Hundreds of new laws in a number of states took effect on July 1, regulations involving guns, policing, voting, driving and workers’ pay.
The state’s controversial Extreme Risk Protective Order or “Red Flag” law, which gives authorities power to seize guns from persons considered dangerous, will take effect.
Other restrictions include a mandate for background checks on all gun sales, mandating reporting of lost and stolen guns, preventing children from accessing firearms and limiting handgun purchases to one a month.
The state also repealed its mandatory ultrasound law and 24-hour waiting period prior to abortion, removes restrictions on women’s healthcare centers and allows nurse practitioners and physician assistants to perform abortions.
Another new law bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, employment, housing, public spaces and credit transactions — while another bars discrimination on the basis of hair, including “traits historically associated with race, including hair texture, hair type and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks and twists.
Simple possession of marijuana now carries a $25 civil penalty instead of a criminal charge and tax rates for cigarettes and other tobacco products will double.
Virginia will also declare election day a state holiday, remove requirements for voters to show photo ID before voting and extend in-person polling hours by an hour.
A new law allows for multiple audits of the Baltimore Police Department. It also requires the state legislative auditor be allowed to determine the audits’ scopes and objectives and mandates the city make employees and documents available to investigators.
The state will also create a task force to examine how to store audio and video recorded by body-worn police cameras and report the findings to the General Assembly by Dec. 1.
College tuition is also newly available to non-residents Wednesday under the Maryland Dream Act and military personnel. Spouses and dependents now qualify, and there are added in-state tuition reimbursements for members of the Maryland National Guard.
A law also creates the new state post of Special Education Ombudsman for parents to seek help about special education rights and services.
Several measures are introduced related to Florida’s education system, including $400 million earmarked to raise the minimum base pay for full-time classroom teachers — to at least $47,500 — and another $100 million to raise salaries for veteran teachers.
Florida also expands laws providing financial assistance to families seeking private education, and establishes a dual enrollment funding incentive for school districts. Another law standardizes how Holocaust education is taught in public schools.
Other laws are enacted to protect children from abuse in the welfare system by reducing caseloads and requiring workers to be trained to recognize head trauma in young children.
The state also now allows housing providers to prohibit emotional support animals that pose a threat to the safety health or property of others.
Among the new laws in Oklahoma is one that grants pay raises for corrections employees, poll-workers and judges — and increases pensions for retirees.
Another requires the Board of Education to issue teaching certificates to those who hold valid out-of-state certification, as long as they pass a background check.
Others change the state’s virtual charter school program and allow local governments to offer matching payments to bring grocery and specialty food stores within one-half mile of a low-income or low-access areas.
The Illinois minimum wage rises to at least $10 per hour statewide, and Chicago raises its base pay to $14 per hour for businesses with more than 21 employees. The hourly wage is $13.50 for smaller businesses. Cook County hikes its minimum wage to $13 per hour.
Drivers in Indiana, Idaho and South Dakota are no longer allowed to hold a cellphone while driving. Half of all states now have laws on the books requiring hands-free devices.
In Michigan, the state now allows drivers the option to choose personal injury protection on their auto insurance policies.
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