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Notable New Laws Taking Effect in 2015

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on January 01, 2015 5:58 AM

Another year has gone by, and with it, many news laws were passed that will now (or will soon be) effective in 2015.

New recreational pot laws will go into effect this year, minimum wages will increase across the country, and even some undocumented workers will have a chance to get legal driver's licenses. Then of course, there's the portion of the Obamacare mandate that applies to employers.

Check out some of the notable new laws taking effect in 2015:

Obamacare's Employer Mandate

It's been over a year since the federal government delayed the rollout of the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate, which requires many employers to provide affordable health insurance to full-time employees. And as of a few months ago, the Obamacare SHOP, an insurance marketplace for small businesses, opened for employers to use. This mandate goes into effect on January 1, 2015, so employers should have their insurance plans in order by today.

Legalized Marijuana

Voters in both Oregon and Alaska successfully passed ballot initiatives legalizing possession of marijuana for recreational purposes in November 2014. Oregon's Measure 91 will take effect July 1, while Alaska's Ballot Measure 2 is set to take effect February 24, according to the Alaska Dispatch. District of Columbia voters also attempted to legalize marijuana, but Congress has since intervened, so the legal situation is still a bit hazy.

Immigrant Driver's Licenses

A California bill passed back in 2013 authorized the state to issue special driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. The law takes effect January 1, and the California DMV will begin issuing licenses on January 2 (presumably because its offices are closed on New Year's Day).

Minimum Wage Increases

In 2014, many states passed minimum wage hikes, promising increased wages over the next few years. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, many of these increases are slated to begin in 2015:

  • 20 states will increase minimum wage effective January 1,
  • 7 states have promised to increase minimum wage by December 31, and
  • 12 states will increase minimum wage effective in 2016 and beyond.

Be mindful of these new laws as you venture forth into 2015.

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