About 40,000 state laws taking effect at the start of the new year will change rules about getting abortions in New Hampshire, learning about gays and lesbians in California, getting jobs in Alabama and even driving golf carts in Georgia.
Several federal rules change with the new year, too, including a Social Security increase amounting to $450 a year for the average recipients and stiff fines up to $2,700 per offense for truckers and bus drivers caught using hand-held cellphones while driving.
NBC News, the National Conference of State Legislatures, The Associated Press, and other organizations tracked the changes and offered their views on the highlights.
Many laws reflect the nation's concerns over immigration, the cost of government and the best way to protect and benefit young people, including regulations on sports concussions.
Eight states will raise the minimum wage, NBC News reported. They include Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Colorado, Ohio, Vermont and Florida, NBC News said. San Francisco will become the first city to raise its minimum wage above $10 per hour. The new $10.24 minimum is nearly $3 above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, set in 2009.
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