Dec 30, 2018
by Debra Newby, Newby Law
As part of my annual New Year tradition, I am highlighting some of the new California state laws (most of which are in effect as of January 1, 2019 unless expressed otherwise in the law). Keep in mind that during the 2018 Legislative Session, over one thousandAssembly Bills (AB) and Senate Bills (SB) collectively passed. Governor Jerry Brown signed 1,016 of the 1,217 that landed on his desk (he vetoed the rest).
California is the first state in the nation to limit plastic straws in restaurants (you must ask for one). The new law exempts fast food, delis and cafes, but from my observation, these establishments are voluntarily following suit by switching to paper straws. (AB 1884).
Also, we took an impressive stance against greenhouse gases (SB 100) by requiring California to get 60% of our electricity from renewable sources (like solar and wind) by 2030, and 100% from climate friendly sources by 2045. Thinking of building a new home? Starting in 2020, new homes must have solar panels (exemptions for shady areas of the state). California is really taking the lead nationwide on protecting and embracing Gaia.
AB 1762 requires the Department of Parks and Recreation to update its website and list in “real-time” pet-friendly state parks by July 1, 2020.
1) Applicants for a drivers’ license or identity card can now select “female”, “male” or “non-binary” (displayed as “X” gender (SB 179); and
2) “Life in the Fast Lane”—new sticker program created for low emission vehicles to travel in HOV lane regardless of number of passengers for a period of four years (AB 544).
Women’s voices are getting stronger. SB 826 requires that publically held corporations whose executive offices are located in CA must have at least one female director on its Board of Directors. Then, no later than December 31, 2021, corporations must have a minimum of two female directors if the corporation has five directors or three female directors if the corporation has six of more directors.
Three new laws chosen: 1) Before an employee had the right to “inspect and copy” his or her employment records. Now, an employee has the right to “receive a copy” of those employment records (SB 1252); 2) Employers are required to provide a lactation room or location (other than a toilet stall) for nursing mothers. Employers must also provide a “reasonable” amount of break time for lactation (AB 1976); and 3) Before only management/supervisors at large companies had to undergo sexual harassment training. Now, all workers at any business with at least five employees must undergo sexual harassment training.
Applicants for a concealed-carry-license must undergo a minimum of eight hours or training (AB 2103). SB 1346 bans the manufacturing and sale of bump stocks and burst trigger devices (like the ones used in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting—a nightmarish 10 minutes that involved over 1,100 rounds being fired. 58 individuals killed; 851 injured). AB 3129 provides that anyone convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense after January 1, 2019 cannot possess a firearm for the rest of their life. Finally, AB 1968, effective January 1, 2020, provides that anyone who has been hospitalized more than once in a year for a mental health diagnosis is prohibited from owning a firearm for the rest of their life.
SB 822 prevents large providers, like AT&T and Comcast from blocking, slowing down, or increasing fees for websites that require higher bandwidth, like video streams. This issue must involve millions and millions of dollars, based on the fierce opposition by the service providers nationwide.
In closing, my heartfelt gratitude to my loyal readers, my Editor, Vesta Copestakes, and this forum which offers an opportunity to enlighten and hopefully inspire our community on legal issues. I look forward to 2019 and future legal columns. May we enter the New Year with a sense of creating Joy and Peace.
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