A look at some new state laws going into effect for 2017

Regulations for rideshare companies, public records reform among the changes

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

BOSTON (WWLP) – New year: new Massachusetts laws! When the ball drops on New Year’s Day, Massachusetts residents will have to abide by at least a few new laws.

One of the new laws hopes to protect those who use rideshare companies, such as Uber and Lyft. As approved by state lawmakers, these companies will begin conducting extensive criminal background and sex offender checks on their drivers. The law, however, stops short of requiring drivers to go through a fingerprint check. The goal is to make sure the person taking you from Point A to Point B is a law-abiding citizen.

A new public records law will also go into effect on Sunday. The law is supposed to make it easier for people to access public information at a cheaper price. State Representative Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford) told 22News that the final law could be improved upon next year.

“There is still some work to be done around public records still. Will we be able to do some of that again next session? I’m not sure,” Cabral said.

Another law change that takes effect on Sunday: the minimum wage in Massachusetts will rise to $11 per hour.

The House of Representatives plans to gavel-in a formal session on Wednesday.

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