Rhode Island to ring in new year with new laws

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With the new year just days away, lawmakers are preparing to make some big changes in Rhode Island. From gun control to minimum wage, it is important that residents know about the changes that are coming.

Beginning on Thursday, a new law will require Rhode Islanders to submit more information, including all health records, to the national database used to screen gun purchases. This new legislation comes on the heels of a recommendation made by the special task force in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Minimum wage is also going to increase in the new year. Back in July, Governor Lincoln Chafee signed a bill into law that calls for the increase of the state’s minimum wage beginning on Jan. 1. This will push the wage from $8.00 an hour to $9.00. Massachusetts minimum wage will also be increasing to $9.00 an hour in 2015.

Judges will also have the authority to prohibit people who have driven drunk from operating a vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system. This means that the driver must breathe into the device like a breathalyzer in order to start the car.

New changes will also be implemented at the polls. After several stalled efforts, the straight party voting, or master lever, will no longer exist on ballots.

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