There are many new laws taking effect in 2022, but most of them were passed a few years ago. It can take a few years for a new law to take effect. We’re still awaiting the earth-moving debate about abortion rights currently under review by SCOTUS, with a ruling expected in the months to come. The landmark decision could overturn Roe vs Wade, but we won’t know for a while. Since January of 2022, President Biden, Congress, and the US Supreme Court have been busy reviewing social and judicial issues about the welfare of the nation. They’ve already passed several new laws for upcoming years. Here are ten significant US laws that were passed so far in 2022.
10. US Congress House Bill 1667: Mental health for health care providers
Legiscan confirms House Bill 1667 is a bill that requires the Department of Health and Human Services to award grants to healthcare entities such as hospitals, professional associations in the medical field, and other organizations to improve mental and behavioral health among healthcare providers. coverage extends to healthcare students, professionals and residents. HHS is now required to conduct a campaign to encourage those in the healthcare profession to seek treatment and support for behavioral health concerns. They’re further charged with removing barriers to access and treatment for healthcare professionals as well as identifying strategies to enhance resiliency. The bill passed on March 18, 2022, and became public law on the date of approval Significance: HB 1667 directs funding from HHS to examine the dilemma of mental and behavioral health concerns among those engaged in the healthcare profession. The Bill pushes for programs to evaluate mental health, encourages healthcare workers to seek support and treatment when necessary, and provides access to help and removes obstacles for those in the healthcare profession. The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of many healthcare providers called upon to work long hours under stressful conditions during the crisis. It signals that programs to help those in healthcare are currently under development to fill the gap. The law supplies needed help for those on the frontline who had no support network.
9. U.S. Congress House Bill 7108: Suspension of normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus
On April 8, 2022, Congress passed a bipartisan bill to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus. The bill became public law also granting permanent authorization for the President of the United States to impose sanctions on visas and property blocks when Russia violates human rights. The sitting President may proclaim increases in duty rates on products from Russia or Belarus. Mr. President also has the authority to restore normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus with the approval of Congress. The law requires the US Trade Representative to condemn Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and encourage the WTO members to suspend trade concessions to Belarus and Russia, also recommending steps to suspend Russia from participating in the World Trade Organization and exploring ways to stop the accession process of Belarus. Significance: The new law interrupts normal trade activities with Russia and Belarus, condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and places the USA in the position of encouraging WTO members to join in the suspension of regular trade with Russia and Belarus. The law sends a powerful message of condemnation to Russia for its aggression and strains the relationship between America and Russia.
8. US Congress Senate Bill 1543: Preference for State, Tribal, and Educational Agencies for suicide prevention
Congress passed the US Congress Senate Bill 1543, advancing the bill into law on March 3, 2022, requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to provide grants prioritizing mental health needs to tribal, state, and local educational agencies implementing suicide awareness and prevention training policies. The Department of HHS received direction to consider suicide rates in the areas served with other factors when determining the destination of the grant funding. Significance: Suicide among students and American Tribal members is a concern that is beginning to receive attention. The US Government acted at a federal level. Its goal is to address suicide among children, young adults, tribal members, and other populations. The Feds require HHS to distribute funding to train key staff members in tribal agencies and educational facilities to gain enhanced awareness of the signs of suicide and to engage in best practices for prevention and intervention.
7. US Congress House Bill 6968: Prohibition of Russian energy products
House Bill 6968 prohibiting the import of Russian energy products was passed into law on April 8, 2022. The bill prohibits the import of mineral fuels, mineral oils, and products of their distillation from the country of Russia. it also halts the import of mineral waxes and bituminous substances. The President of the United States has discretion over the termination of the prohibition upon approval of Congress. The prohibition shall continue until Russia reaches an agreement to withdraw its forces and ceases hostilities in Ukraine and the threat of aggression to NATO members. Russia is required to recognize the right of Ukrainians to govern their own country freely and independently. Significance: The new law prevents any individual or agency from importing Russian products falling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule chapter 27 by order of law. House Bill 6968 is an economic trade sanction imposed against Russia by the United States. The law intends to create economic hardship. Its goal is to force Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine or suffer the economic impacts in this trade area. It is one of many economic sanctions that combine to create an expensive consequence for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. It shows the United States supports an end to the military action against Ukraine.
6. States enact criminal justice laws for 2022
Business Insider reports that several states enacted new laws for 2022 in the wake of the George Floyd murder and other Black people who died at the hands of police. The State of Oregon passed a law that mandates police officers witnessing another officer engaging in a violation of state minimum moral fitness standards or any misconduct to report it to a supervisor in 72 hours or less. Police agencies must complete investigations into complaints no less than three months after the report. North Carolina passed laws requiring new law enforcement recruits to undergo psychological screenings by a licensed psychologist. Candidates must be deemed suitable for the position before working as a deputy or officer. The state of Illinois standardized its certification of police officers allowing for decertification of officers engaging in unethical or repeated errant behavior. Previous standards did not hold them to such rigid standards.
5. The Blue States pass laws to create abortion havens
Pew Trusts reports that several states took measures to protect the rights of women to have an abortion as a matter of choice, legally. In the wake of the Alabama and Texas laws against abortion, other states responded by strengthening women’s reproductive rights to ensure the right to abortion for women from states where the procedure is banned. Women are invited to travel to haven states for the procedure. The recent SCOTUS leak hinting at a ruling to reverse the Roe vs. Wade ruling has states supporting women’s reproductive rights up in arms. The ruling may grant states the right to limit abortions to the earliest stages or completely ban the procedures. The count of states proposing to ban abortions is 26 as of May 2022. The states supporting the right to abortion include Washington DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Nevada, New Jersey, Vermont, Washington, Oregon, Rhode Island, California, and Connecticut. The State of New Mexico repealed an abortion ban, and Colorado introduced a bill to support abortion rights. Significance: The rights of women to choose for or against abortion is at stake. Haven states welcome women from states where abortion is banned. It’s how they show support for their right to choose. The US Supreme Court may overturn Roe vs. Wade, allowing states to ban abortion, inhibiting women’s reproductive rights in the states wishing the legal right to ban abortions if the precedent gets overturned. Significance: The potential for political unrest is high, depending on the decision made on the powder-keg issue with supporters for and against abortion.
4. The No Surprise Act becomes law for 2022
Newsweek reports that the Feds passed the No Surprises Act, effective January 1, 2022. The No Surprise Act is a law that bans medical facilities from making surprise medical charges out-of-network. Patients who receive treatment from providers not in their covered health network have previously received higher bills as charges for treatment were not covered. If you arrive at a facility you did not choose, you will now pay the deductibles and cost-sharing, but it is illegal for medical providers to charge unreasonably high fees. Insurance companies are required to cover out-of-network expenses in emergencies. The law doesn’t cover ambulance services. Significance: Insurance companies must legally comply with paying for out-of-network charges not previously covered for emergency services for their policyholders. The law prohibits surprise medical bills with higher rates for those not covered by specific providers. This new law will help reduced unexpected medical debts.
3. Oklahoma passed a near-total ban on abortion
US News confirms that the state of Oklahoma passed a bill that makes abortion illegal. The new law is called a near-total abortion ban. The news of the bill’s passage broke on April 5, 2022. Protesters are holding rallies to protest the new bill that the legislature has passed. Significance: If the governor of Oklahoma signs this bill into law, women will not have the right to access legal abortion services in the state of Oklahoma. It will be illegal for medical professionals to provide abortion procedures. Some women will be forced to carry the pregnancy to term while others will be forced to travel to other states where it is legal. The potential for backroom underground abortion services to flourish is high. Illegal practitioners may offer abortions under unsafe and unsanitary conditions due to the need to maintain secrecy to avoid prosecution.
2. Individual states pass new animal welfare laws
Many states have passed new laws about animal welfare for 2022. Maryland now prohibits vendors from selling products in the cosmetic category tested on animals or having any ingredients in the formulation tested on animals. Vermont outlawed trade involving products or parts of endangered animals, including some primates, sharks, whales, elephants, sea turtles, or giraffes on endangered species lists. Vermont’s new law grants a few exemptions such as science, education, or law enforcement. Antiques containing small amounts of animal products such as musical instruments, knives, or firearms are exempt from the new law. New Hampshire passed a law citing the theft of a dog as a felony for the second offense. Removing a tracking collar or microchip from another person’s dog is a misdemeanor. The State of Texas passed a law prohibiting heavy restraints or chains to chain up dogs. Dog collars must have suitable materials, and animals must have shelter from inclement weather. Nevada made it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage based on dog breeds. California enacted strict standards for breeding pigs’ living spaces.
1. Some states pass laws banning physical appearance discrimination
Oregon and Illinois passed new laws for 2022 that ban discriminatory actions based on physical characteristics. The ruling includes hairstyles, and it applies to people of all ages. Oregon’s Crown Act bans discrimination based on hairstyles. The law includes locks, twists, and other physical characteristics associated with race. Illinois passed the Jett Jawkings Law after a four-year-old Black student received feedback that his braids violated the Chicago school’s dress codes. The school staff ordered the child to take out his braids. His mother pointed out the negative impact on her child’s development. Significance: Discrimination based on physical characteristics is negative feedback and is a damaging action that makes people feel ashamed about who they are. Discriminatory actions demand conformity to someone else’s notion of propriety. Some states are making it illegal to engage in such practices, opening up avenues for legal recourse and compensation for those who experience this type of discriminatory treatment in school or the workplace.