CLEVELAND (WJW) — The dawn of a new year means new laws that Northeast Ohioans have to obey and tax code changes. Here's a breakdown of some of the new laws and changes coming to Ohio in 2020.
Plastic Bag Ban
In Cuyahoga County shoppers may find themselves looking for a new way to carry their groceries.
Certain stores, like Giant Eagle, are selling reusable shopping bags to comply with the county's ban on single-use plastic bags that went into effect Wednesday in communities that did not opt-out of the new law.
According to Cuyahoga County's ordinance, the "disposable plastic bag" ban will apply to bags made from "either non-compostable plastic or compostable plastic provided by retail establishment to a customer at point of sale for the purpose of transporting purchased items."
The ordinance includes a written warning for first offenses, followed by a $100 fine then a $500 fine for second and third offenses, respectively. The fines would be imposed against the retailers and be enforced by the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs.
Ohio repeals Pink Tax
Also going in effect in the new year, on April 1, is the state of Ohio's repeal of the tax on feminine hygiene products.
Most states still tax tampons and other menstrual products, including pads and cups. They're often classified as "luxury items" rather than necessities that might not be taxed, such as food or medical supplies.
Ohio is among about a dozen states that have recently changed such policies.
Front license plates no longer required
Another new law that generated spirit debate about the Buckeye State is about license plates. Starting July 1 front license plates will no longer be required in Ohio.
Law enforcement had opposed the new law on the grounds that it would make it more difficult for police officers and witnesses to identify vehicles involved in crimes, but those who support the change say it will bring Ohio in line with other states.
"I've known people that didn't want to put them on their brand new car because it didn't look good or they didn't fit, but they got pulled over, so I think that's a good law," said Sam Maul.
Fee for owners of electric cars, hybrids
Owners of electric and hybrid vehicles will pay fee in 2020. Owners of electric cars will pay $200 and owners of hybrids will pay $100.
Anthony Pitts of Avon Lake says he can't argue with the state's rational that the owners of green cars need to shoulder some of the load to maintain roads and highways.
"We have to pay, everyone uses it so we're going to have to pay for it," said Pitts. "You know, to me, it's well worth the additional cost."
Ohio is one of eight states that will charge a fee to owners of electric and hybrid vehicles in 2020.
Increased minimum wage
Additionally, another new state law raises the state minimum wage from $8.55/hour to $8.70/hour, which is below the $15/hour sought by many minimum wage workers.
Non-tipped employees will see a 15 cent increase from $8.55 to $8.70 per hour. Employees receiving tips will see a 5 cent increase from $4.30 to $4.35 hourly.
Also, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce, employers are required to pay for overtime at the rate of one and one-half the employee’s wage rate for time worked over 40 hours a week, except for employers
grossing less than $150,000 per year. Click here for the latest on Ohio minimum wage.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.55/hour.