As 2013 begins, so do some new laws, regulations and fee increases. Here’s a sampling of what to watch for.
If you’re a renter, homeowner or landlord: Carbon monoxide alarms are now required in existing apartments, condominiums, hotels, motels and single-family homes, with some exceptions. Owner-occupied single-family homes, legally occupied before July 26, 2009, are not required to have the alarms until they are sold. (The law was passed in 2009, and portions of it have phased in over time.)
If you're a Kirkland property owner: You will get a sense of the impact on your property taxes of the Nov. 6 voter approval of Propositions 1 and 2, the city streets and parks levies, when King County mails 2013 bills on February 14. More details here.
If you’re a worker: The state minimum wage increases to $9.19 an hour, up from $9.04 an hour. (State law doesn’t let employers take a tip credit against the minimum wage.)
If you’re a garbage customer in King County: The basic fee for bringing solid waste to a transfer station or drop box will increase to $129.40 per ton, up from $117.42, including tax and a moderate risk waste fee. The minimum fee will increase from $20 to $22, including tax and the moderate risk waste fee. An average residential customer who puts out one can of garbage per week for curbside collection is likely to see an increase of about 57 cents per month in the garbage bill.
If you’re a Pierce County Ferry System rider: A variety of service changes start Jan. 1. The system provides service between the town of Steilacoom, Anderson Island and Ketron Island.
If you’re unemployed: The federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program ends Dec. 29. EUC is a federal extension that provides additional weeks of unemployment benefits after you have run out of “regular unemployment benefits.”
If you’re a fish (or care about them, or drive a vehicle): In 2010 Washington state passed a law reducing the use of toxic material in automotive brake pads and shoes. This law restricts the use of several heavy metals and asbestos, and provides for a phase-out of copper over the next 15-20 years. Starting Jan. 1, manufacturers have to report the concentrations of copper, nickel, zinc and antimony in brake friction materials.
If you’re a fish, part 2 (or an angler): Barbless hooks will be required to fish for salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout in the mainstem Columbia River, including the north jetty, from Buoy 10 upstream to the Washington/Oregon border above McNary Dam.
Sources: Local, state and federal agency websites.