It's the most wonderful time of the year. Christmastime is supposed to be all about happiness and cheer.

A new law that Governor Phil Murphy signed to go into effect January 1, 2024, may not be the perfect topic at the holiday table.

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First, let's talk about a good new law for the new year.

Well, I think it's good. I guess it all depends.

New Jersey’s statewide minimum wage will increase by one dollar to $15.13 per hour for most employees on Jan. 1.

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When Governor Murphy took office in 2018, the minimum wage was $8.60 per hour.

The Gov made a promise in 2019 to get the hourly wage up to $15 by 2024.

This happened with smaller increases over the years.

This achieves and exceeds the goal set by legislation signed by Murphy.

Whether you like him or not, $8.60 to $15.13 per hour is a huge jump in such little time.

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Now, on to the new law that will likely be controversial to many.

This was supposed to be law back in May of 2023, but it got held up due to a regulatory board.

Beginning in early January 2024, pharmacists will be allowed to prescribe over-the-counter contraceptives.

New Jersey will be the 30th state in the nation to have a similar law on the books.

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Murphy said:

New Jersey is and New Jersey always will be a safe haven for reproductive health care, period. We’re going to ensure that our daughters do not inherit a world in which they have fewer rights than their parents did. We’re going to stand united and say ‘hell no’ to a right-wing movement that is hellbent on ripping away our fundamental freedoms.

So, how exactly will this work? According to the bill:

Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a pharmacist shall be authorized to furnish self-administered hormonal contraceptives to a patient, in accordance with standardized procedures and protocols to be jointly developed and approved by the Board of Pharmacy and the State Board of Medical Examiners, in consultation with the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the New Jersey Pharmacists Association, and other appropriate entities, and in accordance with the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) and the provisions of this subsection.
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Hormonal contraceptives include "the pill," or birth control.

This isn't the first time a bill like this has been introduced. Senator Shirley Turner tried to get this through in 2015 with no luck.

The Senator said:

It can take not just weeks but months to get in to see a doctor, and how many women will have unwanted pregnancies waiting to get to see a doctor for a prescription?

According to New Jersey Monitor:

Any women — not just New Jersey residents — will be able to get prescription-free birth control at participating New Jersey pharmacies.

 

This is scheduled to go into effect in early January of 2024.

Speaking of controversy...

LOOK: Controversial songs from the year you were born

Stacker celebrates history's most boundary-pushing—and thereby controversial—songs from 1930 through today.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

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