Can’t pay your ticket? This year, Arizona is making it legal to work off what you owe with community service. This, and several other new laws to make note of are going into effect in 2016 in Arizona and around the country.
New Laws in Arizona
Pay Your Ticket with Community Service
Senate Bill 1117 permits anyone who is unable or unwilling to pay the cost of court fees, fines, and tickets to work off what is owed by participating in community service. Each hour of community service pays for $10 of debt.
Expanded Protection Against Identity Theft
Arizona is one of the worst states for identity theft crimes, but expansions to existing laws are in place this year to help protect citizens by allowing people to place a credit freeze on themselves so that credit reports can’t be released without permission from the individual. This law is designed to prevent thieves from applying for credit cards or loans using someone else’s identity and credit history.
Vexatious Litigants Law Update
Judges can no longer waive court fees and costs for any person designated a “vexatious litigant,” or someone representing themselves, who files repeated court actions largely to harass others, unreasonably delay court proceedings or bring actions without “substantial justification.”
The only exception would be in family court cases involving divorce and child support.
Previously, judges could waive fees for those unable to afford the cost of filing a lawsuit so that financial standing couldn’t prevent someone from going to court.
New Laws Around the Nation
Minimum Wage Increases
Several states are increasing the minimum wage this year, including those known for a high cost of living like California, Hawaii and New York.
Fast-food workers in New York will receive the initial increase in pay now for an overall plan to bump minimum wage up to $15 by 2018 in New York City and by 2021 in the rest of the state.
Other states increasing minimum wage in 2016 include Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.
Gun Laws in Texas
Texas started off the New Year with a bang as new open carry laws went into effect on Jan. 1. Now, anyone who previously had a concealed carry license can openly carry a holstered handgun in designated areas.
Another new gun law coming to Texas in August will allow the carry of concealed handguns on university campuses.
Vaccinations Required in California
As a result of last year’s measles outbreak, which left 147 people in the U.S. sick, California will no longer accept personal and religious belief exemption waivers, requiring vaccinations for all children at public and private schools.