A new year means some new Arizona laws are now in effect
A new year means new beginnings, and the same holds true for some state laws.
The vast majority of new laws become official 90 days after the end of the legislative session in which they were approved, but some are delayed for a later date, often to give agencies time to prepare for their implementation. In many cases, those delayed laws go into effect on Jan. 1 of the following year.
That means this month saw new laws that have the potential to impact Arizonan wallets and criminal records go into effect.
More money in your pocket — maybe
The passage of Proposition 202 in 2006 means that the state’s minimum wage keeps pace with inflation rates. After last year’s surging inflation, Arizonans making minimum wage saw a bump in their paychecks from $12.80 to $13.85 starting Jan. 1.
Filing your taxes may net you some gains — if you fall in the right tax bracket. A new law that went into effect this month, at the start of the 2023 tax year, empowers those involved in trading cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens, commonly called NFTs, to write them off as deductions or gifts.
And an income tax cut package approved in 2021 by Gov. Doug Ducey, who touted it as a step towards reducing the burden on everyday Arizonans, was also implemented this month, a full year ahead of schedule. The policy eliminates the graduated income tax scale in favor of a flat 2.5% tax rate for everyone. Critics say it overwhelmingly benefits the wealthy and has negligible impacts for middle- and low-income earners.
Some help keeping your nose clean
Under a law approved two years ago that went into effect on Jan. 1, Arizonans can now petition the court to seal their criminal records, allowing them to start anew without the stigma that research shows can negatively affect housing and employment opportunities. After completing the conditions of their sentence or probation, people with lower level misdemeanors must wait two years to have their records sealed and those with felonies must wait up to ten years for higher level offenses. Violent aggravated felonies and sexual offenses are not eligible to be sealed.
Reckless drivers can also catch a break under another law that cuts down on the number of points applied to a person’s driving record during one incident. If multiple violations caused a traffic stop, for example, only the violation with the highest number of associated points will be assessed against the driver.