Now that 2020 has begun, Vermont’s minimum wage has just gone up from $10.78 per hour to $10.96 per hour. State law requires it to be tied to inflation. In New York, the minimum wage has risen from $11.10 to $11.80, and this is the fourth year in a row it’s increased.
However, New Hampshire still does not have a state minimum wage. In August, Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed a bill that would have created one. Had Sununu signed it, the Granite State would now have a $10 minimum wage that would have increased to $12 in 2022. Instead, the state will continue to use the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour.
One change New Hampshire has made at the start of the year, however, affects health care coverage. Both that state and New York have just begun to require large group insurance plans to cover fertility treatments, including in vitro fertilization. Vermont does not currently have this requirement.
A key piece of criminal justice reform in New York has done away with cash bail for the vast majority of misdemeanor offenses and non-violent felonies. This change was passed as part of this year’s state budget.
For the first time, farm workers in New York now have the right to unionize. They’ve also just earned unemployment benefits, one guaranteed rest day each week and overtime pay for working more than 60 hours in a week. However, as we reported last May, the Clinton County Legislature unanimously opposed this law, passing a resolution which stated the measure would likely force farms to go out of business. The farm workers’ rights law is now the subject of a federal lawsuit.
Driver’s licenses in New Hampshire have become more inclusive. Anyone who does not identify as either male or female can now have ‘X’ listed as their gender on their license instead. Vermont began to offer this same option last summer.
New York and Vermont will both roll out plastic bag bans in the coming months. New York’s ban will begin on March 1. Vermont’s ban starts on July 1, which is also the day that food waste will no longer be allowed in the garbage in the Green Mountain State.