PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The new year brings a higher minimum wage to Rhode Island, along with a new name for the state's beleaguered economic development agency.

The changes are among several devised by new state laws that took effect Wednesday.

Rhode Island's minimum wage increased to $8 an hour from $7.75.

The Economic Development Corp. was responsible for the state's failed $75 million investment in former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's video game company. It's rechristened the Rhode Island Commerce Corp.

A $42 hazardous-substance registration fee for certain businesses has been eliminated. And a new policy giving workers paid time off to care for babies or sick family members takes effect.

Legislators return to the Statehouse next week.

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