When the new year rings in next Wednesday it will bring with it a host of new laws in Washington state.
Included is a rise in the minimum wage from $12 an hour to $13.50. That will be the last annual increase for the minimum wage under Initiative 1433.
That measure was passed by voters in 2016 when the minimum wage was $9.47 an hour.
Numerous small businesses have said the latest raise will create financial difficulties.
The Wenatchee Valley Humane Society said the new minimum wage played a role in its decision to close its Club Pet boarding and doggie day care facility.
The $1.50 increase is the largest under I-1433 since 2017, when the rate jumped from $9.47 per hour to $11. In 2018 and 2019, the increase was 50 cents each year.
Age to purchase tobacco raised
Also going into effect in 2020 is a new law that raises the age for purchasing tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21. Washington will become the 10th state to raise the age for buying such products to 21.
That measure was passed by the state Legislature this year.
Paid medical leave kicks in
In addition, the Legislature approved paid family medical leave, with many workers in 2020 eligible for 12 to 18 weeks of paid family leave for the birth or adoption of a child or for serious health issues for the worker or a family member.
Workers will receive 90 percent of their regular pay, with a maximum of $1,000 a week.
Car and booster seat laws change
Also, there are new requirements for children in car and booster seats, courtesy of the 2019 Legislature.
Included in that is all children 4 years and older and under 4-feet-9-inches tall must use a booster seat until they’re 10 to 12-years-old.
All children ages 2 and younger must ride in a rear-facing car seat.