Bills become new laws in new year for California residents
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 01/03/17 - 06:19 AM | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It's a new year and with it come new laws enacted annually by the state legislature.

Not the least of which is the much-anticipated, initial minimum wage hike from $10.50 to $11.50 an hour for employees, which took effect Jan. 1.

San Diego's Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance passed in 2016 gives city employees a $1 an hour minimum-wage hike, with all future increases to be tied to the Consumer Price Index beginning Jan. 1, 2019. At that time, if the state’s minimum wage increases above the city’s minimum wage, the state’s higher minimum wage will prevail.

“More than a million hard-working San Diegans and Californians began receiving a pay raise that increases their ability to make ends meet for themselves and their families,” said Assembly member Todd Gloria (D-78th), who spearheaded passage of San Diego's minimum-wage law as a city councilman.

“With this investment in our workforce, we have taken a meaningful step toward the principle that those who work full-time should not live in poverty. While there is still much more work to do, I am proud of our progress. I will continue to work in the State Assembly to improve the quality of life for working families and ensure our state continues to provide opportunities for all workers to prosper,” Gloria said.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law 898 bills in 2016. One of them was Senate Bill 3, the California Fair Wage Act of 2016, which also called for gradual increases to the state’s minimum wage until it reaches a maximum of $15 per hour on Jan. 1, 2022.

Here are other laws that will take effect in California in 2017:

Single-User Restrooms (Effective March 1, 2017): This bill requires all single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment, place of public accommodation, or government agency to be identified as all-gender toilet facilities. This bill would authorize inspectors, building officials, or other local officials responsible for code enforcement to inspect for compliance with these provisions.

Motorcycles: California became one of the first states to define “lane-splitting,” formalizing a longstanding practice of motorcycle riders to squeeze through gridlocked traffic. Assembly Bill 51 authorizes the California Highway Patrol to develop educational guidelines for weaving between lanes of stopped or moving vehicles.

Cell phones in vehicles: It will be illegal to hold and use any electronic devices including smart phones while driving. Drivers who want to use their smart phones must have it mounted on the dash and cannot use their hands. Any drivers caught breaking the law will face fines.

Alcohol: Beauty salons and barber shops can now serve small amounts of wine and beer as long as it’s free and it’s before 10 p.m.

Consumer protection: Landlords will be prohibited from showing, renting, or leasing a vacant unit that they know has a bed bug infestation. Rental car companies won’t be able to rent out cars subject to a manufacturer’s recall until the vehicle has been fixed.

Sex crimes: Assembly Bill 701 broadens the definition of rape to include “all forms of nonconsensual sexual assault.” Assembly Bill 2888 also makes sexually assaulting an unconscious person a crime with a mandatory prison sentence. Rape, sexual assault and other sex offenses committed in 2017 will no longer be subject to a statute of limitations, under Senate Bill 813.

Children’s safety: Schools already have strict rules for athletes who may have suffered head injuries – such as removing the athlete for the rest of the day and keeping them sidelined until they have been cleared by a licensed health care provider. Assembly Bill 2007 extends those rules to youth sports organizations, along with training for coaches on concussions.

Toddler car seats: A bill to protect babies and toddlers, signed back in 2015, goes into effect this year, requiring parents to put children younger than 2 in a rear-facing car seat unless they are 40 inches tall or weigh 40 pounds. State law already requires children under 8 to ride in a car seat or booster seat, but it doesn’t specify which direction babies should face.

Firearms: Six new gun control bills are taking effect in 2017, including a ban on assault rifles. Gun owners will have to have the specified semiautomatic gun modified or registered with the state for $15. Buyers will also soon have to go through a background check before purchasing ammunition. On top of that, gun owners who have magazines that hold more than 10 rounds will be required to surrender them to a law enforcement agency.

IRS: Another new law from the IRS states if you claim the "earned income tax credit" or the "additional child tax credit" your refund will be held until at least Feb. 15, which is a three-week delay. And that's if you file on the earliest day possible. The delay, gives the agency more time to detect and prevent fraud.

Rental cars: Rental car companies are now prohibited from loaning or renting any cars that are under a manufacturer’s recall.
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