By: Chris Mermigas, Senior Corporate Counsel/DPO at Valid
2020 brings a new decade, new laws, new industry regulations and deadlines for compliance across the globe.
Below are the Top 10 Legal Updates for 2020 in the United States:
- Increased Electric Vehicle Fee. Certain states like Hawaii, Kansas, Alabama, Ohio and Illinois have raised the fee for having electrical vehicles in an attempt to offset the loss of gas tax from the vehicle. The fees vary by state, but expect some of the savings at the pump to go to state government.
- Illinois Recreational Marijuana. Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana. However, it is still illegal to consume marijuana in public, be under the influence while driving, and be under the influence at work if the company has a drug free workplace policy. This follows the 2006 de-penalization in Brazil and last year’s de-penalization by Cook County, Illinois. However, consumers should expect to pay upwards of a 35% to 40% tax on marijuana purchases.
- California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA). California enacted a new GDPR-lite data privacy regulation that seeks to empower California residents to take control of their personal information and prevent unwanted collection or selling of their personal information. Several other states, such as Illinois and New York, are not far behind California in passing data privacy laws similar to the GDPR. For more information about the CCPA see GDPR COMPLIANCE PART 2: THE DATA PROTECTION REVOLUTION CONTINUES TO SPREAD.
- Paid Leave. The state of Washington becomes the fifth state to pass paid family leave for birth, adoption, or a serious medical condition. Employees are eligible for 12 weeks paid leave. Paid family leave is a growing trend popularized and passed by numerous countries in Europe.
- Increase Credit Card Late Fees. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised the late fees for credit cards by $1.00. Originally set at $25.00 for a first instance by the CARD Act of 2009, the CFPB has raised it in recent years to account for inflation. If you have not seen the late fees go up yet, don’t worry. The card issuers are required to provide cardholders with a 45-day notice of the increase.
- Credit Card EMV Chip Payment Machine Deadline. The introduction of the EMV chip requirement in 2015 that urged merchants to transition their magnetic stripe payment machines to EMV chip payment systems hits the end of the road in 2020. VISA and MasterCard are requiring all merchants to migrate to EMV chip payment machines by October 1, 2020. Merchants wanting to avoid financial liability for fraudulent transactions have already transitioned to EMV chip payment machines, and now the hold outs will have to transition over by October 1, 2020 to avoid issues with VISA and MasterCard. The utilization of EMV chip and signature will greatly improve the security of credit cards, but remains less secure than the EMV chip and PIN utilized in Europe.
- New W-4. The IRS has updated the W-4 form. The half sheet form has now been replaced by a full page form with more inputs for workers. However, the allowances box has been removed, meaning workers can no longer request withholding allowances tied to personal exemptions. For more information on the new W-4, visit the IRS FAQs.
- Unleashed 5G Technology. 2020 will see an increase in mobile wireless speeds as the FCC has adopted new rules that reduce regulatory impediments for implementing 5G Technology, Facilitate America’s Superiority in 5G Technology (the 5G FAST Plan). Construction projects for upgrading and building towers have already begun and speeds for 5G Technology are significantly faster than 4G.
- REAL ID Deadline. In 2005, the federal government passed the REAL ID Act strengthening requirements on obtaining a driver’s license in each state. Driver’s licenses are most commonly used for air travel. Beginning October 1, 2020, the TSA at the airport will not accept non-compliant driver’s licenses. You must obtain the new REAL ID driver’s licenses for air travel. States, including Illinois, have recently transitioned to REAL ID and are making a publicity push for citizens to obtain the new driver’s license before the Oct. 1st
- Smoking Age – 21. The FDA has officially raised the age to buy tobacco products to 21. This change has been trending throughout the county for several years now and will apply to tobacco, vape and hookah. Violators can face local law penalties along with civil penalties and license suspension from the FDA.
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