The new year marks the start of numerous new state laws affecting a broad swath of life — from birth to marriage to death and, of course, taxes. Most take effect Tuesday. A look at some of them:
States continue to move in different directions. A new Washington law will require contraception coverage in health insurance and, if a policy covers maternity care, also will require it to cover abortions.
A Kansas law, facing a court challenge, bans telemedicine abortions, in which patients seeking abortion pills consult with doctors through teleconferencing.
In Tennessee, a new law says if an ultrasound is performed before an abortion, the woman must be given the opportunity to learn the results.
Arizona will require increased state reporting about abortions, and providers must ask women if they were coerced into seeking the procedure or are victims of sex trafficking or sexual assault.
Hawaii will become the sixth state, along with Washington D.C., to legalize medically assisted suicide. The law will allow doctors to fulfill requests from terminally ill patients for fatal prescription medication. Two health care providers must confirm a patient’s diagnosis, prognosis and ability to make decisions about the prescription.
A Louisiana constitutional amendment, approved by voters, will require unanimous juries in order to convict people of serious felony crimes. It reverses a Jim Crow-era practice that had allowed as few as 10 members of a 12-person jury to convict defendants in cases not involving death sentences. Oregon will now be the only state to allow convictions under split juror verdicts.
A California law will prohibit people age 15 and younger from being tried as adults for crimes.
Utah is adopting the nation’s strictest drunken driving threshold — 0.05 percent blood alcohol content. The state’s hospitality and ski industries have expressed concern that the new law will exacerbate Utah’s reputation as a Mormon-dominated state where it’s tough to get a drink. But proponents include the National Transportation Safety Board, which says people start to become impaired with a first drink.
An Idaho law will require first-time convicted drunken drivers to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicles for one year.
A new Oregon law will expand equal pay requirements. The law extends an existing prohibition on sex-based pay discrimination to also include race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability and age. Pay differences must be based on seniority, merit, experience and other factors. Employees who prevail in complaints with the state Bureau of Labor and Industries can recover back pay for up to two years.
California will require corporate boards of publicly traded companies to include women by the end of 2019.
One new Illinois law will extend the current 72-hour waiting period for purchasing handguns to all firearms; another will allow relatives or law officers to ask courts to remove guns from people believed to be a danger to themselves or others.
California, which already bars people younger than 21 from buying handguns, will extend that to long guns with a few exceptions for military members and licensed hunters. The state also will ban guns for people with certain domestic violence misdemeanors and require eight hours of training and live-fire exercises to carry concealed weapons.
A Tennessee law will ban local governments from having “sanctuary” policies for people living in the country illegally. It bans local government policies that restrict compliance with federal immigration detainers. The law threatens to withhold future state economic development money from those that don’t comply.
Colorado will make it easier for immigrants living in the country illegally to renew state driver’s licenses. The state has been issuing such licenses since 2014, but they had to be renewed in person every three years at one of just three state offices devoted to that purpose. The law’s Republican sponsors argued the economies of their rural districts were at stake.
The minimum marriage age in New Hampshire will rise to 16 — up from 13 for girls and 14 for boys. The new law was championed by Cassie Levesque, who was a senior in high school in 2017 when she began her two-year push to raise the marriage age as part of a Girl Scouts project. The experience led her to run for a state House seat, which she won in November. Another new law prohibits judges from signing off on marriages involving a person under the age of consent unless there is clear and convincing evidence the marriage is in the child’s best interest.
A new Delaware law will require employers with 50 or more employees to provide sexual harassment training to current workers within the next year, or within one year of hiring new employees. Training must be offered every two years thereafter.
California employers with at least five employees will have to provide at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to supervisors and at least one hour of training to all other employees, conducted this coming year and every two years thereafter.
Another new California law will bar confidential settlements to resolve claims of sexual assault or harassment, gender discrimination or retaliation, although it still will allow the identity of the accuser and amount paid to remain secret in some cases. A new law also will bar contracts and settlements that waive a person’s right to testify about sexual harassment or criminal conduct.
At least a half dozen states will begin enforcing sales tax laws on some out-of-state retailers. Georgia, for example, will collect a 4 percent sales tax on online retailers who make at least $250,000 or 200 sales a year in Georgia. The U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for states to collect billions in additional sales taxes from online retailers with a ruling in June. Some states began collecting those taxes before the new year.
Missouri, which has not passed an online sales tax law, will cut its individual income tax rate by one-half of a percentage point. The tax cut will be partially offset by phasing in a reduction in the state tax break for taxes paid to the federal government.