3 New Laws You Need to Know in 2015

How three new laws may affect you or someone you know.

If you need a raise…


Happy New Year to anyone who currently makes minimum wage or close to it. On Jan. 1, the minimum wage jumps 50-cents to $7.75, the first of four minimum wage increases that will ultimately cap at $10.10 in 2018. The first step is just over half of what the union-backed Fight for $15 movement is calling for across the nation but at least it’s a small step forward for Hawai‘i, which saw its last minimum wage increase in 2007.


If marijuana is your medicine…


Medical marijuana has been legal in Hawai‘i since 2000, but on Jan. 1, 2015, two changes to the law go into effect. The first moves the medical marijuana program from the state Department of Public Safety to the state Department of Health, which places it in a department that shares mission and expertise with other medical programs rather than one focused on corrections and security. Finally, a Medical Marijuana Registry special fund is designed to create a way for law enforcement to verify registration status at all times.


Sharing the ride instead of renting or buying…

Photo: Dallas Nagata White

Like the bike-sharing racks popping up around the island, car-sharing is a way for people who don’t own cars to rent them by the hour. The company car2go, a subsidiary of Daimler, testified it plans a free floating car-sharing service that will include about 150-200 cars available for rent in the densest areas of Honolulu from Diamond Head to Salt Lake. Under the new law, the 25-cent per half hour tax levied on rental car and tour companies will be extended to car-sharing vehicles as of the first of the year. According to taxrates.com that means that car share vehicles will be charged a $3 flat rate, just like cars that are rented for an entire day. The tax-tracking site says that’s a 30 percent tax rate for one-hour rentals.


Car-sharing falls into a different classification than ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft.


*Editor’s Note: An earlier story had incorrect information combining them into the same category.


Read More Stories by Treena Shapiro