- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland’s minimum wage and the state’s gas tax are going up. Here’s a look at some new laws that take effect Friday:

MINIMUM WAGE

Maryland’s minimum wage will rise from $8.25 to $8.75. It’s the latest bump scheduled to take effect since lawmakers in 2014 approved increases over several years from $7.25. It is scheduled to go up to $9.25 next year and reach $10.10 in July 2018.

GAS TAX

The state’s gas tax will rise nine-tenths of a cent to 33.5 cents. Lawmakers approved several increases in 2013, with regular hikes to adjust for inflation. The state’s gas tax has gone up a dime since 2013, when lawmakers approved the first increase in 20 years from 23.5 cents.

RETIREMENT PLANS

A state-sponsored retirement savings plan goes into effect. IRAs will be created for private-sector employees without access to a workplace savings program with their employer. Employees would need to make the contributions and can opt out of the program. The law applies to employers using an automated payroll system who don’t already offer a retirement program.

TRANSPORTATION

Maryland will have a new scoring system to prioritize transportation projects. It’s the result of a battle between the Republican governor and the Democrat-controlled Legislature over transportation funding. While the governor won’t be prevented from funding a project with a lower score than another, an explanation would be required for the decision. The governor vetoed the bill, but the Legislature overrode the veto in April, shortly before adjourning.

POWDERED ALCOHOL

A ban on powdered alcohol in the state will be extended two years until June 30, 2018.

LAND PRESERVATION

Funding to the state’s land preservation program known as Program Open Space will be restored. The law, already signed by the governor, will return $60 million over the next two years.

VETERANS HOME

A new fund is created to maintain the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home in St. Mary’s County.

LANGUAGES-DIPLOMA SEAL

A new seal will be available for high school diplomas of students who have attained proficiency in two or more languages.

TEACHER RETENTION

A Teacher Induction, Retention and Advancement Pilot Program will be established for specified first-year teachers. Also, the maximum state matching stipend for teachers who hold National Board Certification increases from $2,000 to $4,000.

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