[JURIST] A slew of new US state laws will greet the New Year when they take effect on January 1. The state minimum wage will increase in Arizona [state Department of Labor (DOL) fact sheet], California [state DOL fact sheet], Delaware [state DOL fact sheet], Massachusetts [state Division of Occupational Safety fact sheet], New York [state DOL fact sheet], North Carolina [state DOL fact sheet], and Pennsylvania [state DOL fact sheet]. Currently, the federal rate is set at $5.15 [US Department of Labor fact sheet]. Some states' minimum-wage workers will see it go as high as $7.50 [see California and Massachusetts fact sheets].
In addition, California will force coal-burning plants interested in selling their products to the Golden State to install "greener" technology starting the first of the year. A number of states will be increasing regulation of immigration (Colorado, HB 06S-1017 text, PDF), eminent domain (Illinois SB 3086 text), sex offenders (Illinois, SB 2962 text), elections [North Carolina, HB 88 text], campaign finance (North Carolina and Pennsylvania), privacy, [SB 335 text. PDF] and school harassment (Alaska and South Carolina). Other states will implement legislation to prevent wrongful convictions (Wisconsin), decrease taxation of its poorest citizens (Alabama and West Virginia), lower taxes for its highest earners (North Carolina), increase taxes on cigarettes (South Dakota and Texas), eliminate the marriage penalty (New York and Oklahoma), raise the number of tests performed on newborns to detect life-threatening disorders (Georgia), increase the availability of healthcare to the working poor (Massachusetts), and scrap the extra fee associated with license plates that feature the American flag and words "In God We Trust" (Indiana). The National Conference of State Legislatures provides a partial breakdown. AP has additional coverage.