2018 rang in new laws to Washington State, bringing confusion as to what is real and not.
*Do you need a passport to fly in 2018?
Last week I realized my passport expired which completely blew my usual holiday trek to Canada. I told a friend and he proceeded to inform me that I needed to renew my passport asap as being a resident of Washington State I would not be able to fly. Since I travel extensively for work and usually on short notice this was not a good thing, so I looked it up.
Why would this happen? Congress passed the REAL ID act in 2005 in an effort to strengthen identification rules at airports. The 9/11 Commission recommended it to the federal government to set standards for how source of IDs – such as driver’s licenses – are issued.
The act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses. Under the law, state driver’s licenses and ID cards have to be issued only to people who can prove they are legally living in the United States. If state licenses don’t meet the standards, then federal agencies – such as the TSA – will not accept them.
Why now? The Department of Homeland Security will start enforcing the law in October 2020, but they have given a bunch of deadlines to states to get in compliance.
Originally Washington was supposed to start in 2018, but Washington state was just given a new extension deadline of October 2018 to get into compliance. DHS has indicated that states having been granted an extension will not be subject to REAL ID enforcement at airports or federal facilities until October 2020. The Washington Department of Licensing expects to be in full compliance with the REAL ID act by fall 2018. Click here for more information.
* Washington state’s distracted driving law -
This is one we have heard on the news in the papers, on-line and $136.00 a fine for the first offense and $234.00 for a second, this bears more clarification.
In an effort make roads safer, this law bans using the following while driving: cellphones, tablets, laptops and video games.
If caught, drivers can get a $136 ticket for the first offense and a second offense will cost you $234, if it occurs within five years.
Additional behavior that interferes with safe driving, such as grooming, smoking, eating or reading, could result in a $99 ticket if a driver is pulled over for another offense.
Fatalities in the state caused by distracted driving increased 32 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.
*Seattle’s new tax on soda, sugary drinks
The Seattle City Council in June approved a tax on the distribution of sweetened beverages such as Pepsi and Coke, sports drinks, energy drinks and other drinks.
*Wages and Sick Leave
Minimum wage goes up
Washington will get a 50-cent raise, giving the state the highest minimum wage in the country: $11.50 per hour.
Paid sick leave required
The law that raises the state’s minimum wage also requires employers to provide paid sick leave starting Jan. 1.
Employees will earn at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. According to the state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), employees can use paid sick leave for themselves or family member. Unused paid sick leave of 40 hours or less must be carried over to the following year.