New abortion, police and tax laws take effect in the United States
Minimum wage increases, animal welfare, police accountability, tax cuts and increases are all part of a slew of new laws that will take effect across the country on Saturday, the first day of 2022. .
Some of the laws such as abortion restrictions in New Hampshire or police reform measures passed in Illinois, Oregon and North Carolina address some of the most controversial issues of our time.
Others, like a Maine law passed following an explosion in September 2019 that killed a firefighter and injured a number of others, are more targeted and have been passed to address specific situations.
The Connecticut Parentage Act allows unmarried, same-sex, or non-biological parents to establish parental rights through a simple form that gives parents legal capacity immediately after the birth of a child.
In Kansas, people will be allowed to purchase specialty license plates that feature the “Do not step on me” symbol and the coiled snake appearing on what is known as the Gadsen flag. Critics have suggested that Gadsen’s flag has become a racist symbol that has been adopted by some far-right groups.
READ MORE: Sarah Weddington, lawyer who successfully litigated Roe v. Wade, dies at 76
Here’s a look at some of the new laws that will take effect across the country on Saturday:
In New Hampshire, abortion will be banned after 24 weeks gestation, with exceptions for the life or physical health of the mother.
Democrats have already drafted legislation to repeal the new restrictions. Some also want to include the right to make reproductive medical decisions a constitutional right.
New Hampshire’s new law comes as the United States Supreme Court considers a case that could seriously erode abortion rights that have existed for half a century. Republican lawmakers across the country are poised to further restrict or outright ban abortions, while Democratic-led ones seek to ensure abortion access in their state’s law.
Come Saturday, California will have the country’s strictest living space standards for breeding pigs.
Industry lawsuits have failed to block the measure that resulted from a failed 2018 ballot initiative, but grocers and restaurateurs are now suing to force a 28-month deadline. Critics, including some lawmakers on both sides, have called for delaying enforcement until 2024 over fears prices will rise and jobs will be lost.
California is allowing the sale of pork processed under the old rules to continue, which supporters say should ease any shortages and price spikes.
READ MORE: Will the new bacon law begin? California grocers ask for a delay
Maryland will join a number of states with a new law prohibiting the sale of any new cosmetic product if it contains ingredients tested on animals.
In Vermont, a new law prohibits trade in parts or derivatives of a number of exotic animals, including elephants, giraffes, sea turtles, endangered sharks, whales, and some primates.
The law provides exemptions for law enforcement, educational or scientific applications. The law also authorizes the trade in antiques containing small quantities of animal product or constituting a fixed part of a firearm; knife; or a small legally acquired musical instrument.
Drug Law Amendments
Recreational marijuana will become legal in Montana. State voters approved the change in a November 2020 initiative.
Under the new law, only companies that supplied medical marijuana before November 3, 2020 are allowed to grow, manufacture and sell marijuana, concentrates and edibles for adult use until June 30. 2023.
READ MORE: Why the pressure to decriminalize psychedelics is growing in Michigan
A new Mississippi law eliminates the requirement for a prescription to purchase decongestants that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. Under the new law, the drug will be available behind the counter in pharmacies, and pharmacists will be required to keep track of the amount sold to a person.
Like many other states, Mississippi made a prescription mandatory years ago because drug enforcement officials said drugs containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine were used as an ingredient in crystal methamphetamine. . Some consumers have complained that over-the-counter decongestants are not strong enough.
California will become the first state to require a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour for businesses with more than 25 employees. A number of other locations across the country have already reached the $ 15 threshold.
More than 20 other states are also increasing their minimum wages to amounts below $ 15. A handful of states do not have state-level minimum wage laws, which means they rely on the federal minimum wage of $ 7.25 an hour.
In Illinois and Oregon, new laws prohibit discrimination based on physical characteristics, such as hairstyle.
In Oregon, the bill informally known as the “Crown Act” will ban discrimination based on “physical characteristics historically associated with race,” including hair styles such as braids, locs and hair. twists.
READ MORE: Multi-year campaign to ban hair discrimination gains momentum
In Illinois, the law is known as the Jett Hawkins Law after Gus “Jett” Hawkins, a black college student who, at the age of 4, was ordered to remove his braids because the hairstyle violated the dress code at her Chicago school.
His mother, Ida Nelson, launched an awareness campaign after the incident, claiming that the stigma of children’s hair can interfere with their educational development. She called it “monumental” when the bill was signed last summer by Democratic Governor JB Pritzker.
Spurred on by racial reckoning in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and other black people killed by police, a number of states passed new criminal justice laws in 2021 – the first full year of legislative sessions in the ‘State after Floyd’s death.
Illinois law standardizes certification of police officers by the Illinois Law Enforcement and Training Council and allows for revocation of officers’ certification for erroneous or unethical behavior repeated, instead of only when convicted of a crime.
READ MORE: States diverge on police reforms after George Floyd’s murder
In North Carolina, law enforcement recruits are now required to undergo psychological examinations by a licensed psychologist to determine suitability for the job before they can work as an officer or deputy. A previous mandate did not apply to everyone.
In Oregon, a new law requires a police officer who witnesses another police officer to commit misconduct or a violation of the state’s minimum moral standards to report it to a supervisor within 72 hours. A police department must complete an investigation within three months and report findings of misconduct that exceed minor infractions to the state.
In Georgia, a new law increases the amount people can earn before they start paying state taxes. The tax cut will save individual filers up to $ 43 per year and married couples to jointly file up to $ 63.
Teachers in Georgia who agree to work in some rural or poorly performing schools could get up to $ 3,000 a year on their income taxes for five years.
READ MORE: How some school districts cope with staff shortages and other pandemic disruptions
In Oklahoma, the top personal income tax rate drops from 5% to 4.75%. Lawmakers also reduced the corporate tax rate from 6% to 4%.
“I’m committed to making Oklahoma one of the top 10 states for business and making our business taxes among the lowest in the country is another tool that will help us continue to recruit and retain businesses.” Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt said after signing the bills.
In New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the Democratic-led state legislature added a new surcharge of 2.75% on health insurance premiums.
Much of the tax increase will be used to purchase health insurance offers for low- and moderate-income people as well as for employees of small businesses, starting in 2023.
Associated Press editors across the country contributed to this report.