By Amanda Salvione

A new year brings new laws into action. The laws to watch in 2017 range from simple form changes to moves to increase hourly wages and, across the nation, indicate certain trends for changes in marijuana legalization and cellphone usage.

Minimum Wage

In November, Arizona voters passed Proposition 206 to increase minimum wage to $12 by 2020. As of January 1 minimum wage increased from $8.05 to $10 per hour. Consumers should watch for business owners’ response to the impact on profits and the cost of goods and services.

Revised I-9 Form

Starting January 22, employers will need to use the revised I-9 form to verify new hire eligibility status. Among other changes, employees will have to disclose whether a translator or preparer helped complete the form. New administration may change verification requirements further in the future.


REAL ID Act continues to phase in during 2017. Starting January 30, in Kentucky, Maine, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Carolina people will be unable to enter federal buildings with their non-compliant state issued driver’s license and will need to obtain proper federal identification. Arizona is in compliance with REAL ID guidelines to date. But if you still haven’t obtained the new version of Arizona’s driver’s license, add it to you New Year’s resolution list! Looking far ahead, in 2020 every air traveler will be required to present a REAL-ID compliant license.

Marijuana Usage

California, Maine, Nevada and Massachusetts voted to legalize recreational marijuana use. A grand total of 8 states have legalized recreational use as of the start of 2017. Arizona voters rejected its ballot initiative for legalization, but another attempt may show up next election cycle. This is an area to watch due to possible federal policy changes under the new presidential administration.

Cellphones in the Car

For California drivers, 2017 brings the new law prohibiting them from holding cellphones in their hand for any reason, including app use. The phone can be mounted and used through voice commands, but no quick picture snapping while driving. With increased mortality of people texting and driving, watch to see if other states, such as Arizona, adopt a similar restriction on cell use.

Amanda Salvione is an attorney with Radix Law.