Dozens of state and federal laws go into effect on Jan. 1, including laws on abortion rights, gender transition care and minimum wage.
Since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022, 14 states have passed near-total bans on abortion, but two laws taking effect Monday protect abortion rights.
In Washington state, a new law aims to increase abortion access through changes in insurance coverage. And California's shield law protects health care officials from out-of-state litigation for providing abortion services to patients traveling from states with abortion restrictions.
At least 20 Republican-controlled legislatures passed bans or restrictions on gender-affirming care for minors in 2023.
Starting Monday, Idaho and Louisiana threaten fines and penalties for health care providers offering such care.
West Virginia's new ban allows treatment with parental consent and approval from two doctors.
But Ohio's governor stood apart from fellow Republicans when he vetoed his legislature's ban Friday.
Twenty-two states and at least 40 cities and counties across the country will increase the minimum wage. Seven states and Washington D.C. will have minimum wages of $15 per hour or more.
"The good news is that lawmakers are increasingly seeing Americans agree on this; people want to increase the minimum wage," said Rebecca Ryan, economist and founder of Next Generation Consulting Inc. "They also understand it doesn't actually cost their governments anything. I mean, this is a law that mostly gets passed along to employers. Employers foot the bill."
There's also good news for student loan recipients and applicants.
A new federal law allows employers to match employees' qualifying loan payments with a contribution to the employer-sponsored retirement account.
And the Department of Education has made its Free Application for Federal Student Aid application, or FAFSA, shorter and easier to fill out.
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