By Mary Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville
Jan.13, 2020: With the new year came the enactment of many new laws across the nation, some of them with quite significant impact and perhaps portend what might come to us in New York in the near future.
The new laws will change everything from what you put your groceries into to what you call your elected officials to how fast delivery robots can go on your sidewalk.
Law That Bans Single-use Grocery Bags
Following the lead of New York State and seven others, Delaware has banned single-use grocery bags for most retailers.
Law That Relates to Public Officials
New Jersey is retiring the term freeholder, which was used for county leaders. Since it originally referred only to white men who owned land free of debt and could therefore hold office, many found it offensive, so now New Jersey county leaders will be called County Commissioners.
Law That Regulates Robots Delivering Packages
The North Carolina legislature passed a bill that defines and regulates robots delivering packages without remote control or under the supervision of a human. The new law requires delivery devices to obey traffic laws and yield to pedestrians. The devices can't move at a speed higher than 10 mph on sidewalks, weigh over 500 pounds, and must be monitored by an adult who can control that device with some sort of remote control.
In response to the death of George Floyd, many police-related laws were adopted throughout the country.
A new law in California bans police officers from wearing uniforms that have camouflage or otherwise resemble military uniforms.
All uniformed officers in Connecticut are now required to wear their badges in a prominent place. Connecticut State Police must also undergo a mental health screening once every five years.
A new law in Missouri requires all law enforcement officers to undergo training in recognizing implicit bias and learn techniques to de-escalate conflicts.
Laws Related to Identification
In response to the concerns of immigrants, drivers' license, and state ID card applicants in Oregon will no longer be required to show proof of legal presence.
In Colorado, landlords are now prohibited from asking an applicant about their immigration status.
However, beginning this Fall, every airline passenger, 18 years of age or older, must have a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or other authorized form of identification such as a passport.
States are now required to check an applicant's records to verify identity before issuing the new licenses, which incorporate features making them harder to counterfeit. This nationwide directive will take effect October 1, 2021.
Law Related to Privacy
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the toughest in the nation, now allows California residents to demand that companies disclose what data they have collected on them. If users want the data deleted, the company must comply. This law has already prompted many other states to review their privacy measures.
Laws Related to Minimum Wage
Many states raised the hourly minimum wage for 2021, with Virginia and Florida poised for significant increases heading towards New York's 15 dollar per hour by 2026.
The hourly minimum wage in Virginia will rise from $7.25 to $9.50 per hour, and in Florida, it will climb from $8.56 to $10.
About 15 additional cities and counties will reach $15 an hour sometime in 2021, including Flagstaff and Chicago, joining the 25 already at that benchmark.
New Jersey's minimum wage is going up to $12 an hour as part of step increases to eventually get to the $15 number.
Laws Related to Sick Leave
In the same area of employee relations, approximately 1.3 million additional workers in New York State gained access to paid sick leave.
The leave can be used to recover from an illness, care for a sick family member, or seek help for themselves or a family member who has experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking. New York is one of only 15 states that has a paid sick leave law.
Law Related to Borrowing
Students in California now have a Student Borrower Bill of Rights that grants them protection from student loan companies. Under the new law, student loan companies must provide borrowers quality customer service, reliable information, and access to affordable repayment and debt forgiveness programs.
California will be the first state to provide consumer protection standards for student loan borrowers.
Law Related to College Savings
In the same vein, as of January 1, every child born or adopted in Illinois will have $50 deposited in a college savings account intended to keep pace with rising tuition. Sponsors of the measure said children are more likely to attend college if an account is set up for them.
Law Related to Sunscreen
Some new legislation that brings unique issues to the forefront include the banning of the sale of over-the-counter sunscreens in Hawaii that contain Oxybenzone and Octonoxate.
The goal is to protect the state's marine environment as it has been proven that these two chemicals have a significant harmful impact on ecosystems, including coral reefs.
Law Related to Mobile Phones and Cars
Virginia residents can now be pulled over and ticketed by police if they are holding a mobile phone while behind the wheel. It is a primary offense - meaning a driver can be pulled over even if no other traffic laws are being violated.
Laws Related to Marijuana
Four states –Montana, New Jersey, Arizona, and South Dakota – legalized recreational marijuana for adults following ballot measures approved in November.
All greyhound racing has been banned in the State of Florida.
All residents of Mississippi can now freely toast the new year in 2021, no matter where they live, as the state repealed all remaining laws that made it illegal to possess alcohol. This law removed one of the last vestiges of prohibition
Pictured: Mary Marvin
Photo by A. Warner
Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.
Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.
While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.
Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.
The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.
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