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New laws about guns, wages, service animals, family leave, parenting and hospital prices begin Jan. 1

Several new laws will go into effect in 2019. Nationwide, hospitals must post prices online

Statewide in Washington, the minimum wage increases to $12 an hour. Employees aged 14- and 15-years old can be paid 85 percent of the minimum wage. 

An updated  Uniform Parentage Act goes into effect January 1 in Washington State.  It was "written to safeguard the rights of LGBTQ and non-biological parents, the new law defines a “de facto” parent as well as allows compensation beyond medical and other expenses for surrogate mothers."   New laws regarding child support most employers will be required to send payments electronically to DSHS on behalf of their employees - also begin January 1. 

Contributions for paid family and medical leave will start being deducted from paychecks in January 2019. Benefits will be available beginning in January 2020.  Self-employed people may opt-in. 

Regulations regarding service animals have been tightened. Only dogs and miniature horses will be allowed. Emotional support or comfort animals are no longer considered service animals. 

Initiative 1639, passed by voters in November, 2019, raises the legal age to buy any semi-automatic rifle to 21, from 18 as of January 1, 2019. Beginning July 1, 2019, semi-automatic rifle buyers will  have to pass an enhanced background check, show proof that they have taken a firearms-training course, and wait 10 business days before they take possession of the weapon. Regulations regarding safe storage of firearms include gross and misdemeanor laws for community endangerment.  

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