There a quite a few laws that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. From changes to minimum wages, smoking bans, codes expanding LGBTQ rights and changes to gun laws, here are some statutes that will got into effect in the tri-state area.
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Minimum Wage Increase (NY) n nFor workplaces with 11 employees or more in New York City minimum wage will increase to $15. $13.50 in New York City for workplaces with 10 or less employees. $12.75 for fast-food workers. $12 on Long Island and Westchester and $11.10 for the rest of New York State.
Pharmacies Can’t Sell Cigarettes (NYC) n nNew York City pharmacies won't be allowed to sell cigarettes or other tobacco products. The ban will also include business that contain pharmacies such as big box stores and supermarkets.
Styrofoam Ban for Businesses (NYC) n nNew York City food-service businesses and stores can no longer offer, sell, or own Styrofoam food containers such as foam takeout clamshells, cups, plates, bowls, trays, and packing peanuts.
Parental Leave Benefits (NY) n nEligible employees can take 10 weeks with their new children, care for a sick family member or help loved ones when a family is deployed abroad an active military service. Wage replacement increased to 55 percent, up from 50 percent in 2018.
Smoking Ban (NJ) n nSmoking at the state’s public beaches and parks will be banned. Local communities can opt out and designate small smoking sections. The law also bans vaping but allows towns to set up smoking areas on 15 percent of any given beach or park. The law takes effect Jan.16.
Health Insurance Mandate (NJ) n nNew Jersey will require residents to have health coverage or pay a penalty fee. Residents will face a penalty of 2.5 percent of income or $695 per taxpayer, whichever is greater. A family’s maximum penalty is $2,085.The legislation was in response to a 2017 federal tax overhaul that wiped out the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to carry insurance.
Gun Violence Protective Order (NJ) n nThis will allow state courts to issue a protective order when someone poses a “significant risk of personal injury” to themselves or others. This law will potentially make it easier to take a firearm away from someone who is a danger to themselves or others.
Transgender Birth Certificates (NJ/NYC) n nIt will now be easier for New Jersey and New York City transgender residents to change their genders on their birth certificate. The new law allows residents to amend certificates based on how they identify themselves. Parents of newborns will also be able to choose “X” by confirming it reflects their true gender identity.
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Diaper Changing Station (NYC) n nNew York City employers must provide diaper changing stations in public buildings such as bowling alleys, museums, theaters, and spaces where products are being sold. Changing stations and will be available to everyone, regardless of gender.
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Lactation Rooms (NYC) n nEmployers in New York City will be required to provide a lactation room for employees for purposes of expressing milk. It must be a sanitary place other than a restroom.
Sexual Harassment Policy (NY) n nAll New York employees will be required to complete a sexual harassment prevention training. This will occur on an annual basis. State contractors must submit a statement that they have a sexual harassment policy and have provided training to all their employees.
Uber/Lyft Taxes (NJ) n nRides beginning and ending within New Jersey will have a 50-cent tax on solo trips and 25 cents on shared rides. The money collected from the fee will be used to help with school districts.
Airbnb Taxes (NJ) n nAirbnb users will have to pay the same taxes and fees that hotels and motels are currently required to pay to the state for temporary housing. Under the bill, permanent residential rentals would continue to be exempt from these taxes.
School Bus Safety (NJ) n nSix new bills on school bus safety has been passed. Under these new laws, parents will be able to send their children to school knowing that school buses and drivers are being held to “extremely high standards to ensure safety of the students”.
Drug Take Back (NY) n nDrug stores and mail order pharmacies will allow consumers to return unused prescriptions drugs through secure options such as free drop boxes or prepaid envelopes.
Disability Benefits for Volunteer Firefighters with Cancer (NY) n nVolunteer firefighters with certain types of cancer will be eligible for state disability coverage. Volunteer firefighters who have served for at least five years will qualify.
Body Scanners in Prison (NY) n nBody scanners will be allowed to be used on inmates to detect any hidden weapons. Some hidden weapons have been found on a prisoners body or clothing.
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No Cost for Prostate Screenings (NY) n nHealth insurers are required to provide men with prostate cancer screening at no cost. Health insurance plans are required to make consumers aware of the new benefit.
Applicant Wage and Salary Ban (CT) n nConnecticut bans employers from asking their prospective employees about their past wage and salary history unless the prospective employee volunteers the information. This law has been passed in effort to prevent pay inequities especially to women and people of color.