New California laws take effect on Wednesday

The new year is bringing a host of new laws taking effect in January or thereabouts. More than 800 California Laws kick in on Wednesday. Here is a list of some of these new laws

Eleven new laws will impact firearms owners. One measure requires people to keep their guns locked, if they live with someone who’s barred from owning a weapon because of a criminal or mental health record.

Another law puts tougher penalties on parents who don’t stow their weapons properly. The measure also requires gun stores to post more warnings about proper gun storage in homes with children.

Rifles will come under more scrutiny, too. Potential buyers will now need to pass a safety test before they buy long guns. The state will also start compiling a database of rifle and shotgun purchases.

AB48 makes it illegal to purchase the parts necessary to convert guns into assault-style weapons and requires people selling or transferring ammunition to record the identification of the buyer and report the sale to the state Department of Justice.

Nurse practicitioners, midwives, and physician assistants can all perform abortions.

And to assure women can get to an abortion clinic, legislators have made permanent a law stating that it is illegal to damage or block access to clinics.

CALIFORNIA: It becomes the first state to give specific rights to transgender students starting in January unless opponents seeking to overturn the law show they have gathered enough petition signatures to put a referendum on the ballot. California will let transgender students choose which restroom to use and whether to play on boys’ or girls’ sports teams. Critics say the law violates the privacy of other students.

California school officials will soon have the authority to discipline students who cyberbully, whether it takes place on campus or off.

The minimum wage is being boosted to $9 an hour starting in July, the first of two dollar-an-hour boosts that will push the base minimum wage to $10 by 2016, making it one of the nation’s highest minimums.

California will also become the first state requiring websites to tell users how they track, and share, personal information.

Two laws granting increased protection to California’s bobcats and mountain lions. Beginning Wednesday, hunters will be banned from trapping bobcats near Joshua Tree National Park. Similar protections will follow soon at other national and state parks with bobcat populations.

Bicycles: Passing Distance (AB 1371, Bradford): This law prohibits motorists from passing a bicycle with less than three feet between any part of the vehicle and any part of the bicycle or driver. When three feet is not possible, the motor vehicle must slow to a reasonable and prudent speed and only pass when no danger is present to the bicyclist. Failing to do so can incur a fine, regardless of a collision or not. This law will go into effect September 16, 2014.

Drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to use voice recognition software, like Apple’s “Siri,” to write, send or read a text while behind the wheel.

Tips automatically added to a restaurant bill (usually when a table seats 6 or more diners) will now be taxable as regular wages and subject to payroll tax withholding, which means your server won’t see those tips until payday instead of taking it home as cash.

Local police will be barred from turning undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities, except under specific circumstances.

Supervisors will be banned from threatening to report an undocumented employee, if the worker is raising legitimate complaints about unfair wages, hours or other workplace rights covered by California’s Labor Code.

Photographers who harass celebrities and their children face tougher penalties. Those who take photos and video of a child without consent and in a harassing manner could face up to a year in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000. They also can be sued for damages and attorney’s fees under the new law, which media organizations opposed. Supporters say it also will help protect the children of police officers, judges and others who might be targets because of their parents’ occupations.

People employed as domestic workers will now be eligible for overtime pay. That overtime pay differs from regular overtime pay in that it does not kick in until either nine hours worked in a workday or 45 hours in a workweek, whereas typical overtime kicks in at more than eight hours in a workday or 40 hours in a workweek. Once the overtime kicks in, the domestic worker is eligible to receive one-and-one-half their regular rate of pay. Baby sitters are exempt.

Adjoining landowners must share equally the responsibility for maintaining boundaries and monuments between them. Adjoining landowners are presumed to share an equal benefit from any fence dividing their properties, as well as equal costs for construction or maintenance, unless otherwise agreed in writing. This new law also provides specific procedural requirements for an owner who intends to incur costs for a division fence to notify the adjoining owner of the estimated costs and other information.


About Kevin

Mayor - City of Oakley, Data Center Manager of Mainframe Operations and Optimization – USS-POSCO INDUSTRIES, Co-Founder and Board Member - Friends of Oakley A Community Foundation, Advisory Board – Opportunity Junction, Commissioner - Contra Costa Transportation Authority, Board Member - Tri Delta Transit and Transplan
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