Marijuana, guns, TikTok: Hundreds of new laws took effect July 1. Here’s what you need to know
When the clock struck midnight on July 1, hundreds of new laws went into effect in states across the country.
While the vast majority of this legislation will not change the day-to-day lives of most people, there are some new state laws that will have a much more significant impact on both residents and visitors.
New legislation in Florida will bring changes to abortion rights and sex education in public schools. Maryland will legalize recreational marijuana.
Here is what you need to know about all the major legislation taking effect this month:
‘Don’t say period’ bill becomes law in Florida
More than 200 laws took effect in Florida on Saturday, including several related to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ crusade against “woke ideology” in education.
One law is dubbed by critics as the “don’t say period” bill because it could prohibit teaching of the menstrual cycle before the sixth grade, according to the Florida lawmaker who authored the bill.
Some students may begin their period at the age of nine or while they are in the third grade.
The same bill also encourages sex education teachers to inform students that abstinence until marriage is the “expected standard” and to teach the “benefits of monogamous heterosexual marriage.”
A different law aimed at higher education took effect prohibiting state universities from using federal or state funding to support programs that “advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Florida’s “Heartbeat Protection Act,” which bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, took effect this month.
The law provides exceptions for abortions if the life of the mother is at risk and up to 15 weeks for abortions for victims of rape, incest, or human trafficking. The law also makes it possible to charge anyone who participates in violating the ban with a third-degree felony.
Marijuana for Maryland
Maryland became the 21st state to legalize cannabis for recreational use on Saturday.
The law will allow Maryland residents aged 21 and older with a valid government ID to purchase and possess recreational marijuana for use in their private residences.
Cannabis, however, remains prohibited under federal law.
California enacts new law on sealing criminal records
Under a new law that took effect on July 1, California will now allow former offenders to seal their criminal records if they have not been convicted of another felony within four years of finishing to serve their sentence.
The bill, however, makes exceptions for people who have been convicted of more violent offenses and those who have to register as sex offenders.
As of Saturday, Juneteenth is also now recognized as an official state holiday. Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021, but it was not an official state holiday in California until now.
No no-knock warrants for Minnesota
More than one year after a SWAT team carried out a no-knock warrant and police killed Amir Locke, a 22-year-old Black man, Minnesota banned almost all no-knock warrants with a few exceptions.
Exceptions are allowed if the occupants of a premise where a search warrant is being carried out pose a threat of death to members of law enforcement or others.
There is also an exception to the ban if law enforcement officers determine they can not conduct a search while a property is unoccupied.
Minnesota also legalized recreational marijuana for adults, though most parts of the new law take effect Aug. 1.
Cannabis in Connecticut
Connecticut residents 21 and older can grow up to six cannabis plants, though each household is restricted to 12.
The state also enacted early voting, which will begin Jan. 1, 2024.
Abortions and guns in North Carolina
The results of a conservative push in North Carolina went into effect Saturday, as a 12-week abortion ban went into place.
Abortions there were previously allowed up to 20 weeks. Now they’re legal up to 12 weeks.
It also became illegal for anyone in North Carolina to mail abortion drug Mifepristone to others.
Meanwhile, a new law allows concealed carry on school properties and makes it easier to buy handguns.
TikTok ban in Georgia, changes to gender-affirming care
A new law that took effect Saturday bans minors from receiving gender-affirming care in Georgia. Licensed medical professions are barred from providing hormone therapy or performing gender-transition surgery to anyone younger than 18.
Providers could lose their medical licenses if they do not comply.
Georgia also banned TikTok on state-owned devices.