It’s 2018, and time to review new state laws. Here’s the 411 on some of the new laws and how not to get arrested or fined this year.
The biggest new law is Proposition 64—legalized marijuana for recreation. Voters approved the bill in Nov. 2016. If you choose to partake, be sure and review all the restrictions. Check out the extensive article in last week’s Inglewood Today on the new marijuana law (Prop 64: Recreational Use of Marijuana). A related law expands the use of alcohol in cars to include the use of marijuana. This law makes it illegal to smoke or ingest marijuana while driving or while riding as a passenger in a vehicle. (SB65: Marijuana Use in Cars). Remember, a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charge doesn’t just pertain to alcohol. It means marijuana use too.
A new law provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity or paternity leave for new parents (including adoptions and foster care) who work for companies with 20 or more employees. It also protects new parents from losing job and health care benefits during time off (SB63: New Parent Leave).
Another prohibits employers from seeking or asking about a job applicant’s salary history, compensation or benefits. It also requires employers disclose pay scales for a position if it is requested by a job applicant (AB168: Salary History and Pay Scales). Expands the state’s current “Ban the Box” law to prohibit businesses with as few as five employees from asking about a job applicants criminal history (AB1008: Ban the Box Law).
New immigration laws went into effect which restrict or prohibit local law enforcement agencies from communicating with federal immigration authorities about people in custody, except those previously convicted of felonies in the past 15 years (SB54: Sanctuary State); restricts local law enforcement agencies from providing federal immigration agents access to nonpublic areas of a work site or employee records unless there is a subpoena or judicial warrant (AB450: Worksite Immigration Enforcement); and collecting information about student citizenship or immigration status and that of their families. Includes community colleges, California State University and University of California campuses (AB699 & AB21: Student Immigration Status).
Tenants in new housing developments will be allowed to have one or more pets in their home if the development receives financing through state programs (AB1137: Pets Housing).
Ammunition purchases will have to be made in person through an authorized vendor. Anyone wishing to transfer ammunition must also do it through a licensed dealer. Online sales are still allowed, but the ammunition must be shipped to a licensed vendor (AB693: Ammunition Sales).
Waives tuition fees for one academic year to first-time students who are enrolled in 12 or more semester units and qualify for aid under a FAFSA or California Dream Act application (AB19: Community Colleges). California scrapped the high school exit exam in 2015. This law permanently eliminates it as a condition of graduation (AB830: High School Exit Exam).
Requires public middle and high schools with a high percentage of low-income students to provide free feminine hygiene products in half of the school’s bathrooms (AB10: Feminine Hygiene). Allows low-income Californians to receive copies of their medical records at no cost when applying for public benefit programs such as Medi-Cal, CalWORKs, CalFresh and veterans benefits (SB575: Medical Records).
This law expands protections for victims of domestic violence to include victims of sex trafficking. It provides victims with a free post office box, mail forwarding service and a confidential address to ensure their safety (SB597: Safe at Home).
The state’s gas tax, which went up 12 cents per gallon to pay for pothole repairs and improve public transit has been in effect since Nov. 1, 2017. Some bills like SB179 have not been implemented yet. The bill will allow Californians to choose their sexual identity on their driver’s license as either female, male or nonbinary.