New Laws in Effect

As the ball dropped in New York and across the nation, hundreds of laws from state legislatures silently became effective. From worker rights to school resources, these laws impact residents statewide. Some are unique, while others reflect current topics dominating the national discourse.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed 730 bills into law, with 87 more awaiting her review. The new laws cover a wide variety of issues, including raising the minimum wage, limiting the ability to use public funds for private security, and protecting the rights of victims and survivors of crime.

In an effort to tackle the opioid epidemic, a new law named after Matthew Horan will help decrease the chances of accidental fentanyl overdoses by allowing local pharmacies and health care providers to distribute overdose reversal medication. Another law, the Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security Act or ELVIS, provides protections for people who want to control the use of their likeness in advertising or other commercial activities.

Missouri will now make it a misdemeanor to sleep or camp on state-owned land without authorization. The state hopes the new law will help homeless people find temporary shelters and assistance programs. The same law will allow local governments to allocate up to 25% of the money they receive from the state toward homeless outreach teams.

Learn how legislation becomes a law in the United States by learning about Congress, the legislative branch of our federal government. Once a bill is introduced in either the House of Representatives or Senate, it is assigned to a committee whose members will research, discuss, and possibly make changes to the bill before it is brought up for a vote. If the bill passes both houses of Congress, it will become a law.

New York State has its own set of laws, governed by the Constitution, laws passed by the New York legislature and periodically codified in the New York Statutes. Thousands of different statutes are in effect, covering everything from the criminal code to the civil rights laws to the administrative codes. The State also has numerous boards and commissions that regulate specific industries, as well as local laws, ordinances and regulations. The State’s courts and prosecutors also enforce these laws. The New York Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the State of New York are both branches of the state’s judiciary. They hear appeals from lower courts and hear cases brought by the Attorney General and other state agencies. The courts also issue binding precedent, which guides lower courts in their decision-making. The Court of Appeals also serves as the final arbiter of the State’s legal matters, including its interpretation of federal and constitutional law.