The start of the New Year means new laws going into effect in Massachusetts. 2019 marks some major changes in the state’s minimum wage, and tobacco and e-cigarette sales to minors.
One of the biggest changes of 2019 went into effect on New Year’s Eve.
A new state law prohibiting the sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products to those under the age of 21.
Those who turned 18 before December 31 will be the only exemption to the new law.
Julie Carvalho, a Springfield resident, said “I think people are always gonna find a way. If they really want something, they’re going to try and find a way to get it. But I think that since it is something that can affect brain development, it’s definitely not bad to try and curb it by raising the age limit.”
The law also clarifies that e-cigarettes are included in the definition of smoking, so now any place where smoking is prohibited, also prohibits the use of e-cigarettes.
Also new for 2019? A $2 surcharge on vehicle rentals in the state to go towards police training.
With the money raised going into a municipal police training fund. One Springfield resident said local cities and towns could use the funding.
“The police and the town, the whole town,” Seymour Evans of Springfield said. “I think they need help. They get more training, more training. It would be good for them.”
Another major change comes for workers making minimum wage in Massachusetts, with the minimum increasing from $11 to $12 an hour on January 1.
The state’s minimum wage is set to continue to increase over the next four years, reaching $15 in 2023.