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The New Year Brought Changes to Many U.S. Laws

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The start of a new year can bring many resolutions, and it also usually brings new laws. So far, 2020 has seen numerous legal changes across the United States. Updated laws and amendments have gone into effect in several states, affecting a wide variety of criminal offenses, family law cases, and other legal matters. Law reform is a reflection of societal changes, and updates to the laws are meant to address the ever-changing values and needs of our communities. Some laws are created and passed at the federal level, while others are made by the states. The laws often differ significantly between one state and another, meaning that different laws may apply to people within a single geographical area. It is important to keep abreast of any changes to legislation that might affect you as a citizen or an attorney defending a client. 

States Enact Different Legislation 

Many bills that were signed into law last year went into effect on January 1, 2020. One notable change is the minimum wage for workers, which was increased in 21 states and 26 cities and counties throughout the United States. In more than 12 of these locations, the rate will now be at or above $15 per hour, which many call a true “living wage.”

A few more notable changes to U.S. laws include: 

  • Illinois: As of January 1, 2020, recreational marijuana is legal for people over the age of 21. Users can now possess up to 30 grams of the drug. 
  • New York: After the first of the year, judges in New York are no longer setting money bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent offenses, including some drug charges. According to a report by The New York Times, that means thousands of individuals who are in jail awaiting trial will be released. 
  • Colorado, Nevada, Hawaii: New “red flag” laws mean family members, police, and others can petition a court to have a person temporarily blocked from owning or possessing firearms if a judge determines that person is a threat to themselves or others.
  • California: A new privacy law allows consumers to find out what information companies have gathered on them, ask them to delete the data, and request not to have it sold to third parties. Another new law hopes to reduce or eliminate the number of deadly police shootings by enforcing a higher standard by which officers can use deadly force. Formerly, this type of force could be used “whenever reasonable” but is now to be used “only when necessary.”

Contact Elite Lawyer Today

At certain times, laws can change if they become outdated or inappropriate for the citizens they are meant to protect. As a legal professional, it is imperative to keep up with new legislation as well as any changes to existing laws in your state. At Elite Lawyer, we recognize attorneys from all over the country who excel in different practice areas. We are dedicated to providing a comprehensive directory of the nation’s most distinguished attorneys. To learn more about how to become an Elite Lawyer or to nominate an attorney for the Elite Lawyer award, contact us or call 833-403-5483 today.





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