New laws in 2019: Protections for domestic violence victims; minimum wage hikes; transgender support

Mark Abrams
January 02, 2019 - 1:56 pm
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As the new year begins, a raft of new laws go into effect in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. 

Pennsylvania school districts will now receive state help to install cameras on the exterior of school buses to help catch drivers who speed around stopped buses picking up or dropping off kids. The driver's license number will be recorded and a fine imposed.

Also in Pennsylvania, guns belonging to those who have a protective order against them or a domestic abuse conviction must surrender the weapons within 24 hours. The law requires the guns be turned over to police or a lawyer and cannot be given to a family member for safe-keeping.

In Pennsylvania, tougher penalties for repeat offenders of the drunken driving laws are now in effect. A third-time offender could face a felony charge, and anyone who unintentionally causes the death of someone while repeatedly driving drunk faces mandatory jail time.

Emergency responders in Pennsylvania also will now be able to rescue an endangered pet left inside a hot vehicle and not be held liable for a broken window or other damage to the car or truck.

In New Jersey, it is now illegal for any traveling shows to produce public performances featuring exotic animals, such as elephants. The law covers carnivals, circuses, displays, fairs, parades, petting zoos, and animal rides.

Also in New Jersey, the minimum wage went up to $8.85 an hour on Jan. 1, an increase of 25 cents.

In Delaware, the minimum wage climbed 50 cents an hour to $8.75. Also, a new training minimum wage and a youth wage went into effect -- to be no more than 50 cents an hour less than the new minimum wage.

Come this summer, there will be no smoking on New Jersey's public beaches or state parks. The ban also includes vaping.

Next month in New Jersey, transgender residents can change their genders on their birth certificates. The law requires a registrar to amend the birth ceriticate based on how the individual identifies as male, female or undesignated.

And, in Delaware, motels and hotels that have appliances emitting carbon monoxide or have an attached garage must be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors.