Three New Arizona Laws Introduced
With 2021 underway, there are important new laws that everyday citizens and lawyers alike should be aware of in Arizona. They cover the minimum wage, driving safely, and marijuana use.
Minimum Wage Increase
Starting Jan. 1, 2021, the minimum wage in Arizona was raised to $12.15 an hour. This marks an increase of $0.15 per hour from the previous hike on Jan. 1, 2020. According to officials, the higher minimum wage stems from the state’s rising cost of living, which was up 1.3% in 2020.
Small businesses, Arizona state workers, and federal workers with less than $500,000 in annual revenue can still use the previous minimum wage. For tipped workers, the minimum wage can be as low as $9.15, but only if workers make up the difference in tips.
Hands Off is Arizona’s new law regarding talking on the phone or texting while driving. As of 2021, drivers can only use smartphones or other electronics in hands-free mode. This makes it illegal to write, send, or read a text message. One cannot support the device with one’s body in any way or scroll social media while driving.
The law does allow for certain safe uses. This includes using electronics for navigation and in emergencies. It also allows using portable devices like headphones or watches (without touching them with your hands) and allows drivers to start and stop a function, such as a call or navigation. The first offense carries a fine of $75 to $149, while second and subsequent violations increase the fines to between $150 – $250.
Legal Recreational Marijuana
As of Nov. 30, 2020, Proposition 207 took effect and made it legal for adults to possess an ounce of marijuana. The process is still underway for dispensary rules and licensing from the Arizona Department of Health Services. As soon as it is complete, adults will be legally able to purchase and possess marijuana. Recent reports indicate that early approvals and sales are poised to begin in February 2021.