Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

New year, new laws

Minimum wage increases in California
By: 
Sarah Elliott

 

Governor Jerry Brown is leaving office Monday, Jan. 7, after signing more than 1,000 laws in his last year.
 
Here are some of them that went into effect January 1:
 
Minimum wage takes a hike— At least 19 states will increase their minimum wages on or around New Year's Day. In California, the new minimum wage as of January 1 is $12 per hour for large employers (an increase of a dollar an hour) and $11 per hour for small employers (an increase of $.50 per hour).
 
Sale of Pets— Assembly Bill 485 prohibits pet stores from selling a dog, cat, or rabbit unless it was obtained from a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group. 
 
Home Cooking as a Microenterprise— Assembly Bill 626 allows cities and counties to authorize and regulate the sale of homemade foods. 
 
Human Trafficking Awareness— SB 970 requires 20 minutes of training regarding human trafficking awareness for hotel employees who are likely to meet victims of human trafficking. This would include employees in reception areas and housekeeping.
 
Cannabis Convictions: Resentencing— AB 1793 requires the California Department of Justice will need to review all marijuana convictions that would be reduced or expunged due to voters approving marijuana for recreational-use in 2016. The deadline is July 1, 2019.
 
Cannabis: Temporary Event License— AB 2020 gives local lawmakers the power to license venues for temporary cannabis events. The California Bureau of Cannabis Control and law enforcement officers still can revoke a permit or end an event for any unlawful or unpermitted activity at an event.
 
Bicycle Hit-and-Run on Bike Paths— AB 1755 expands hit-and-run laws to include bicyclists on bike paths. That means if a bicyclist hits a person, resulting in a death or injury, the bicyclist must stay at the scene.
 
Bicycle Helmets— AB 3077 states anyone younger than 18 not wearing a helmet on a bicycle, scooter, skateboard or skates will be issued a “fix-it” citation. If the minor can show they took a bicycle safety course and has a helmet that meets safety standards within 120 days, the citation will be non-punishable.
 
Helmets and Motorized Scooters— AB 2989 removes the restriction for motorized scooter riders 18 or older to wear a helmet. Motorized scooters are allowed on bike paths, but it is illegal to ride a motorized scooter on a sidewalk. The law also allows scooters to ride on roads with speed limits up to 35 mph.
 
Fine for loud vehicle exhausts— AB 1824 calls for drivers in a vehicle or motorcycle with an excessively loud exhaust to be fined. Previously, they would have been cited with a “fix-it” ticket.
 
Passing waste management vehicles— AB 2115 aims to create a safety margin for sanitation workers. Drivers must move to an adjacent lane or slow down when attempting to pass a waste collection truck with its amber lights flashing. 
 
Vote by Mail: Prepaid Postage— AB 216 will make voting less expensive. Starting next year, election officials must include a return envelope with prepaid postage when delivering vote-by-mail ballots. Local agencies can ask the state to reimburse them for the new costs.
 
Gender identity on driver's licenses— SB 179 will provide people applying for new driver's licenses or renewing their driver's licenses the choice of female, male or nonbinary as their gender.
 
Minimum Age for Prosecution— Senate Bill 439 establishes 12 years as the minimum age for prosecution in juvenile court, unless a minor younger than 12 has committed murder or rape.
 
Juvenile Justice— Senate Bill 1391 eliminates the ability to try a defendant under the age of 16 as an adult. 
 
Police Transparency— Assembly Bill 748 requires that the images from body cameras on police officers and any other audio recording acquired by a police agency be disclosed to the public within 45 days after a police shooting or excessive force causes death or injury to a person. 
 
Domestic Violence and Firearms— Assembly Bill 3129 prohibits anyone convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense from possessing a firearm for the rest of their lives. 
 
Conceal Carry Weapon Permit Training— Assembly Bill 2103 requires gun owners with a concealed carry license to undergo a minimum of eight hours of training and demonstrate proficiency and safety on the shooting range. Previously, CCW applicants could get a permit without ever shooting a gun. 
 
Long Gun Restrictions— SB 1100 prohibits anyone younger than 21 from purchasing a long gun, such as a rifle or shotgun, from a licensed firearms dealer. 
 
Drunk Driving Ignition Interlock Devices— Senate Bill 1046 requires Californians found guilty of driving under the influence to temporarily install breathalyzers in their vehicles to get their driver’s licenses back. 
 
Board of Directors Equality— Senate Bill 826 requires that by December 31, 2019, a publicly held corporation, domestic or foreign, whose executive offices are located in California to have a minimum of one female director on its board of directors. 
 
Overtime for Agricultural Workers— Assembly Bill 1066 mandates that agricultural workers receive an overtime payment. This regulation will slowly increase the wages for extra hours for agricultural employees over a period of four years for employers who hire more than 25 employees.
 
Street Vendors— Senate Bill 946 protects the activity of street vendors in the state and allows them to sell on the streets. However, under this measure, local authorities have the power to establish regulations based health, safety, and public welfare. 
 
Breastfeeding at Work— Assembly Bill 1976 requires employers to make reasonable efforts to provide a room or place for breastfeeding that is not a bathroom. 
 
Waiver of Legal Claims— Senate Bill 1300 prohibits employers in California from forcing employees to sign a non-disparagement agreement to release the employer of claims, including for sexual harassment, as a condition for a raise or bonus or as a condition of employment. The bill also strengthens sexual harassment training by authorizing employers to provide bystander intervention training. 
 
Confidentiality Agreements— Senate Bill 820 outlaws secret settlements or nondisclosure agreements of factual information in cases involving allegations of sexual assault, harassment, or discrimination. It also grants claimants in sexual abuse or sex discrimination cases the option to remain anonymous. 
 
Plastic Straw Ban— Assembly Bill 1884 limits restaurants to giving out single-use straws only upon request of customers. It applies to full-service dining establishments but exempts fast food restaurants. Restaurants violating the law could be fined $25 daily for violations. 
 
Healthy Child Drinks in Restaurants— Senate Bill 1192 mandates that child meals in restaurants that come with a drink have a "healthy" beverage as the drink default option, such as milk, water, sparkling water, or flavored water with no added natural or artificial sweeteners. 
 
Craft Distillers— Senate Bill 1164 raises the amount of spirits California's craft distillers can produce, while also keeping craft distillers below the production levels of larger brewers. The law also allows craft distillers to operate more like the state's wineries and breweries by giving them the opportunity to sell their products to visitors even when they do not taste the product. Under previous law, visitors to California craft distillery tasting rooms have been required to participate in tasting events before purchasing bottles of distilled spirits. For craft distilleries without the capacity to run tasting rooms, sales were outright impossible. 
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