Several states introduce new laws on New Year's Day affecting abortion, taxes and more

New laws in Oregon and Illinois protect against discrimination over hairstyles

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The New Year has brought with it new laws that affect everything from abortion to policing and even taxes

New measures came into effect in several states at the stroke of midnight, starting with abortion, which took a sharp focus last year in light of two cases that went before the Supreme Court. 

New Hampshire triggered a law that will prohibit abortions after 24 weeks of gestation unless the mother’s life is endangered, marking the first new such law following the court hearing. The Supreme Court will rule on the Mississippi law by the start of summer 2022. 

Center for Reproductive Rights Litigation Director Julie Rikelman, center, and Center for Reproductive Rights senior staff attorney Hillary Schneller, left, who both represent the Jackson Women's Health Organization, Mississippi's lone abortion clinic, leave the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, after the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability.

Center for Reproductive Rights Litigation Director Julie Rikelman, center, and Center for Reproductive Rights senior staff attorney Hillary Schneller, left, who both represent the Jackson Women's Health Organization, Mississippi's lone abortion clinic, leave the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, after the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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Perhaps the most wide-reaching changes occurred in police reform, with Illinois, North Carolina and Oregon passing new laws that affect various elements of recruitment and certification.

Illinois standardized certification of officers and allowed for decertifying officers in the case of repeated errant or unethical behavior, while North Carolina must now receive psychological screenings by a licensed psychologist to determine suitability for the job. 

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Oregon’s law will require a police officer who witnesses misconduct or violations of moral fitness by another officer to make a report to a supervisor within 72 hours. 

Illinois and Oregon also enacted new laws on physical discrimination, such as protecting hairstyles. 

Chicago police officers work at the scene near where two officers were shot at 63rd Street and Bell Avenue in Chicago on Aug. 7, 2021. 

Chicago police officers work at the scene near where two officers were shot at 63rd Street and Bell Avenue in Chicago on Aug. 7, 2021.  (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

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Several states also enacted new tax laws, starting with Georgia expanding the amount people can earn before they start paying state taxes. 

Oklahoma dropped the top individual income tax rate from 5% to 4.75% and the corporate tax from 6% to 4%. 

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New Mexico enacted the most aggressive measure with a new 2.75% surtax on health insurance premiums the state will use to underwrite health-exchange insurance offerings for low- and moderate-income individuals along with employees at small businesses starting in 2023. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.