(Mario Jarjour/WBZ NewsRadio)
BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Massachusetts is getting some new laws in the New Year that range from the minimum wage rate to banning handheld electronics while behind the wheel.
Here’s a look at what to expect:
Minimum wage increase
The minimum wage in the state is increasing from $12 an hour to $12.75. It’s set to increase by 75 cents every year until it reaches $15 an hour in 2023.
The new wage went into effect on Jan. 1.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
The new law aims to provide Massachusetts workers with paid leave for medical or family reasons. It is set to be funded through a payroll tax where workers are required to pay 0.75 percent of their eligible wages.
Contributions for October through December of 2019 are due Jan. 31. All benefits will be available by July, 2021.
Automatic voter registration
Automatic voter registration went into effect Jan. 1, just weeks before the Feb. 12 deadline to register to vote in the 2020 presidential primary.
A new hands-free driving law bans the use of handheld electronics while driving in the state.
Drivers can still use their phone’s GPS as long as it is mounted to the dashboard of their car.
The law is set to go into effect on Feb. 23.
Flavored tobacco ban
Massachusetts is the first state in the country to ban flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol cigarettes.
The law also calls for a 75 percent excise tax on vaping products.
The sale of flavored vaping products was banned immediately when Gov. Charlie Baker signed the law back in November. The full ban is set to go into effect on June 1.
State income tax drops
The state income tax rate is falling to 5 percent this year. It was previously at 5.05 percent.
The decrease was approved by voters 20 years ago, and is expected to help out hundreds of thousands of workers in Massachusetts.
WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) reports