New Laws That Come Into Effect in the U.S. in 2020

An Amazon Go supermarket in New York City

By Anna Breuer on 1 January 2020
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While the year 2020 will bring with it multiple resolutions as well as somewhat premature attempts to name the decade the Roaring Twenties, it is also bringing with it numerous new laws, some which will be of interest to and will possibly impact travelers.

Here’s a survey of what’s changing in 2020.

Nationwide, anyone under 21 will not be permitted to purchase tobacco products including electronic cigarettes and vaping products that contain nicotine.

New York State is prohibiting grocery stores and supermarkets from giving customers single-use plastic “carryout” bag to carry their purchases in.  Shopes in New York City will be required to charge customers five cents for each paper bag they receive. The new rules don’t apply to restaurants or pharmacies, however.

In California, a new law, AB 5, requires companies to consider gig economy workers and freelancers such as drivers for Uber or Lyft or self-employed writers as employees and not independent contractors if the work they perform is part of the company’s core business or if the employer directs the worker in his job.

California, which is also home to many of the country’s tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Yahoo, will require companies to complay with new privacy and transparency standards as part of the California Consumer Privacy Act. California is the first state in the United States to implement a law similar to the European Union’s 2018 data protection law.

Illinois, the land of Lincoln, is now the 11th state in the Union to legalize recreational marijuana.  Starting January 1, 2020, anyone who is 21 years of age with a driver’s license will be able to purchase cannabis products at state-licensed stores.

In Florida, law enforcement officers will be able to pull drivers over who are texting while driving.  Texting while driving has been illegal in the state for years, but police officers weren’t permitted to stop drivers soley for that reason.

Finally, the state of Washington will forbid companies from putting expiration dates on gift cards starting July 1, 2020.  The new law will ensure that recipients of gift cards are protected if they do not use them in a timely manner and companies will not be allowed to levy service charges on gift guards that have not yet been redeemed.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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