Jan 2, 2018
by Debra Newby, Newby Law
As we embrace a New Year, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the new laws, most of which are effective January 1, 2018, unless special provisions are addressed in the text of the new law. Keep in mind that hundreds of Assembly Bills (AB) and Senate Bills (SB) collectively passed and were then signed by Governor Brown. Below is only the tip of the iceberg, in no particular order. In most examples, I have referenced the bill number, so if you want to read the full text of the new law, go to www.legislature.ca.gov, click on “Bill Information” and then enter the bill number.
Sky-Diving: Just in case you were wondering, yes, it is now illegal to sky-dive while intoxicated (AB 295). Talk about the world spinning about you!
Gun Laws: Used to be that school superintendents could issue written permission to “concealed carry” permit holders. No more. Schools no longer have the authority to allow guns on campus.
Also, Proposition 63 requires all ammunition purchases in California must be made in person through a vendor licensed by the Department of Justice. Lastly, if you are convicted of a hate crime, you are prohibited from owning a firearm for 10 years—why not longer, I need to ask? (AB 785).
Marijuana: Yes, we all know by now that recreational use of marijuana is legal, with limitations on age and amount. But did you know that it is illegal to smoke or ingest marijuana, including snacking on marijuana products, while behind the wheel of a car? (SB 65).
LGBT: Lesbian and gay seniors in long-term facilities now have a new “blanket” to help protect them against discrimination. SB 219 prohibits the facilities from discriminating based upon a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or HIV status.
Business/Employment: With the passage of the “New Parent Leave Act” (SB 63) small businesses with 20 or more employees must provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child, whether by birth, adoption or foster care placement. Under AB 1008, employers with five or more employees are prohibited from asking about criminal history on job applications or considering criminal history at any time before a conditional offer of employment has been made (exceptions made for positions where a background check is required by law). Finally, AB 168 bans employers from asking about a job applicant’s prior salary or benefits.
Swimming Pool Safety:SB 442 imposes new safety standards and additional inspections for residential swimming pools. In essence, since 1998, new or remodeled pools must have at least one safety measure, such as a fence, cover or alarm. Now, a second safety feature is added, requiring home inspectors to examine pools and spas to record which safety features are present when a home is sold.
Immigration: California is now legally deemed a “sanctuary state” (SB 54) meaning that state and local law enforcement cannot ask about someone’s immigration status or detain a person on a “hold request” from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Also, landlords cannot report tenant to ICE or use immigration status as a basis for eviction. Finally, AB 450 bans employers from consenting to ICE workplace inspections without a warrant.
School Children: SB 250 in essence obliterated school lunch “shaming” by requiring that schools make meals available to needy kids, even if their fees have not been paid. Also, a special and necessary element will now be added to certain school bathrooms in grades 6-12: Free tampons and other feminine hygiene products if at least 40% of the students live in poverty (AB 10).
One last thought…my two cents. As we enter a new year, let’s try to avoid the vicious cycle of toxicity, fueled by fear, hatred and greed. As Abraham Lincoln quipped, “When the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems begin to resemble nails”. Let’s broaden our tool chest…and relearn how to utilize tools that will support harmony, ethics and good will.
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