With the new year comes new laws taking effect in several jurisdictions.
From speed cameras coming to several California cities, including Los Angeles, to Florida drivers being required to move over a lane for disabled vehicles, here are the new laws taking effect come New Year's Day.
Minimum wages to increase in Delaware, New Jersey
New Jersey’s statewide minimum wage will increase by $1 to $15.13 per hour for most employees.
The minimum wage in Delaware will increase to $13.25 an hour.
California adds speed cameras, gender-neutral toys
Speed cameras (AB 645)
The law allows the installation of cameras on a trial basis in the following cities: Los Angeles, Glendale, Long Beach, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland. Speed cameras will issue automatic tickets for drivers going at least 11 mph over the speed limit.
RELATED COVERAGE: Newsom signs bill approving speed cameras in these California cities
The cameras would be prioritized in areas around schools, high-injury intersections, and known street racing corridors, to reduce speeding and traffic fatalities. Civil penalties would be $50, $100, $200 or $500 for exceeding the speed limit by 11 mph, 16 mph, 26 mph and over 100 mph.
Gender-neutral toys (AB 1084)
The law requires some retail stores in California to offer a gender-neutral section for children "regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys."
RELATED COVERAGE: New California laws 2024: Gender-neutral toy sections required at stores
Stores that do not comply with this law will be "liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $250 for a first violation or $500 for a subsequent violation, as provided."
Hate symbols penalties increase (AB 2282)
This law expands the definition of "hate symbols" to include additional symbols and locations. This includes any symbols or marks "with the intent to terrorize another person," such as Nazi symbols and nooses. The bill also emphasizes the need to address hate crimes with symbols against certain minority groups.
Florida requires some elected officials to be more transparent with finances
Senate Bill 774, or the Ethics Requirements for Public Officials Act, is perhaps one of the most controversial laws coming into effect.
It requires a more in-depth financial disclosure form, forcing small town council members to share their net worth and the dollar amount of every asset they have over a thousand dollars.
Another new piece of legislation, House Bill 425, expands Florida's Move Over Law. It requires drivers to move over a lane for disabled vehicles displaying warning or hazard lights or if there's somebody outside the vehicle while it's stopped.
The law already applies to emergency, sanitation, utility, construction and road maintenance vehicles.
If drivers can't move, then they have to slow down to 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit.
House Bill 109, or the "Protect Our Loved Ones Act," allows law enforcement to create a "special needs registry" of people who have developmental or psychological conditions including autism spectrum disorder, Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome to help better respond to calls and improve interactions.
Adults can enroll themselves in the registry and a parent or guardian can enroll a minor.
Georgia takes aim at healthcare
A new year often means new laws. However, the majority of new laws that were signed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp after the last legislative session went into effect on July 1. The most significant law to go into effect on Jan. 1 is related to healthcare. The other laws taking effect in 2024 are tweaks to various laws or regulations that were already on the books.
The CATCH Act ensures consumer access to quality healthcare by setting adequacy standards for network plans offered by insurers and guarantees that everyone with insurance has access to primary and specialty care; mental healthcare; pharmacies and laboratories; and substance abuse treatment programs.
The purpose of House Bill 120 is to provide standards related to limited driving permits for certain offenders; to provide for fees, duration, renewal, and replacement of such permits; to provide standards for revocation; and other purposes.
Pennsylvania helps farmers, consumers
In Pennsylvania, farmers will have an easier time identifying which products come from them in local grocery stores.
"Products that earn the PA Preferred Organic brand will give consumers confidence they are getting a quality product that meets the high standards they expect."
Also, a new bill will help homeowners acquire flood insurance, which is now required by the state.
"The task force would issue recommendations regarding potential programs that provide premium discounts, programs that incentivize local governments to support flood mitigation efforts and the implementation of any necessary changes to state statute or policy regarding the administration of flood insurance."
Recreational weed legal in Virginia
Thanks to the Virginia Cannabis Control Act, retail marijuana sales are legal as of January 1, 2024. Well, sort of.
The CCA was passed in 2021 under Democratic Governor Ralph Northam. However, several parts of the legislation still needed to be ratified by the General Assembly.
Three years later, there's still no framework for cannabis retail sales in the Commonwealth, and many of the provisions in the Act are just lofty plans that need to be hashed out by state lawmakers.
HB 1598/SB 788 does transfer oversight of Virginia's medical cannabis program from the Board of Pharmacy to the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority. The Authority will be responsible for creating a regulatory structure for the sale of retail marijuana and marijuana products. When they will take up the task is still unclear. According to its site, the CCA is currently focused on "implementing a health, safety, and safe driving campaign and developing guidance to ensure compliant home cultivation of marijuana plants that protects minors and discourages the creation of a public nuisance."
Texas adjusts cost of living for retired teachers
The Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 10 earlier this year to give members of the Texas Teacher Retirement System a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).
There is a 2 percent COLA for eligible retirees who retired between September 1, 2013, through August 31, 2020, a 4 percent COLA for eligible retirees who retired between September 1, 2001, through August 31, 2013 and a 6 percent COLA for eligible retirees who retired on or before August 31, 2001.
The new law also called for a one-time payment of $2,400 for TRS retirees and beneficiaries who are at least 70 years old.
The payment for people 75 and older was $7,500.
The one-time stipends were paid in Sept. 2023.
According to the Texas Retired Teachers Association, 186,000 TRS retirees will get $7,500 and 104,000 TRS retirees pocketed $2,400.
The total cost of the payments is believed to cost $1.636 billion, according to the Legislative Budget Board.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.