By Dave Reynolds

The United States’ federal system of government entrusts individual states with important powers, such as building roads, funding schools, and maintaining police forces.

The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution makes clear that powers that are not specifically assigned to the federal government “are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Under this system of government called “federalism,” states pass laws each year on a variety of subjects. Frequently, a law in one state differs from a law that another state has enacted on the same issue.

Given the differing approaches, states are known as “laboratories of democracy.” Laws that succeed in one state may later be adopted by other states or the federal government.

A few of the many new state laws that took effect July 1:

  • California established a “Patient’s Right to Know Act,” becoming the first state to require that doctors and certain other health-care providers notify patients if they are on probation for harming a patient.
  • Virginia increased from 18 to 21 the minimum age for purchasing vaping and other tobacco products. The law, which exempts active military personnel, mirrors similar restrictions in many other states.
  • Indiana banned use of electric scooters on interstate highways. The law also empowers local governments in Indiana to adopt additional restrictions on scooters.
  • A Georgia law prohibits landlords from evicting or otherwise retaliating against tenants in response to complaints about housing conditions.
  • Iowa enacted a law creating a grant program to give incentives to companies that expand high-speed internet access to rural communities.