The new year has brought with it a few new laws for Massachusetts in 2019. Metro US Boston recently published an article recapping changes that Bay Staters can expect this year, including new laws for tobacco purchase, minimum wage, prisons, and income tax.
Minimum Wage Up, Income Tax Down
First off, there’s good news for Massachusetts workers in 2019. State income taxes are decreasing from 5.1 percent to 5.05 percent and the state minimum wage is increasing from $11 to $12 an hour as part of the process to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023. The minimum wage for workers who receive tips is increasing as well, from $3.75 to $4.35 an hour. This raise ties Massachusetts with California and Washington for the highest state minimum wage in the country. As part of this process, however, the state requirement that employers pay time and a half on Sundays and legal holidays is going to be phased out.
Increased Age for Buying Tobacco
Starting January 1st of this year, the legal age to buy tobacco has been increased from 18 to 21. Tobacco sellers are required to check the ID for any customer who appears to be under 27 years old. Under the new law, retailers who sell to customers who are under 21 years old will face warnings and fines to begin with. Repeated offenses could result in the suspension of their local permit for tobacco sales.
Massachusetts Prison Reforms
Lastly, Massachusetts is enacting some substantial prison reforms this year, including a restriction on how much prisons can use so-called “restrictive housing” and solitary confinement. This change is to protect prisoners’ mental health. Additional reforms include providing inmates with clothing and personal items that conform to their gender identities and allowing prisoners to request that any body searches be done by officers who share their gender identity.
Criminal Defense Services for Massachusetts
Whatever legal changes 2019 has in store, you can count on Thomas Whitney Attorney at Law to stay abreast of all state and federal laws. With over 40 years of experience, attorney Whitney provides aggressive criminal defense services to the Amherst area to ensure that they receive the best representation possible. If you are facing criminal charges, call (413) 256-6234 today to get the counsel you need.