New Arizona Laws in 2019
January began a new legislative year, and also meant a time for new laws to go into effect. The state Congress passed many laws in 2018, many of which were effective the first of the year. Our Phoenix personal injury lawyers recommend knowing the most important changes and how they may affect your life. Knowing how these laws affect your daily life can help you plan ahead and make any adjustments that help you remain compliant with state and federal statutes.
A New Minimum Wage
Effective in January, the minimum wage rose by 50 cents to $11 an hour. It is a continuation of a law passed in 2016, which calls for 50-cent increases to the minimum wage for four years. Expect one final increase in 2020.
Public Safety Fees for Drivers
A state law that created some controversy takes effect in 2019: a public safety fee for drivers. Now, anyone who wants to renew their vehicle registration will have to pay an additional $32 in fees. The law also pertains to street legal golf carts, whose owners will have to pay $5. Finally, people who pay for their registration two years in advance will have to pay the fees for both years at the time of registration. Though not all are happy with the new law, the state government says that this money will go to the highway patrol and other matters pertaining to preserving public safety.
The Arizona government recognizes the role physical activity has in reducing obesity and promoting healthy habits in children. As a result, the state legislature passed a law that requires all public schools to offer two recess periods per school day for grades kindergarten through fifth grade.
Further Transparency in Healthcare
Arizona citizens, like every other state, now enjoy protection from unexpected bills under a federal law that requires hospitals to post their prices online. However, a state-specific law takes transparency a step further by allowing patients to argue balance billing with the Department of Insurance. Patients can file a dispute when they receive treatment from an in-network hospital, but a specialist within the hospital is out of network.
The Farm Bill and CBD
President Trump signed the Farm Bill into law in 2018, which takes effect this January. Among other things, it makes CBD and hemp industries legal. Though CBD was already legal in 47 states, legalizing it at the federal level allows the Department of Agriculture to oversee its production and regulate its use in food. The Farm Bill does more than just legalize hemp and CBD, however; it also provides nutritional assistance to low-income families and provides government subsidies for conservation initiatives and other agricultural programs.
Alimony Tax Law
Another federal statute affecting Arizonans is the new alimony tax law. The new statute affects all couples seeking divorce in 2019 and beyond. Starting this year, alimony is no longer tax deductible. Additionally, recipients of alimony will no longer have it count toward taxable income. Some tax experts predict that this change could lead to an increase of $6.9 billion for the government in the next ten years.
2019 brings a new session of Congress and the prospect of new laws. However, it is also a time when laws from 2018 and even previous years go into effect. Arizonans can expect many changes this year, from the federal legalization of CBD to increased playtime for children at school. Certain measures, like the increase in the state minimum wage, serve to increase the quality of life for low-income individuals. Knowing how your rights and responsibilities may change, especially with regard to healthcare and public safety, can help you prepare for any new bills that may arise.