2020 New Laws: Higher minimum wage, gig worker benefits and health-cost caps

New laws for 2020

Los Angeles — As the clock struck midnight, there were new laws that took effect across the country. The new decade started with a nice bonus for millions of workers.

Twenty-one states are raising their minimum wage. Florida is raising the state minimum wage $0.10 an hour, while Washington State's minimum wage increased $1.50 to $13.50 an hour.

In California, gig workers, including rideshare and delivery drivers, are now considered employees, making them eligible for paid sick leave and other benefits. Uber and Postmates are challenging the new law in court. On Tuesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked the law from impacting more than 70,000 independent truckers.

To help combat skyrocketing drug costs, Colorado is the first state to put a $100 copay cap on a monthly supply of insulin.  

In California, natural hairstyles, like afros, braids, and dreadlocks are now legally protected. This follows recent incidents, nationwide, of African Americans  being unfairly targeted because of their hair.

Starting Wednesday, all new houses built in California must have solar panels, a significant energy savings, but it also will add almost $10,000 to the cost of construction.

Washington is now the fifth state to raise the minimum age to 21 for buying tobacco or vaping products. That could also be a federal law later this year. Illinois now joins 10 other states in legalizing the use of recreational marijuana.

Also in Illinois, it is now illegal to stream video while driving, proving that some laws are designed to protect us from ourselves.