Top 5 Most Interesting New Laws to Look Out for in 2023

On January 1 of this year, a slew of new legislation was enacted across states and localities nationwide. 

Residents and business leaders will be required to make significant adjustments to their current practices due to legislation enacted by state legislatures and ballot initiatives supported by voters. 

These laws address increasing the minimum wage, criminal justice reform, and legalizing marijuana.

Here is some significant new legislation that will go into effect this year.

Increase in the Minimum Wage

In 2023, about half of all US states will raise their minimum wages.

Connecticut minimum-wage employees will have to wait until June 1 to see the hike, while Nevada and Florida will see the adjustment on July 1 and September 30, respectively. 

In New York, the raise already went into effect for New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County employees.

Washington state now has a minimum wage of $15.74, an increase from $14.49, followed by California, which now has a minimum wage of $15.50 for all workers. This is an increase from $14 for businesses with 25 or fewer employees and $15 for employers with 26 or more employees.

Washington, DC, on the other hand, continues to have the highest minimum wage in the nation. A raise to $17 is scheduled for July 1.

The federal minimum wage has been unchanged since 2009, the longest time without adjustment since a minimum wage was created in 1938.

Efforts to enact a $15 minimum wage measure failed in the Senate in 2021.

Marijuana for Recreational Use

In the November midterm elections, recreational marijuana was on the ballot in five states: 

Maryland
Arkansas
Missouri
South Dakota
North Dakota

Voters in Missouri and Maryland legalized personal use for individuals 21 and older. Meanwhile, recreational marijuana remains illegal in Arkansas after voters rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have let dispensaries sell to residents aged 21 and older. Legal marijuana also failed in ballot measures in South Dakota and North Dakota. 

While possession has been implemented in Missouri via a constitutional amendment, Maryland’s possession and recreational use statute will take effect on July 1, 2023.

According to some estimates, adult-use markets can generate as much as $100 million during the first year of operation and up to $285 million by year four. 

Psilocybin

Oregon voters adopted a ballot proposal in 2020, making the state the first in the US to allow the recreational use of hallucinogenic mushrooms, namely psilocybin. 

The Oregon Health Authority began accepting applications for psilocybin producers on January 4, 2023. The government is scheduled to create psilocybin facilities for residents later this year.

Colorado voters approved a ballot item to legalize the personal possession and use of hallucinogenic mushrooms in the most recent election. 

Insulin Costs

The Inflation Reduction Act, a $750 billion health care, tax, and climate plan signed into law by Biden in August, was one of his most major successes in 2022.

The price of insulin for Medicare recipients will be regulated at $35 per month for Medicare beginning in 2023 as part of the law.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, around 3.3 million Medicare users used insulin in 2020, spending an average of $54 per monthly insulin prescription. The limit does not apply to people who have private insurance.

Electric Car Tax Credits

The Inflation Reduction Act will also result in modifications to tax benefits for people who own electric cars.

The new law emphasizes the usage of North American-produced automobiles, mandating that most of their battery components and final assembly be built in the continent to qualify for tax incentives. 

It also requires that at least 40% of the minerals used in the battery come from the United States or a nation having free commerce with the US.

New cars that fulfill the conditions are eligible for a tax credit of up to $7,500.

Credits of up to $4,000 are available to buyers of used electric cars, although they cannot exceed 30% of the vehicle’s purchase price.

Buyers who acquire automobiles in 2023 must wait until they submit their tax returns for 2024 to earn the tax credit. 

However, from January 1, 2024, electric car customers will be able to get the money at the moment of sale, provided they agree to transfer the credit to their dealership.

Reform of the Criminal Justice System

Beginning January 1, many states adjusted their criminal justice laws.

Illinois

Illinois will be the first state in the country to abolish cash bail. Courts would utilize a more fair system where pre-trial detention is based on community danger rather than monetary resources under the SAFE-T Act.

California

In 2023, California will become the first state to prohibit the use of rap lyrics in criminal investigations. According to the legislation, a court must decide if the lyrics are admissible as evidence and whether they are closely related to an accused crime.

Additionally, people with violent felony convictions in California can seek to have their records sealed. This option may be available if they have served their sentence and have not committed a new felony crime in the last four years.

Michigan

Following their release from jail, former offenders who do not commit any crimes will have their records expunged in some states.

Up to two felony convictions will be automatically erased ten years after a person’s sentence is completed if they do not commit another crime, according to Michigan’s new laws.

There are several exceptions, such as felonies involving sex offenses and criminal convictions for domestic abuse.

Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer About Changes in State Law?

Whether you need to contact a lawyer about changes in state law depends on the specific changes in the law and how they may affect you or your business.

If you have any concerns or questions about how the changes may impact you, it may be a good idea to consult with a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the laws in your state. 

Only a lawyer can advise you on your rights and responsibilities and help you navigate the legal process. Use LegalMatch to find the right lawyer for your questions today.

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