As New Year Begins, Laws Take Effect Around Country


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iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As 2014 begins, laws will go into effect all around the country, including federal laws like the Affordable Care Act and state laws regarding minimum wage.

Time magazine reports that minimum-wage workers in New Jersey will see their hourly pay increase to $8.24. Similar laws raised the minimum wage to $8.70 in Connecticut and $8 in Rhode Island and New York.

Nine other states — Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — will see an increase in minimum wage tied to annual cost of living adjustments, Time reports. After the laws go into effect, 21 states will have higher minimum wage laws than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.

In Colorado, recreational marijuana will also be legal for use starting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Those looking to purchase marijuana must be 21 years old.

Nationally, millions of insurance policies purchased under the Affordable Care Act go into effect on Wednesday, with the latest figures saying 2.1 million enrolled on either the federal or state exchanges. However, the contraceptive mandate that would have required all employers — including religious nonprofit groups — to provide contraception, sterilization or abortion drugs to their employees was blocked, at least temporarily, on Tuesday night by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The federal government has until Friday morning to respond to Sotomayor’s decision.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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