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Read & heed: New year brings new laws

Minimum wage, family leave, 21 to smoke and car seats regs


Last updated 1/8/2021 at 2:18pm

The new year brings a new dawn and new regulations for Washington State residents.

Beginning Jan. 1, the minimum wage in Washington state increases from $12 to $13.50 an hour because voters approved an initiative phasing in a wage increase.

Beginning this year, Washingtonians will be able to take up to 18 weeks of paid family and medical and leave. To learn more about this benefit, go to paid leave.wa.gov.

People wanting to buy a pack of cigarettes or vaping products will need to be 21 years of age as of Jan. 1, 2020.

The measure is aimed at preventing young people from starting to smoke or vape. In Washington state alone, over $2.8 billion in health care costs can be directly attributed to the use of tobacco.

Buckling up gets a little more specific in 2020, when new laws regulating at the use of booster seats go into effect.

The new law says: Children up to age 2 must ride in a rear-facing car seat; Children age 2-4 must ride in a car seat with a rear or forward-facing harness; Children 4 years old and older must use a booster seat until they are 4’9” tall. Children up to age 13 must ride in the back seat when practical.

Using the common sense approach, the law specifies that a booster seat is required “until the vehicle lap and shoulder seat belts fit properly, typically when the child is between 8 and 12 years of age.”


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