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Vox Sentences: New year, new rules

2020 sees the beginning of new state laws; Iraqi protesters vacate their sit-in of the US Embassy in Baghdad.

Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images

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New state legislation in 2020

  • The new year means that new state laws are kicking in across the country. [ABC News / Benjamin Siu]
  • In 21 states, plus more than 26 cities, the minimum wage went up. At the high end of the spectrum are Washington state ($13.50 per hour) and California ($13 per hour), while in other states, the minimum wage is still below $10 per hour even after the increase. [CBS / Aimee Picchi and Irina Ivanova]
  • Minimum wage workers in these states can expect to see increases ranging from $150 to $1,700 in their annual earnings. [CNBC / Megan Leonhardt]
  • Other laws are kicking in around the country: Illinois’s Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act requires companies to disclose use of artificial intelligence in the evaluation of job applications. [Vox / Rebecca Heilweil]
  • In Colorado, Hawaii, and Nevada, “red flag” laws will let a judge take away guns from people deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. [NPR / Acacia Squires]
  • Illinois legalized marijuana for recreational use, and Gov. JB Pritzker granted over 11,000 pardons for minor marijuana offenses. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • In California, the strictest online privacy law in the country, the California Consumer Privacy Act, has kicked in. [Vox / Rebecca Heilweil]
  • New York will no longer require cash bail for most misdemeanor charges. [Democrat & Chronicle / Jon Campbell]
  • Oregon has outlawed single-use plastic shopping bags, “except for buying fish and meat or taking home the dry cleaning.” [NBC News / Pete Williams]
  • Texas is trying to prevent surprise medical bills — but the law will only apply to about 16 percent of people in the state, or one-third of those with private health insurance. [Texas Tribune / Edgar Walters]

Iraq protesters retreat from US Embassy grounds

  • Following several demonstrations within the US Embassy in Baghdad compound, Iraqi protesters left the premises on Wednesday. [NBC News / Saphora Smith]
  • Demonstrators stormed the embassy Tuesday after the US launched airstrikes that killed 25 militia fighters on Sunday that were retaliation for an American contractor killed in Iraq last week. By the second day, protesters burned a reception room and US soldiers used tear gas on the crowd. [TIME / Tara Law and Josiah Bates]
  • Reporting and official statements attribute the movement into the US embassy grounds to be the work of an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia group, Kataeb Hezbollah. [New York Times / Alan Yuhas]
  • While a major conflict didn’t break out, 750 US soldiers were sent to the compound to protect the staff, following a flyover from two Apache helicopters and the arrival of 100 Kuwait-based crisis response Marines. [CNN / Caroline Kelly and Ryan Browne]
  • US officials expect more violence from Iran-backed militia groups. “The provocative behavior has been out there for months... So do I think they may do something? Yes. And they will likely regret it,” said Defense Secretary Mark Esper Thursday. [Al Arabiya English]


  • After falling 500 feet off of Mount Hood, teen climber Gurbaz Singh survives with only a broken leg. [Washington Post / Brittany Shammas]
  • Julián Castro ended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. [Vox / Sean Collins]
  • Why a morning routine is not all that it claims to be. [The Atlantic / Marina Koren]
  • India announces plans to prepare for third moon launch despite crash landing its last mission in 2019. [BBC]
  • Rep. Abby Finkenauer endorses Joe Biden in the first high-profile move of the kind in Iowa. [CNN / Arlette Saenz]


“Nike has their First Amendment right to make individuals such as Colin Kaepernick their brand ambassadors. We have the right to make patriots like Chief Gallagher one of ours.” [Founder of Nine Line Apparel Tyler Merritt’s reasoning on why the company and others are partnering with Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher]

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