The New Year has brought in new laws in several states across the United States of America. In California, around 900 laws came into effect while in Illinois some 200 new laws have been added. While some are mundane law changes that do not have a significant impact, there are others which have some vital consequences.
Most of these new laws relate to the gun laws, minimum wages, transportation, public safety, drugs and alcohol, taxation etc.
Top changes in laws in California and Illinois
• Minimum wage– The minimum wage is now $10.50 an hour for all businesses with more than 26 employees or employees under SB 3. California and New York states are among some of the states and many cities that are looking at a $15 minimum wage in the future.
• Usage of cellphones while driving – this is in addition to the existing law, banning texting while driving. Any violation of the law attracts a base fine of $20 and for each subsequent offense, $50.
The law states that while driving a motor vehicle, the driver should not hold or operate a handheld telephone device unless it is a voice operated one with a hands-free operation. Further, this device should be mounted to the dashboardor placed on the windshield- either in the lower right corner or lower left corner of the windshield.
• Law on Powdered alcohol – It is illegal to possess, make, use or sell powdered alcohol, which includes liquor, wine, beer, spirits etc., but excluding vaporized alcohol.
• Weapons laws – The weapons laws have been made stricter in the state of California, in the year 2017. A permit is now required to buy ammunition. Background checks are mandatory for anyone purchasing ammunition. Gun owners holding more than 10 bullets or large capacity magazines should relinquish them. This law comes into effect, starting July 1st.
• Law on school mascots’ name – All Californian Public Schools cannot use the name “Redskins”, either as a name of a sports team or as a name of the school mascot. The name “Redskins” is considered offensive by American Indians.
• Bathrooms to be gender neutral in public places – this law, which becomes operational on 1st March 2017, states that all single-user toilet facilities in business establishments and public accommodationplaces should be identified as all-gender toilet facilities.
• Traffic laws –The new law with respect to the traffic laws is an extension of the existing law. Drivers are now required to change lanes or slow down for all stranded vehicles with hazards on, including a stationary emergency vehicle. Stiffer penalties are in store for people driving without insurance. There is also an increase in the penalties for drivers speeding up in school and construction zones, making them jailableoffenses.
• Mandatory training for Cosmetologists – A new law, which is the first of its kind, mandates, training for cosmetologists renewing their licenses. The purpose of the training is to help them recognize domestic violence signs and help these victims get in touch with the right authorities.
• Human rights act- This act the amount has been amended increasing the penalties for civil rights violations in matters relating to real estate transactions.
• Vehicle license plates – An amendment to the Illinois Vehicle Code requires the registration plates to be clearly visible, devoid of materials or objects that obstruct the visibility of the license plate. (SB 0805)
• Protected information – The new lawHB 1260 makes biometric data, health information, and online logins as protected information.
• Law on Employee sick leave – Employees can now use the sick leave provided by employers to care for their family members.