New Laws Take Effect In 2020 From Electric Cars, Data Privacy, Taxes & More
Wave Of New Laws To Take Effect In 2020: Electric Cars, Data Privacy, Taxes & More New Laws Take Effect In 2020 From Electric Cars, Data Privacy, Taxes & More
The new year will bring new charges for some owners of electric vehicles as states search for new sources of tax revenue.
A Colorado “red flag” law will law allow family, household members or law enforcement to petition a court to have guns seized from people deemed a threat to themselves or others.
A California measure described as the nation’s most sweeping data privacy law will require many companies to tell consumers, upon request, what personal data they collect about them, why it’s collected and what other entities receive it.
The new year will bring new charges for some owners of electric vehicles, as an increasing number of states seek to plug in to fresh revenue sources to offset forgone gas taxes.
In Hawaii, the charge will be $50. In Kansas, $100. In Alabama and Ohio, $200.
New or higher registration fees go into effect Wednesday for electric vehicle owners in at least eight states. For the first time, a majority of U.S. states will impose special fees on gas-free cars, SUVs and trucks — a significant milestone as the trend toward green technology intersects with the mounting need to pay for upgrades and repairs to the nation’s infrastructure.
Though electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles comprised less than 2% of new vehicle sales in 2018, their market share is projected to rise substantially in the coming decade. State officials hope the new fees will make up for at least part of the lost gas tax revenue that is essential to their road and bridge programs.
“I think states are still trying to determine what is a fair or equitable fee on these electric vehicle owners,” said Kristy Hartman, energy program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Imposing fees on electric vehicles is one of several societal trends reflected in laws taking effect in 2020.
Twenty-one states will raise their minimum wage, including several to $12 an hour or more. Illinois will become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana for adults. And California will join about 10 states that enacted measures this past year relaxing deadlines to sue or prosecute for prior sexual abuse — a reaction to the ongoing sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church.
Until now, the federal government and some states have offered incentives to people to buy electric vehicles. But federal tax credits are phasing out for some of the most popular models made by Tesla and General Motors, and some states also are switching course.
Illinois, for example, had offered a two-year license plate for electric vehicles for $35, a sizable discount over its basic $98 annual registration fee. Under a law that raised both registration fees and fuel taxes, electric vehicle owners will have to pay the new basic annual rate of $148, plus an additional $100 intended to offset the lost fuel taxes.
“It’s kind of a blanket penalty for anyone who chooses to go electric,” said Neda Deylami, a Tesla owner who founded Chicago for EVs, a group that advocates for electric vehicles.
Three-quarters of the revenue from Alabama’s new $200 fee on electric vehicles and $100 fee for plug-in hybrids will go to fund state and local roads and bridges. The other quarter will fund grants for electric charging infrastructure, and will expire once electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles surpass 4% of all vehicles in the state.
The fee is designed to bring “more than just a fairness relative to maintenance and construction of infrastructure,” said Alabama state Rep. Bill Poole, a Republican, who sponsored the legislation. “I think it went further in terms of planning for the future.”
Because average commuting distances vary by vehicle owner, it’s difficult to set a universally fair fee for electric vehicles, said Loren McDonald, a California-based industry analyst who runs the website EV Adoption.
“States are actually being very reasonable about this,” McDonald said, noting that some are charging less than what vehicle owners might otherwise pay for fuel taxes.
Other states with new or higher electric vehicle fees taking effect in 2020 include Iowa, Oregon and Utah. California, which accounts for nearly half of all electric vehicle sales in the U.S., is to collect a $100 fee on new “zero-emission” vehicles starting July 1.
Some Other Notable Laws Set To Take Effect Wednesday Include:
The nation’s oldest law governing when police can use deadly force is being revamped in California to become what the American Civil Liberties Union describes as one of the strongest in the U.S. California’s previous law allowed deadly force when officers had “reasonable fear” for their safety. The new law will allow it only when necessary to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious injury to officers or bystanders, but it doesn’t include a definition of “necessary.”
Another new California law increases officers’ training on handling confrontations. The changes come after Sacramento police in 2018 fatally shot Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old black vandalism suspect, leading to major protests.
A new California law will create greater state oversight of doctors who write medical exemptions for school children’s vaccinations. The law generated passionate legislative debate and drew hundreds of supporters and opponents to the Capitol this past year. It will allow the state to investigate doctors who grant more than five medical exemptions in a year and schools with vaccination rates under 95%, the threshold that experts say means a population is resistant to a disease such as measles. The law will phase out existing medical exemptions over the coming years.
A Colorado “red flag” law will law allow family, household members or law enforcement to petition a court to have guns seized from people deemed a threat to themselves or others. A seizure can be extended to 364 days, and the burden of proof is on the gun owner to get firearms back.
The law was championed by Democratic Rep. Tom Sullivan, whose son, Alex Sullivan, was killed in the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting. Some Republican lawmakers and the group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners have sued to try to block the law, and about 12 of the state’s 64 counties have passed resolutions declaring themselves 2nd Amendment “sanctuaries” in response to it. Some sheriffs have said they won’t enforce the court orders.
By contrast, a Tennessee law could allow people to more easily get permits to carry concealed guns. The law creates a less-expensive permit option that doesn’t require live-fire training and instead allows people to take an online firearms training or safety course.
Arkansas will become the latest state to wade into the national immigration debate with a new law cutting off discretionary state funding for “sanctuary” cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Other Republican-led states have enacted similar laws. By contrast, several Democratic-led states have adopted sanctuary laws restricting local law enforcement officers from asking about people’s immigration status or notifying federal authorities when an immigrant is about to be released from state custody.
A North Carolina law will alter the process to request and fill out mail-in-absentee ballots in response to a fraud investigation of the 9th U.S. House District race in 2018 that led to a do-over election in 2019. Much of the new law targets a practice called “ballot harvesting,” in which political operatives gathered hundreds of absentee ballots from voters and forged signatures or filled in votes. The new law will keep information confidential about people who request absentee ballots until the actual in-person election day.
At least seven states will begin requiring electronic prescriptions for controlled substances such as opioids. The movement to do away with handwritten prescriptions by doctors is one of many steps states have been taking to try to curb opioid addictions and overdoses.
New laws taking effect in Arizona, Iowa, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Tennessee mean a dozen states will now have such laws. Virginia is to implement its law in July, and 13 additional states have passed electronic prescription laws that are to kick in during 2021.
A California measure described as the nation’s most sweeping data privacy law will require many companies to tell consumers, upon request, what personal data they collect about them, why it’s collected and what other entities receive it. Consumers can ask companies to delete their personal information and not sell it. The law also prohibits companies from selling data related to children younger than 16 without consent. An economic analysis prepared for the state attorney general’s office has estimated the total cost of initial compliance with the law at $55 billion.
Another new California law will bar police from using facial recognition software in body-worn cameras, a move that follows New Hampshire and Oregon.
An Illinois law seeks to shed light on the use of artificial intelligence during the hiring process. Employers who ask applicants to self-record video interviews and submit them for consideration will have to notify applicants and obtain their consent if they intend to use artificial intelligence to analyze the person’s facial expressions or fitness for the position.
Twenty years after voter approval, Massachusetts will enact the final reduction in a gradual state income tax cut. The 2000 ballot measure was to reduce the state’s 5.95% tax rate to 5% by 2003. But lawmakers froze the rate at 5.3% in 2002 and passed a law allowing a more gradual step down to resume if the state hit certain revenue benchmarks. With those conditions satisfied, the tax rate is finally to fall to 5% in 2020.
In Missouri, a corporate income tax law signed in the final hours before former Gov. Eric Greitens resigned in May 2018 will go into effect in 2020. The law will cut Missouri’s corporate income tax rate from 6.25% to 4%, making it one of the lowest rates in the nation. But another provision in the law will do away with an option for calculating corporate income that could result in higher Missouri tax bills for some multi-state businesses.
Employees in Washington can start applying for time off under the state’s new paid family leave law. Businesses and workers have been paying into the program — approved by the Legislature in 2017 — for the past year through premiums on wages. Starting in 2020, eligible workers can receive 12 weeks paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child or for a serious medical condition of the worker or a family member, or 16 weeks for a combination of both. Washington is the fifth state to launch a paid family leave law, to be followed by Washington, D.C., in July. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine and Oregon have passed laws that take effect between 2021 and 2023.
Twenty-Four New Laws Passed During The 86Th Session Of The Texas Legislature This Summer Will Take Effect Jan. 1, 2020.
Taking Effect Jan. 1, 2020 Are:
• HB 69: Relating to the right to vacate and avoid liability under a residential lease after a tenant’s death.
• HB 831: Relating to the residency requirement to be eligible for public office.
• HB 918: Relating to providing discharged or released inmates with certain documents, including documents to assist the inmate in obtaining employment.
• HB 1002: Relating to the term of a parking permit issued to a residential tenant by a landlord.
• HB 1254: Relating to the eligibility of land secured by a home equity loan to be designated for agricultural use for ad valorem tax purposes.
• HB 1313: Relating to ad valorem taxation.
• HB 1526: Relating to the treatment of a nursery stock weather protection unit as an implement of husbandry for ad valorem tax purposes.
• HB 1607: Relating to a deduction under the franchise tax for certain contracts with the federal government.
• HB 1815: Relating to the deadline for filing an application for an allocation of the value of certain property for ad valorem tax purposes.
• HB 1885: Relating to the waiver of penalties and interest if an error by a mortgagee results in failure to pay an ad valorem tax.
• HB 2441: Relating to the entitlement of a person who is disabled and elderly to receive a disabled residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation from one taxing unit and an elderly exemption from another taxing unit.
• HB 2604: Relating to the number of emissions inspections performed by certain vehicle inspection stations.
• HB 2726: Relating to the commencement of construction of a project following the issuance of a draft permit for a permit amendment to an air quality permit.
• HB 3496: Relating to the licensing and regulation of certain pharmacies; providing an administrative penalty.
• HB 4730: Relating to the creation of the City of El Paso Municipal Management District No. 1; providing authority to issue bonds; providing authority to impose assessments, fees, or taxes.
• SB 195: Relating to collecting and reporting by the Department of Family and Protective Services and the Health and Human Services Commission of certain information relating to certain alcohol and controlled substance use and treatment.
• SB 346: Relating to the consolidation, allocation, classification, and repeal of certain criminal court costs and other court-related costs, fines, and fees; imposing certain court costs and fees and increasing and decreasing the amounts of certain other court costs and fees.
• SB 579: Relating to the exemption from ad valorem taxation of certain property owned by the TexAmericas Center.
• SB 943: Relating to the disclosure of certain contracting information under the public information law.
• SB 1337: Relating to credit in, benefits from, and administration of the Texas Municipal Retirement System.
• SB 1402: Relating to regulation by certain counties of lots in platted subdivisions that have remained undeveloped.
• SB 2060: Relating to the contents of a notice of appraised value sent to a property owner by the chief appraiser of an appraisal district.
• SB 2296: Relating to definition of a common paymaster.
• SB 2531: Relating to the disposition of an ad valorem tax protest by means of an agreed order.
The following bills have sections that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and throughout the new year:
• HB 3: Relating to public school finance and public education; creating a criminal offense; authorizing the imposition of a fee. Certain sections that will take effect Jan. 1, 2020, other sections will take effect Sept. 1, 2020.
• HB 492: Relating to a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster. This Act takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, after HJR 34 was approved by voters as Proposition 3 in the Nov. 5 constitutional amendment election.
• HB 914: Relating to the regulation of bingo games, the act takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, except Sections of the Occupations Code, as added or amended by this Act, which took effect Sept. 1, 2019.
• HB 1532: Relating to the regulation of certain health organizations certified by the Texas Medical Board; providing an administrative penalty; authorizing a fee. This Act took effect Sept. 1, 2019, except the Occupations Code, as added by this Act, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2020.
• HB 2859: Relating to the exemption from ad valorem taxation of precious metal held in a precious metal depository located in this state. This Act takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, after HJR 95 was approved by the voters as Proposition 9 in the Nov. 5 constitutional amendment election.
• HB 3522: Relating to assignment of certain death benefits payable by the Employees Retirement System of Texas. Sections 1 and 2 of this act take effect Jan. 1, 2020.
• HB 4390: Relating to the privacy of personal identifying information and the creation of the Texas Privacy Protection Advisory Council. Section 1 of this act takes effect Jan. 1, 2020.
• HB 4611: Relating to certain distributions to the available school fund. This Act takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, after HJR 151 was approved by voters as Proposition 7 in the Nov. 5 constitutional amendment election.
• SB 2: Relating to ad valorem taxation; authorizing fees. This Act takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, except certain sections effective Aug. 26 and Sept, 1, 2019. Sections regarding Tax Code, as added or amended by this Act, take effect Sept. 1, 2020 and January 1, 2021, and Jan. 1, 2022.
• SB 7: Relating to flood planning, mitigation, and infrastructure projects. This Act took effect immediately; Article 2 takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, with the approval HJR 4 as Proposition 8 in the Nov. 5 constitutional amendment election.
• SB 26: Relating to the allocation to and use by the Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Historical Commission of certain proceeds from the imposition of state sales and use taxes on sporting goods. This Act takes effect September 1, 2021, except Section 1, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2020 with voter’s approval of SJR 24 as Proposition 5 in the Nov. 5 constitutional amendment election.
• SB 212: Relating to a reporting requirement for certain incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking at certain public and private institutions of higher education; creating a criminal offense; authorizing administrative penalties. This Act took effect Sept. 1, 2019, except Section 51.260, Education Code, as added by this Act, took effect immediately and another Section effective Jan. 1, 2020.
June 1, 2020
• SB 891: Relating to the operation and administration of and practice in and grants provided by courts in the judicial branch of state government; increasing and imposing fees; creating a criminal offense.
This Act took effect Sept. 1, 2019, except Section 2.06 effective Oct. 1, 2019; Article 10, which takes effect June 1, 2020; Section 1.04 takes effect Oct. 1, 2020; and certain other Sections take effect Jan. 1, 2021.
July 1, 2020
• HB 1865: Relating to the licensing and regulation of massage therapy; requiring a student permit; authorizing fees. Section 5 of the act takes effect July 1, 2020.
• SB 1336: Relating to the workers’ compensation classification system and rate filings. Section 6 of the act takes effect July 1, 2020.
Sept. 1, 2020
• HB 3: Relating to public school finance and public education; creating a criminal offense; authorizing the imposition of a fee. Certain sections will take effect Jan. 1 and Sept. 1, 2020.
• HB 1540: Relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas Funeral Service Commission; authorizing fees. Section 17 of the act takes effect Sept. 1, 2020.
• HB 2858: Relating to adoption of a uniform swimming pool and spa code for use in municipalities in this state.
• SB 2: Relating to ad valorem taxation; authorizing fees. This Act takes effect January 1, 2020, except certain sections relating to Tax Code which take effect Sept. 1, 2020, Jan. 1, 2021, and Jan. 1, 2022.
• SB 198: Relating to payment for the use of a highway toll project.
• SB 616: Relating to the continuation and functions of the Department of Public Safety of the State of Texas, the conditional transfer of the driver licensing program to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, the abolition of the Texas Private Security Board, the transfer of the motorcycle and off-highway vehicle operator training programs to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, and the regulation of other programs administered by the Department of Public Safety; imposing an administrative penalty; authorizing and repealing the authorization for fees. Sections 6.001-6.004 will take effect only if the report required by Section 6.005 is not submitted within the period prescribed, and Article 8 takes effect Sept. 1, 2020.
• SB 2119: Relating to the transfer of the regulation of motor fuel metering and motor fuel quality from the Department of Agriculture to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation; providing civil and administrative penalties; creating criminal offenses; requiring occupational licenses; authorizing fees. This Act takes effect Sept. 1, 2020, except Sections 10 and 11 which took effect immediately.
• SB 2342: Relating to the jurisdiction of, and practices and procedures in civil cases before, justice courts, county courts, statutory county courts, and district courts.
Oct. 1, 2020
• SB 891: Relating to the operation and administration of and practice in and grants provided by courts in the judicial branch of state government; increasing and imposing fees; creating a criminal offense.
Certain sections of the act will take effect Jan. 1, 2021.
Dec. 1, 2020
• HB 1545: Relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, including the consolidation, repeal, and creation of certain licenses and permits; changing fees. This Act takes effect Sept. 1, 2021, except except certain sections that will take effect Dec. 31, 2020.
Dec. 31, 2020
• HB 1545: Relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, including the consolidation, repeal, and creation of certain licenses and permits; changing fees.
In California, New Year Brings New Regulations For Businesses
Laws on privacy and classifying independent contractors take effect Jan. 1 in the Golden State.
On Jan. 1, California will usher in a host of largely progressive laws that will mean major changes for consumers, workers and businesses, big and small.
The laws, passed by a solidly Democratic legislature and governor, include first-of-their-kind consumer-privacy protections, a sea change in the way employers classify independent contractors and a cap on rent increases in a state grappling with sky-high housing prices.
For many businesses, the new laws will require significant changes to how they collect data on consumers and whether they pay workers overtime or provide paid sick leave, changes that aren’t required by any or most of the other 49 states.
But rebuffing the new laws could mean taking a seat outside the Golden State’s booming market, which boasts 39 million people and a gross domestic product of more than $3 trillion.
“Whether you’re doing business that’s headquartered or started in California or not, it’s still major business,” said Kevin McKinley, director of state government affairs for the Internet Association, an industry group that lobbies on behalf of technology companies.
Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., both based in California, spent millions of dollars collectively to lobby legislators in 2019, most prominently trying to fight what is known as the state’s gig-economy law. The measure, called Assembly Bill 5, or AB5, takes effect Jan. 1 and will require employers in many industries to classify their workers as employees except in very limited circumstances, making them eligible for workers’ compensation, overtime and other labor protections.
The homegrown ride-hailing giants—who rely on fleets of workers operating as independent contractors and have more drivers in California than anywhere else—have pegged the law as an existential threat. They are employing a three-pronged strategy to escape the law’s provisions, threatening a 2020 ballot measure to exempt themselves, and hoping for a fix in the Legislature. On Monday, Uber and food-delivery company Postmates Inc. filed a lawsuit against the state in hopes the courts will provide relief.
The law would also affect a variety of other industries. Trade groups representing truckers and freelance writers have filed suits against the law and are pushing for new exemptions as legislators open the 2020 session.
Some lawmakers appear open to tweaks.
“The California economy is a diverse and complicated place and there were certain flagrant violators that we were trying to address, for sure,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who added that he is open to considering some changes to AB5. “We’ll look at all of those on an individual basis.”
California’s landmark data-privacy law, passed in 2018, will also present a new challenge for big tech companies. The law gives consumers the right to request that companies collecting their personal data delete the information and stop selling it. The measure has broad implications for the advertising industry, which employs troves of personal data collected online.
Big tech companies have so far varied in their responses to the privacy law.
Google, owned by Alphabet Inc., has reworked some of its practices to comply. But Facebook Inc. has said that because it doesn’t consider most of its common online activities to constitute sales of data, it won’t change its web-tracking practices.
Privacy activist Alastair Mactaggart is pushing a 2020 ballot initiative to strengthen the law by adding a state enforcement agency, limiting geolocated ads and expanding the ability of consumers to sue when their data is breached.
That uncertainty, Mr. McKinley said, has many tech companies on alert. “Certainly we’re concerned about a patchwork, generally, of laws in states,” he said. “I think there are good arguments to be made that this is not how U.S. privacy law should be set.”
California will also become the first state in the nation to extend health-care coverage to some low-income adults who are in the country illegally. As of Jan. 1, people between the ages of 19 and 26 will be eligible for benefits under Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, regardless of immigration status. That measure was part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first budget last year.
Mr. Newsom is poised to release his newest budget proposal next week.
The new cap on rent increases will prevent most landlords from raising rents more than 5% annually for the next decade and is expected to apply to an additional two million apartments statewide not currently covered by rent control. Apartments built in the past 15 years are exempt, as are most single-family homes.
Some landlords have responded by employing no-fault evictions, a move that will also become more difficult in the new year, and say it could prompt them to raise rents more frequently.
Some officials say more needs to be done—particularly around denser development near transit centers and streamlining of local and state regulations that can slow home construction—to alleviate the housing shortage and combat homelessness.
The latter is a frequent point of contention between state leaders and President Trump, who have sparred over the causes of California’s deepening crisis. In numbers released in December, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development called California the primary driver of an increase in homelessness nationwide. The state experienced a 16% increase in homelessness in 2019, and the increase in its homeless population outstripped numbers in the rest of the 49 states combined.
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