Virus aid, police reform dominate new US laws for 2021

Responses to the coronavirus pandemic and police brutality dominated legislative sessions in 2020 and led to many new laws that will take effect in the new year. Virus-related laws include those helping essential workers, boosting unemployment benefits and requiring time off for sick employees. A resolution in Alabama formally encouraged fist-bumping over handshakes. Legislatures also addressed police use of force against Black people and others of color. New laws will among other things mandate oversight and reporting, create civilian review panels, and require more disclosures about problem officers. Health care, housing and marijuana are other policy areas seeing changes in 2021.