New State Laws of 2023 Explained


Gavel, court hammer. Free public domain CC0 photo.

Heeseo Yoon, Staff Writer

It’s only the second week of the New Year, yet the world is already bursting with new laws. Let’s take a look at some laws that started off the United States’ regulations for 2023. 

Sports Betting 

Sports Betting will be legalized in Massachusetts by the end of January, and has already been legalized in Ohio. With the Superbowl coming up this February, I expect this legalization to be followed by huge excitement as well as a not so positive impact on the finances of these states. Wagering may be exciting at the moment, but all the exhilaration disappears once all the money that one has bet is lost. New Jersey legalized sports betting starting in 2012 and has surprisingly well-managed years of oftentimes reckless waging. The News & Observer even commended New Jersey for its “impressive” management of sports bettings. It is hoped that Massachusetts and Ohio will have the same success in administering wagers.

New Years’ Pay Boost

This law was a New Year’s gift to its recipient states from their governors. At least 24 states, including New Jersey, have raised their minimum wages starting January 1. According to the Economic Policy Institute, this means increased wages for an estimated “8 million workers” around the country. New Jersey specifically had a “$1.13 to $14.13” increase in their pay for every hour of work. The purpose of passing this new law was to boost the spirits of employees across the country and to reduce economic disparity. This law is expected to benefit those with low income as well as about one million single parents. 

Addressing the Overdose Crisis

Pennsylvania has decided to legalize fentanyl test strips in an effort to stop people from consuming fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid found in pills and drugs that is deadly even in the smallest amount. Because fentanyl overdose has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in the past few years, Pennsylvania has seen it as its responsibility to take a step in solving the fentanyl crisis. Fentanyl test strips detect fentanyl and can identify whether or not the drug is fatal. The state’s plan is to make the strips available to help people test to see if there is fentanyl in the drug they are consuming, and thus prevent the consumption of a substance that may lead to their deaths. 

Abortion Rights

After Roe v. Wade was overturned last summer, most states have long since banned abortion. However, states such as California and New York remained permissive on the matter. However, there are many doctors in California, as in other areas, who have refused to take part in the process of abortion. Therefore, starting this January, California is granting those who want to abort to carry out the process “without supervision by a physician and surgeon,” and only with a midwife and nurse. All discussions on morality aside, this law grants those who want to carry out abortion to freely do as they wish without permission from their doctor. Yet, the idea of performing abortions without the aid of a verified specialist brings concerns about safety. 

There is no way of knowing whether these laws will be effective, but it is hoped that they will help us get closer to a safer and more positive society.