New state, local laws affecting business

Jul 26 2019 | 05:52 AM

    By Joyce M. Rosenberg
    (AP) With the arrival of July 1, many states and municipalities have new laws and regulations in effect affecting small businesses. While statutes in jurisdictions outside a company's location or operating area may not have a direct impact on the business, legislatures often follow the lead of one another _ so a new law in one state or city might be the inspiration for a similar law in another state.
    A look at some of the new laws:
    Minimum wages are going up 75 cents to $14 an hour in Washington, D.C., by $1.15 to $10 an hour in New Jersey and 50 cents to $11.25 in Oregon.
    New York City has joined the list of cities that have prohibited restaurants and other business from using polystyrene foam containers, cups and plates for take-out food, and foam peanuts used as packing material. (The foam stuff will be off-limits to city residents on Jan. 1.)
    Tennessee is legalizing NCAA basketball tournament bracket pools, which are illegal in many states even though millions of people take part in them, including pools that are set up where they work. But there is a provision that business owners should be aware of: The pools cannot be managed by a business entity, so bosses may want to steer clear of running March Madness pools themselves. And, there's a $1,000 limit on the size of the pool.
    In Minnesota, $40 million in state funds are being given to rural areas to improve their broadband access.
    Virginia has new laws making it harder for landlords to evict tenants who are late with their rent.
    With thousands of state and local laws and regulations going into effect every year, many affecting businesses might not get much publicity. Some business owners might not find out about a law until they've been cited for a violation. Keeping up with changes may be difficult. Some suggestions to help owners stay informed:
    Join local chambers of commerce and trade, industry or professional organizations. These groups often keep an eye on legislative changes.
    Check your state or local government website to see what actions the legislatures or councils have taken.