It seems timely for us again to advise of a number of new laws and changes to existing laws that will be taking effect within the next few weeks. In that vein, we advise owners with interests in the following states read on: Alabama, Maine, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. As to the changes, The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act becomes effective on August 29, permitting the use of medical marijuana for qualified patients and employers cannot refuse to hire or take adverse employment actions against an applicant or employee. They may not “smoke marijuana in Muskogee” back in Merle Haggard’s day, but starting next month, they will. Alabama’s first wage equity law takes effect on September 1 and prohibits employers paying workers less than they pay workers of another sex or race “for equal work . . . “ It also prohibits salary history inquiries to job applicants and imposes additional recordkeeping duties. Also on September 1, employers may not refuse employment to an individual with a disability, nor to one who uses a service animal. Changes to the Texas Labor Code will take effect on September 1 that will allow employers in the Lone Star State to use electronic payroll cards to pay their employees with a few requirements. Wage Transparency will become the law in the state of Nebraska early next month. Effective September 6, employees who discuss their wages or benefits with other employees become protected and any discrimination due to wage or benefits disclosures will be unlawful. And finally, Maine will see a number of changes take effect on September 17, 2019.  Employers will no longer be able to request the Social Security number of applicants or prospective employees. Also, the state’s mini-WARN notice requirement extends from 60 to 90 days the written notice that must be given before closing or relocating a worksite. In addition, the state’s new salary history ban becomes effective, as does a new clarification of the tip pooling law allowing a tip pool arrangement only among service employees. Finally, some new provisions disqualifying “intoxicated” employees (including marijuana use, but not medical marijuana) from receiving unemployment benefits and protecting a volunteer first responder who is absent due to his/her volunteer duties as a first responder.