will increase to $12, in the rest of New York – to $11.10.
Pharmacies cannot sell cigarettes (New York)
Now in New York, it is not permitted to sell cigarettes or other tobacco products in pharmacies. The ban also applies to enterprises where there are pharmacies, such as large shops and supermarkets.
Enterprise styrofoam ban (New York)
NYC businesses and grocery stores can no longer offer, sell, or store Styrofoam food containers such as cups, plates, bowls, trays, and packaging materials.
Child care benefits (New York)
Workers can spend 10 weeks with their newborn children, as well as caring for a sick family member. In this case, employees will receive 55% of the salary compared to 50% in 2018.
No smoking (New Jersey)
Smoking on public beaches and parks will be prohibited. Local communities can provide small smoking areas. The law also prohibits vaping (electronic cigarette smoking) but allows cities to set smoking places on 15 percent of beaches or parks. The law will enter into force on January 16.
Health insurance mandate (New Jersey)
The state of New Jersey is now entitled to demand medical insurance from residents or a fine of 2.5 percent of income or $695 per taxpayer must be paid, whichever is greater.
The maximum penalty for a family is $2,085.
The law was passed in response to a federal tax review in 2017, which revoked the mandate of the Affordable Health Insurance Act.
Gun warrant (New Jersey)
This law will allow state courts to issue a protective decree if someone poses a “significant personal injury risk” to themselves or others. This law could potentially deprive a person who poses a danger to him-/herself or others from the possession of a firearm.
Transgender birth certificates (New Jersey / New York)
Now it will be easier for transgender people in New Jersey and New York to change their gender on their birth certificate. The new law allows residents to amend evidence based on how they identify. Parents of newborns will also be able to choose gender “X”, confirming that it reflects their true gender identity.
Diaper changing area (New York)
New Yorkers’ employers must provide places for changing diapers in public buildings such as bowling, museums, theaters, and food stores. Designated spaces should be accessible to everyone, regardless of gender.
Breastfeeding rooms (New York)
Employers in New York will need to provide rooms for breastfeeding. It should be a sanitary place, separate from the toilet.
Sexual harassment policy (New York)
All New Yorkers will need to be trained in the prevention of sexual harassment. This will happen on an annual basis. Government contractors should report that they conduct training for all of their employees.
Uber / Lyft taxes (New Jersey)
Travel within New Jersey will be taxed. If you drive in a car alone, the tax will be 50 cents, if you drive in a car with someone – 25 cents. The money will go to help school districts.
Airbnb taxes (New Jersey)
Airbnb users will have to pay the same taxes and fees as hotels and motels as temporary housing. According to the bill, permanent rental housing will still not be taxed.
School bus safety (New Jersey)
Six new school bus safety bills passed. Under these new laws, parents will be able to send their children to school, knowing that school buses and drivers meet “extremely high standards for student safety.”
Drug returns (New Jersey)
Pharmacies and postal pharmacies will allow consumers to return unused prescription drugs using safe options such as free parcels or prepaid envelopes.
Disability benefits for volunteer firefighters with cancer (New York)
Volunteer firefighters with certain types of cancer will be eligible for state disability benefits.
Body scanners in prison (New York)
Body scanners can be used against prisoners to detect any hidden weapons.
Prostate screening (New York)
Health insurance should provide men with prostate cancer screening free of charge.