New laws affecting teenagers 2016

January 21, 2016

Become change

Happy New Year, class of 16 and younger. Its a new year and of course there are new laws on the books in every state. Here we highlight a few of the biggies.

No shots, no service. California becomes the first state in the nation to legally require all students to be vaccinated unless there are medical concerns in which vaccinating could endanger the minor. Exemptions for religious purposes and personal beliefs are no longer valid. The new law goes into effect July 1, 2016.Gotta light, er, 21-year-old ID? Hawaii is taking a stand against smoking. It has become the first state to raise the legal smoking age to 21. This law also applies to electronic cigarettes. Although the legal smoking age is 18 throughout most the country, more than 100 cities including New York City have raised the age to 21.stop gun violencePhoto by Tony Webster

The wild, wild west. Gun laws, rights and restrictions are a major hot button item among politicians and just about everyone else who has read enough articles on the issue. Here are two examples that demonstrate the opposing views and politics on this controversial issue. In California, people can ask a judge to remove firearms from a relative who they believe is a threat to himself or to others. Meanwhile, Texas has given open carry laws a ton of media attention by making it legal to openly carry a handgun so long as the carrier is licensed by Texas (or a state with reciprocity where its legal there, too). Gun carriers can choose to carry concealed firearms as well and in August 2016, it will be legal to possess concealed handguns on college campuses and universities so long as the carrier has a concealed handgun license. Want to know the laws concerning guns on campus in your state? Click here.

Get license, check. Get to the polls, check. In California and Oregon, when drivers obtaintheir drivers license or renew it, they will be automatically registered to vote. Known as the motor voter laws, these states are at the forefront of the effort to expand voter turnout.Are we going overboard when it comes to hoverboards? New laws in California and New York City are restricting hoverboard use. In California, riders must be 16, wear a helmet and use the boards on streets with a speed limit of less than 35 mph. In NYC, the boards are banned from city streets. Meanwhile, schools and universities across the country are banning hoverboards from campus and in dorms.You work hard for the money! The new year started with higher minimum wages in 14 states. Following a number of initiatives that went into effect in major cities like New York City and Los Angeles, there are proposals in several states to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour. On the other end of the spectrum, the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 since 2009. To find out more about the minimum wage laws in your state, click here.

Are there any other noteworthy new laws out there affecting your life today or your future? Please share with us and well keep a running list throughout the year of laws youth should know about.

Photo at top by AndYaDontStop (Flickr)

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Natalie Jacobs

Prior to joining the team, Natalie worked as a criminal attorney for over five years. She also has worked with Innocence Projects as well as Girls on the Run of Northern Arizona, a character development program for girls in 3rd through 8th grade. She loves living in an outdoorsy mountain town with her family and playing with her four little ones – two kids and two pups.