A new year means new laws go into effect

With the beginning of a new decade right around the corner, 2020 is bringing with it a few major changes to the state.

Starting January 1, law enforcement will be hitting the streets to ticket drivers using their phone while behind the wheel. On Wednesday, texting and driving will become a primary offense. For those even holding their phones while in a work zone or school zone, they could receive a fine.

"The kids walk to and from school and we want to make sure they're safe as well the construction zones these folks work in there daily. We want to make sure they have safe place to work," said Sgt. John Shea with the Pinellas Park Police Department.

A new law, taking effect immediately, will require anyone who wants to purchase tobacco and vaping products to be 21-years-old or older. The change raises the age from 18 years old and comes on the heels of vaping concerns and pushback.

"This will help keep middle and high school students safe as tobacco products we see increasingly falling into their hands," said Todd Young, an Indiana congressman.

For some, 2020 means they might be getting a few extra bucks on their paycheck.

The state's minimum wage is getting a little bump, increasing from $8.46 to $8.56 an hour. However, this coming November, voters will get a chance to share their two cents on whether hourly pay should be raised to $15.

"We believe that a living wage of 15 dollars an hour wage does all of that. It gives people the right to work with dignity, and then to have those things, to have food, to have medicine, to have clothing, to have decent shelter," said attorney John Morgan.

Another change coming to Florida in the coming year is the Honor and Remember Flag. In 2019, the state joined 25 other states adopting the flag as a way to honor and recognize military personnel who died in the line of duty and their families.

The flag will be flown on Veteran's Day or when a Florida military member dies as a tribute to honor them and their gold star families.