New state laws target controversial topics of gender, guns and abortion

New state laws that go into effect Saturday target some of the most controversial topics in America, including abortion, sex and guns. Meanwhile, some motorists leaving for an extended holiday on Independence Day may face higher taxes at the gas pump.

The beginning of July marks the start of the fiscal year in most states and is also a common date for new laws to take effect.

This year, state legislatures have continued a partisan push in opposite directions on contentious issues. As a result, residents of some Republican-led states will face new restrictions on abortion and gender-affirming treatments, while residents of some Democratic-led states will see tougher gun laws. .

Here is an overview of some of the new laws:


In recent years, Republican-controlled states have passed laws to limit gender-affirming care for transgender minors, restrict school curricula on human sexuality, and specify which school restrooms transgender people can use. Several of these laws come into force on Saturday.

A ban on care, including puberty blockers, gender-affirming hormone therapy and surgery for minors in South Dakota goes into effect Saturday, as does a narrower ban in Georgia allowing puberty blockers and ongoing hormone therapy to continue.

So far, courts have blocked enforcement of other broader bans, including new hormone blocker laws that were set to begin Thursday in Kentucky and Saturday in Tennessee and Indiana.

At least 17 other states have passed similar laws.

A law set to go into effect in Indiana requires schools to notify a parent if a student requests a name or pronoun change at school. An Idaho law requires schools to notify parents when there are known changes in a student’s mental, emotional, or physical well-being, but does not list gender identity as a specific reason.

Florida, Idaho and Kansas have all passed new laws prohibiting transgender people from using school restrooms associated with their gender identity, which at least 10 states have adopted, including Arkansas, where the policy is due to come into effect on August 1.

The Kansas law goes further, also applying to prisons, domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers. The Kansas attorney general said the law also prevents the state from changing gender markers on birth certificates and driver’s licenses and requires it to reverse any previous changes, though that view has been disputed.

Another Kansas law that goes into effect prohibits transgender girls and women from participating in girls’ and women’s sports competitions. At least 20 other states have also passed similar bans, including three where courts block enforcement.


Abortion will be prohibited after 12 weeks gestation in most cases in North Carolina. The state, with a Republican-controlled legislature and a Democratic governor, became one of the last in the South to impose tougher abortion restrictions after Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that protected abortion rights nationwide. for nearly 50 years.

There are some exceptions to the law in cases of medical emergencies, pregnancy caused by rape or incest, or when a doctor discovers a fatal abnormality in the fetus.

The changes leave Virginia, which adopted no new restrictions, as an outlier in the South. A ban in Florida has yet to go into effect and those in South Carolina have been suspended by a court.

A law banning abortion pills was due to take effect in Wyoming, but a judge in June blocked the measure.


Several states are taking steps to expand the legal use of marijuana.

Recreational marijuana will become legal for adults 21 and older in Maryland, following a constitutional amendment approved by voters last fall. About 100 stores that have already been licensed to sell medical marijuana will be the first to sell for recreational use, and people can also grow their own marijuana at home.

In Connecticut, where recreational cannabis has been available in licensed retail stores for about six months, it will now become legal for people to grow it as well.

In Minnesota, a new law allowing adults to possess and grow marijuana won’t go into effect until August 1. But the budget provisions of the law take effect Saturday, allowing the state to begin filling regulatory positions and collecting taxes on some already legal products like seltzers and gummies containing hemp-derived THC.


Florida will become the last state to allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit. The new law comes five years after the then government. Rick Scott, a Republican, signed gun-restricting legislation following a fatal shooting at a school in Parkland. Under current GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, momentum has returned to expanding gun rights. Another new Florida law will ban credit card companies from tracking gun sales.

A law allowing concealed weapons without a license for those 21 and older has also been passed in Nebraska but does not go into effect until September 10.

Vermont is tightening gun restrictions. A new law imposes a 72-hour waiting period for purchasing firearms. It also creates a felony of negligent gun storage and expands the state’s “Red Flag” law to allow prosecutors, family and household members to petition a court to prohibit guns. to some people.

In California, a new standard of conduct comes into effect for the gun industry under a law that also makes it easier to sue gun manufacturers and dealers.


Starting Saturday, Connecticut babies born in need will benefit from a state “baby bond” program. Children whose birth is covered by a Medicaid program will have $3,200 automatically invested in their name that could later be used to buy a Connecticut home, pay for college or job training, invest in a Connecticut business, or save money. for retirement.

Connecticut was the first state to pass baby bond legislation in 2021, but its launch has been delayed due to a funding dispute. A legislative compromise passed this session funds 12 years of investments up front, using about $390 million in surpluses from restructuring the state’s teachers’ retirement fund.

Similar programs have been adopted in Washington, DC and California, but they are not operational.


A new law in Massachusetts will allow people in the country to illegally apply for a state driver’s license. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia now have such laws.

In contrast, a new Florida law revokes driver’s licenses issued by other states to people living in the country illegally. Florida law also requires Medicaid-participating hospitals to ask patients if they are citizens and requires businesses with 25 or more employees to verify work eligibility or risk loss of business licenses and $1 fines. $000 per day per employee.


Mississippi and Virginia will begin requiring pornography websites to verify that users are 18 or older, which supporters say will help protect children from sexually explicit material.

Similar laws are already in effect in Louisiana and Utah, but face legal challenges in both states.


Taxes will increase in some states and decrease in others.

The sales tax rate will drop in South Dakota and New Mexico. But a 1% food sales tax holiday will end in Illinois.

Motorists will face higher gasoline taxes in more than half a dozen states, including Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri and Virginia. Taxes for electric vehicle charging stations take effect in Montana and Utah, although Montana’s tax initially applies only to new stations.

After years of litigation and change, Washington will become the first state to deduct a tax from workers’ paychecks to fund a mandatory long-term care insurance program for residents who cannot live independently due to illness, injury or conditions related to aging.


Associated Press reporters across the United States contributed to this story.

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