LOS ANGELES - Hundreds of new laws are going into effect that Americans should be aware of in 2022.
Public health and financial security were major concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. In many states, new legislation focused on minimum wage increases, as well as law enforcement reform.
The federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 an hour, a rate that applies in states without their own minimum wage laws.
New 2022 Arizona state law
Starting on Jan. 1, Arizona’s minimum wage will increase from $12.15 an hour to $12.80 an hour under a law approved by the state’s voters in 2016 that gradually increases the bottom rate employers are allowed to pay.
The increase in 2022 is the second since the phased-in wage boosts hit $12 an hour and automatic increases based on the cost of living increases kicked in.
Arizona’s minimum wage was just $8.05 an hour when groups that advocate for low-income workers collected enough signatures to put a ballot measure boosting the lowest wages on the ballot. The measure was opposed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and business groups like the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. They argued it would hurt the state’s economy but that that did not happen. Instead, Arizona’s economy has soared.
But a majority of voters approved Proposition 208 by a 58% to 41% vote in November 2016. Wages went to $10 an hour the following year and have increased every year since. The measure also guaranteed paid sick time.
New 2022 California state laws
In California alone, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed 770 new bills into law in October.
Some notable ones include a state minimum wage hike which will hit $14 on Jan. 1 for employers with 25 employees or less and an increase to $15 for those with 26 or more employees.
Another new law focuses on altering California's penal code so that spousal rape is no longer treated differently than rape.
In addition, California will be extending rights for Native American tribes' use of emergency vehicles. Starting in 2022, the definition of "emergency vehicle" will be expanded to include those owned or operated by a federally recognized tribe, responding to emergencies, fires, etc.
AB-798 would also exempt drivers of tribal ambulances from needing a license from the CHP Commissioner.
New 2022 Illinois state laws
In Illinois, nearly 300 new laws will impact the Prairie State.
The Senate Democratic Caucus has outlined 10 out of the nearly 300 news laws that are the most interesting and will impact Illinois residents all across the state, such as giving
students excused mental health days and making sure pharmacies are straightforward about their prices.
New 2022 Massachusetts state laws
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill on Dec. 22 that sets new standards for the egg industry, averting what the industry had projected would be a scarcity of eggs available for sale in the state.
Lawmakers had approved the legislation aimed at changing standards to a 2016 voter-approved animal welfare law that required eggs and meat farmed and sold in the state to come from livestock that was not confined to tight spaces.
The new standards would allow farmers to hold hens in spaces of less than 1.5 square feet provided they have access to vertical space.
New Hampshire’s new 2022 state laws
In New Hampshire, a new year brings new laws including an abortion ban that was passed as part of the state budget.
The budget Gov. Chris Sununu signed in June contained a provision prohibiting abortion after 24 weeks of gestation, with exceptions for the mother’s life or physical health. It takes effect Jan. 1, and Democrats already have drafted legislation seeking to repeal the new restrictions and to establish state-level protection for abortion access. Some also want to include the right to make reproductive medical decisions a constitutional right.
"Make no mistake, effective January first, the state of New Hampshire will be denying a woman the dignity to make personal, private decisions and instead of inserting government into medical choices," Rep. Marjorie Smith, D-Durham, said at a news conference earlier this month.
New Hampshire lawmakers also passed three animal-related bills that take effect Jan. 1.
One makes it a misdemeanor to maliciously remove a tracking collar or microchip from someone else’s dog. The bill, which also makes stealing a dog a felony for a second offense, was prompted by what supporters described as a growing problem of "dog flipping" in which people steal dogs to sell for profit.
Another will expand the state’s animal cruelty laws and make it illegal to beat, whip, torture or mutilate any wild animal, fish or bird. The third requires drivers who injure or kill cats to notify police or the pets’ owners or else face a $1,000 fine, a mandate that has long existed for run-over dogs.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.