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New laws in New York for 2019

New laws range from a drug take back program to a ban in NYC on foam takeout containers

By now you've heard about the minimum wage increase that went into effect Monday, but there are many other new laws for this new year ranging from how you get your takeout to how much you can get for paid family leave.

Volunteer firefighters with at least five years of service as an interior firefighter diagnosed with cancer can now receive enhanced cancer disability benefits in a lump sum payment of $25,000 or $6,250 depending on severity, or a monthly disability benefit of $1500.

The state's new Drug Take Back Act means drug manufacturers and chain and mail-order pharmacies will be required to offer drug take back programs. It includes both prescription and non-prescription drugs, but does not include vitamins.

The property tax credit program that started in 2016 is now fully phased in. It's income based and for Basic STAR the percentage of your savings is anywhere from 10 to 85-percent.

Also new this year, if you visit New York City and get takeout don't expect your food to come in a foam container. New York City stores and restaurants can no longer use single-use foam food containers - including takeout boxes, cups, plates, bowls and trays. And, you won't be able to buy packing peanuts in New York City anymore. Businesses that violate the law face fines starting July 1, 2019.

There are changes in the new year to the state's Paid Family Leave program. Eligible employees can now take up to ten weeks and get 55% of their average weekly wage. The maximum weekly benefit for 2019 is $746.41.

 And new dads now have access to more changing tables in public bathrooms. The state budget included a new law requiring all new or substantially renovated buildings with public restrooms to have safe and compliant changing tables. At least one must be accessible to men and women per publicly-accessible floor. Restaurants, stores, movie theaters, and state-owned buildings are among those covered.