What You Need to Know About New Local and State Laws for 2017

There are some big changes particularly in the worlds of business and transportation.

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By Nina Zipkin

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With a New Year comes new rules on the books. Residents of some states must abide by hundreds of new laws beginning this week. In Illinois, nearly 200 new laws went into effect, while California added around 900.

Minimum wage
The minimum wage has increased in 22 states. In some states, such as Arizona, Colorado and Maine, the public voted on ballot measures to determine the rate, while in others (i.e. Hawaii, Maryland and Vermont), state legislative bodies passed laws to enact new labor standards.

Minimum wage amounts vary by state as well. For example, while New Jersey's is now $8.44, up 6 cents, Massachusetts and Washington now have the highest minimum wage in the country at $11.

Some states aren't done raising their hourly rates, either. New York and California are among several states and many cities that are working toward a $15 minimum wage in the future.

Related: 4 Potential Lawsuits to Watch Out for in Small Business

Public safety
In Illinois, a new law impacts those in the beauty industry. In order to renew their licenses, cosmetologists are now required to get training to identify signs of domestic and sexual abuse and be better equipped to help clients who might be victims.

Transportation
In California, it is now illegal to hold your phone or any other electronic device while you are behind the wheel. It must be mounted on the dashboard. In Iowa, there are now statewide regulations for ride-hailing companies such as Lyft and Uber requiring background checks, insurance and termination if drivers engage in substance abuse on the job.

Speaking of cars, if you have your eye on a Tesla, know that if you buy after Jan. 15, it won't be free to recharge the battery at the company's Supercharger stations.

Related: 7 Things Business Owners Need to Know Post-Election

Weapons
A series of gun laws were also passed. In California, gun owners who have magazines capable of holding ten rounds of ammunition must relinquish them, and anyone purchasing ammunition must undergo a background check. In Missouri, gun owners are no longer required to have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Drugs and alcohol
In November, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada voted to allow recreational marijuana use, and those laws went into effect at the start of the year. Medical marijuana is now legal in Arkansas, Florida and Montana based on the results of the November election.

If you're a craft beer connoisseur in New York City, when you go to the bar to buy a drink, there will be a tax of about one cent that will go back to the brewery that made the beer. And in Tennessee, there is a new regulation that allows breweries to make beer with an alcohol by volume of up to 10.1 percent.
Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

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