New Year's Day 2014 brings new resolutions and renewed vows, but it also brings the enforcement of new laws.
Hundreds of state and national laws which were passed in 2013 (or before) will be taking effect in 2014. Here are some of the most notable ones:
Although the set of legislation that makes up Obamacare has many different parts, the "individual mandate" requiring all Americans to have some minimum form of health coverage is now in effect.
Businesses would have also been required to provide health insurance for their employees by 2014, but that portion of the law has been pushed back to 2015.
In November 2012, both Colorado and Washington approved legislation that would legalize recreational purchase and use of marijuana in those states.
More than a year later, the Centennial State is ready to open its first recreational pot stores on January 1, 2014. But only those 21 and older will be able to purchase legal weed.
Meantime, Washington state is still combing through applications to approve its first recreational pot retailers, which are expected to open in a few months, reports USA Today.
Workers in 13 states will see the minimum wage increase in 2014, including New Jersey, Connecticut, California, New York, and Rhode Island, reports USA Today.
Californians will eventually see the state minimum wage rise to $10 by 2016, but will have to wait until July 2014 to see it rise to $9 per hour. (In cities such as San Jose and San Francisco, however, the local minimum wage already exceeds $10 an hour.)
Voter ID and Voting Online
Although voter ID laws are still giving politicians stress in places like Texas, Arkansas' new voter ID law is slated to go into effect today. The new law requires Arkansas voters provide some form of valid government ID (even a concealed handgun permit will suffice) in order to reach the polls.
While some states are enacting stricter voting requirements, USA Today reports that Virginia is going to allow its voters in 2014 to register online.
By legislation or by court order, there are now 18 states which have legalized same-sex unions. Still, some of these changes have yet to go into effect.
For example, Illinois' marriage equality law kicks in on June 1, 2014, so same-sex couples in the Land of Lincoln have something to look forward to in the new year.
Change is in the air across the nation, and these new laws will make 2014 a momentous year.
- New Year, new laws: Obamacare, pot, guns and drones (CNN)
- New Year, New Cell Phone, DUI Laws (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Colo., Wash. Pot Regulations Compared (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Colo. Pot Shops Open Jan. 1: 5 Laws Every Toker Should Know (FindLaw's Legally Weird)