New year, new laws in Massachusetts

Massachusetts and Washington are states with highest minimum wage in country

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – New laws in Massachusetts went into effect over the holiday weekend.

Minimum wage

The minimum wage has increased from $10 per hour to $11 per hour. The increase is the last of the three one dollar increases approved by state lawmakers in 2014.

Massachusetts and Washington now share the highest minimum wage in the country.

Ride sharing services

A new law has been put in place to protect those who use ride sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft.

The new law requires these companies to conduct extensive criminal background checks on their drivers. The law, however, stops short of requiring drivers to go through a fingerprint check.

Public records

The new version of the Public Records Law includes provisions that require records access officers to provide public records to a requester in an electronic format, and respond to a requests within 10 business days rather than 10 calendar days.

The updated law also makes it so that if a response to public records request requires more than four hours of employee time, an agency records access officer can charge a fee, not to exceed $25 an hour.