Several major pieces of legislation went into effect on Saturday, July 1, impacting education, policing, abortion, and drug use.
Red states and blue states have both made some significant changes. Here is a roundup of some of the most impactful laws now being enforced across the country.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation at a breakneck pace following the end of Florida’s legislative session this spring, building a launching pad for his presidential run.
The most major new laws impact education, gender issues, immigration and abortion, with one bill banning ‘instruction in acquired immune deficiency syndrome, sexually transmitted diseases, or health education’ until students are in sixth grade or older.
The legislation prompted anger from Democrats who pointed out that girls can start getting their period before entering sixth grade.
Another new bill bans school staff both from asking students their preferred pronouns and providing their own if they don’t align with their biological gender. A similar bill makes it illegal for a person to enter a bathroom that doesn’t correspond with their biological gender.
The state’s six-week restriction on abortion also went into effect on Saturday after DeSantis, in April, signed Florida’s bill, which prohibits most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Florida lawmakers also moved to bolster DeSantis’ immigration enforcement, with new laws taking effect this week that grant more funding to the governor’s immigration relocation program. The state has also introduced new penalties for companies that hire illegal immigrant workers.
A Maryland law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana wen to into effect on Saturday.
The state is now the 21st in the country to make such a move. The legislation requires users to be 21 years or older and in possession of a government ID. They also must only use the marijuana in their private residences.
Criminals in California can now move to have their records sealed after completing their sentences as long as they do not re-offend within four years.
The new law, approved in March, has carve-outs for certain crimes. Those convicted of sex offenses and serious violent crimes are not allowed to have their records sealed.
The convictions will remain visible to law enforcement if the convict ever re-offends or has other contact with the justice system, but employers, landlords and educators will not have access to the information.
California is the eighth state in the U.S. to pass a so-called ‘clean slate’ law.
Another California bill allows residents to sue gun manufacturers and sellers who offer banned products in the state, such as so-called ‘assault weapons’ and ghost guns.
The state also acted to make Juneteenth an official California state holiday.
A Minnesota law banning no-knock warrants went into effect on Saturday, coming as a result of the death of 22-year-old Amir Locke last year.
Locke was killed in a no-knock police raid in downtown Minneapolis, with an officer shooting him three times within seconds of entering an apartment. Locke, who was sleeping on a couch at the time, was not listed in the warrant.
Locke’s family has sued the city after prosecutors declined to press charges on the officer who fired the shots.
North Carolina legislators passed further restrictions on abortion access and cracked down on the trading of the abortion drug mifepristone.
The state’s abortion limit went from 20 weeks to 12 on Saturday, becoming the latest state to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s 2022 ruling overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper had vetoed the legislation earlier this year, but the Republican-held legislature overrode the move.
The new law provides exceptions for up to 20 weeks for cases of rape and incest, and 24 weeks if a doctor determines the mother’s life is in danger.
A new law expands where residents with a permit can carry concealed firearms also went into effect.
Nevada is now enforcing a heavy crackdown on drunken driving, spiking penalties for those who cause substantial bodily injury when driving while intoxicated.
One of the new laws opens up DUI convicts to punitive damages from anyone injured in a crash. Another bill cranks up the maximum sentence for causing injuries while drunken driving. Those convicted of the crime now face a sentence of 20 years, up from just six. An additional seven years can be added on if the driving incident took place in a school zone.
Last but not least is Georgia. The state has begun enforcing a ban on downloading TikTok onto state-owned devices.
Another new state law bans doctors from administering any gender transition services such as hormone therapy or surgery to minors.
Finally, the state also amended its Georgia Smoke Free Air Act to include a ban on vaping and using other electronic smoking devices in ‘enclosed areas in places of employment.’