10 Changes Put Into Law This Year
While some of us may not pay attention to all of the shifts and changes put into law every year, others might have our finger on the pulse of legislative changes as we follow the news closely. Change can be difficult and scary in a lot of ways, but when it comes to legislative changes, it can be a good thing. If you have an interest in a certain area of policy or you’ve been waiting to be able to do certain things like smoke marijuana recreationally, you’ll find that a change in law may be welcome.
Changes in Law Impact Those in Prison
For some people in the criminal justice system, a change in the law can lead to positive news. For example, if someone was arrested for committing a crime that is no longer considered a crime under federal or state law, it can mean that their charges are no longer valid and they can fight to be released from a facility. Unfortunately, this is not always the case depending on the specific circumstances of a case. If someone was arrested for a crime that was taken out of the law and no longer considered a crime in certain states, it doesn’t mean that they’ll get released from prison or have the charge dropped if they live in a state where this law is still in effect and their actions are still considered criminal.
If you have a friend or loved one who went to jail or prison because something used to be illegal, a change in the law may excite you because it could mean that your loved one will be released and potentially pardoned. Although it feels like you should be able to drive up to the correctional facility on the day that this new law goes into effect, the truth is that it can take time for changes in laws to reach correctional facilities. Additionally, processing the release of an inmate or many inmates especially takes time.
It can be frustrating to not bring your loved one home if they’re in prison for something that is not illegal. Still, you should consider how long it could take administrative professionals to process their release and adjust to the change in laws. If the person had other charges that were unrelated to this law, they may only have the charges dropped from the first charge.
If Laws Change in One State, Does It Apply to All States?
When a law changes in one state, it may not apply to every state. This is because some aspects of the law are left to the individual states to determine how they want to handle an issue. If you have concerns about whether it would be legal to do something like take a once-illegal product across state lines or practice something in one state that was just made legal in another state, you should read the laws themselves and consult with an attorney if you’re worried about breaking the law. While something might seem like it’s no big deal to you if it’s legal in a state that’s not the one where you live or visit, you should pay attention to individual choices that states make regarding what they consider illegal and what they consider legal.
Federal laws usually apply to every state, but some states have stipulations on those laws or even local laws in specific cities that override the federal laws. At times, something may not be illegal on a federal level or considered a felony if one is charged or convicted of doing it but it may be a misdemeanor or illegal on a state level if you do it in a certain state. Again, speaking with legal professionals would be a good idea if you suspect that you may have committed a federal, state, or local crime or violated a local or state law even if something is legal on a federal level.
It will give you peace of mind to know that the shifts put into law don’t affect you as badly as they could. It can also be wise to prepare for potential legal repercussions before you receive a summons or have the police show up at your door to arrest you. Getting ahead of the game is smart in anything in life, especially when it comes to the legal system.
1. Marijuana Legalized in Ohio
One of the exciting changes that will be put into law in Ohio this year is the legalization of marijuana. For those who advocate for marijuana, also known as “weed,” to become legal in this state, this is a victory that has been coming for a long time. By the end of the year, Ohio residents over the age of 21 will have permission by the law to possess a maximum of 2.5 oz of cannabis. For cannabis extracts, they will be able to possess up to 15 grams at a time according to an article on The Hill. For most people who live in OH who want to enjoy recreational cannabis legally, this is a thrilling development.
Some folks who have a history of substance use disorder and are seeking out addiction treatments should not indulge in marijuana even if it’s become legal to an extent since that would jeopardize the hard work they’ve put into their programs. If you’ve previously been convicted of a crime and are on parole or probation with terms that require you to remain sober, you still may be violating your terms of parole or probation if you smoke or even possess marijuana and cannabis extract in legal amounts in OH. If this is your situation, you’ll want to consult with an attorney or probation and parole officer before you take advantage of this new law and get marijuana. It’s not worth risking going back to jail or prison or sabotaging the new life you’re trying to build after going through the criminal justice system.
2. Salary Information in Washington
Before this year, the idea that companies would need to be transparent about wages and salaries in job postings was not put into law in Washington state. After changes are going into law, every employer from a law office to a hospital to a fast food chain will need to list the salary or wage of the positions they list in the job posting itself. This will make it easier for candidates for jobs and interested applicants to determine whether a job will be right for them from a financial perspective. It will also give potential employees the power to decide if a company seems like it would pay them a fair wage.
Another law of this new law’s benefits is that it would mean that it would be harder for companies to discriminate in their salary and pay practices. Sometimes in the past, companies could get away with paying female or female employees less than their male or masculine counterparts simply because they didn’t allow employees to discuss their salaries and they didn’t share the salaries they paid for certain positions in the job postings online. Now, this shift means that employees will be able to see the range in salary for a position. A wide range may indicate that some employees are still paid less than others, but at least it will give Washington job seekers a leg up in deciding if the lower end of a salary offer is fair and reasonable before they put all the time and energy into applying for the job and going through with the hiring process.
3. Higher Taxes for Higher Incomes
With inflation on the rise, the IRS is attempting to address issues with tax brackets by raising them for high-income households. While this can be a good thing that’s put into law for folks who are feeling stretched to the limit financially in this economy, it can be troubling for those who are affected by the tax hikes if their incomes are high enough. Since the IRS is attempting to prevent corporate catering by holding corporations accountable with higher taxes, this may be a refreshing development for those who are working-class or lower-middle-class.
4. Jaywalking in California
If you love crossing the road before the crosswalk lights up or crossing the road without a crosswalk, you’ll appreciate the new laws that let you walk across the street in CA without a cross signal or crosswalk in sight. Starting in the first month of 2023, this law was put into law as part of the “Freedom to Walk Act” according to rkmlaw.net. Since this state used to have some of the most stringent, strict laws on the subject in the country, it’s surprising and exciting that they would loosen up on something so important to many pedestrians.
While you can legally jaywalk in California now, there may be some stipulations to the law to consider. It still may be illegal to walk in areas where pedestrians are prohibited. After all, places like highways might be objectively unsafe for someone to walk and the law can try to protect pedestrians by forbidding them from walking in areas where they could easily get killed or injured on the road. If you’re not sure if what you were doing was illegal, you should call an attorney to help.
5. End to Cash Bail in Illinois
As of this year, there’s no longer cash bail in IL. This can be a refreshing change for criminal defense attorneys when helping their clients. Instead, they’ll employ a “pre-trial release system” according to illinoislegalaid.org.
6. Higher Minimum Wage Across the Country
With a rise in the cost of living, many states are increasing their minimum wages. Some states are hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Others are slightly behind with a $13 minimum wage. If you own a roof repair company, you should see how this will impact how you pay workers.
7. No Concealed Carry Permits in Alabama
Although concealed carry permits may have been legal in AL before, they’re now becoming a thing of the past. Since this was put into law, you should contact an attorney if you worry that you illegally concealed carry a gun. If you’ve been hurt by someone who was illegally concealed carrying, you can contact a personal injury accident lawyer
8. Added Protections for Tenants in Florida
Tenants in FL can enjoy new protections put into law. One of the key protections is an increase in the requirement for how much notice one needs to leave a property on a month-to-month lease. If you work as a handyman, you’ll appreciate having 30 days’ notice instead of the former 15 on a month-to-month lease.
9. No Camping on Public Land in Missouri
While you used to be able to camp on public land in MI, you can’t anymore. A new law prevents it. Still, you may be able to use porta potties on public land depending on the specifics of the law. To be sure, you should ask folks who work in the recreation department in this state about how these changes will affect your access to public toilets and other amenities. For those who work in construction, it can be important to know whether public land projects will include these.
10. Voting Access in New York
New York is working on improving voter access. They’ve made it so that absentee ballots can be counted early if they don’t show signs of tampering. They’ve also made other changes that could make voting more accessible. Even things like having a hand washing station nearby could make it more accessible for those with immune system issues when put into law.
In cases where the law change doesn’t affect you directly, modifying existing legislation and policy might seem like it doesn’t matter in your personal life. Although it’s natural to care less about legislative or policy changes that seem to have no impact on you, you should stay updated on what these law changes mean. Sometimes, policies will affect areas of legislation that you have no idea about. For example, a law change that goes into effect in healthcare policy may also affect other areas of the law like privacy when they’re put into law.