For many, 2016 was a turn for the worse yet for others it was quite a successful year full of unexpected victories. The new 2017 has got all the chances to be quite different from the previous years. California, for example, has got hundreds of new laws that will come into force during the New Year. Let’s see which aspects of our life the new laws will deal with.
Employers and employees
Hooray! Your minimum wage will increase from $10/hour to $10.50/hour if you are working in a company with 26 or more employees.
Employers do not have the right to pay women employees or people of color less than they pay other workers for doing the same or nearly the same jobs. Also, employers cannot pay women less than their male colleagues based on prior salary.
Employers won’t have the right to ask a job applicant to disclose information about arrest or court case if it happened while the applicant was younger than 18.
Drivers and riders
Till kids are 2, they will only be allowed to be seated in rear-facing car seats.
DUI offenders must install an ignition lock device in their cars that will ensure they are sober before they can start the ignition.
Say “Bye” to “Pokemon Go” while driving. California’s ban on texting while driving will also include “Pokemon Go” as a distraction.
California becomes the first state to formalize the practice of lane splitting for motorcyclists. Thus, once the gray area is there, the motorcyclists will have to drive according to the guidelines established by the California Highway Patrol.
Companies such as Lyft and Uber cannot hire drivers who are previous sex offenders, or who have been involved in violent felonies or have had a DUI conviction within the last 7 years. Also, drivers for such companies cannot have a blood alcohol level of 0.04% or more.
Charter bus drivers are required to provide instructions (either written or video) to their passengers on how to use the vehicle’s emergency exits and safety equipment.
Bus driver training must be improved by school districts so that students are not left alone in buses. Also, school districts are required to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles if students are left behind.
Surviving spouses who own their house but are not included in the mortgage will have the chance to get new protections against foreclosure.
Great news for those who earn $150,000/year or less. These will be the only people now be able to access the so-called electric-car rebate program.
California homeowners will be able to construct additional small units on their properties. For example, it can be in your garage. Or it can be something separate from your garage or house, for example, a freestanding second structure.
Consumers will have to pay $1 starting in April for lead-acid batteries. This change will help cover the costs for cleaning up contaminated sites like former battery plants.
Crime and punishment
California has eliminated statutes of limitations for rape and other sex crimes as well. It means that if a crime occurs after December 31, 2016, the victim can report it anytime in the future and expect its prosecution. According to previous law, the statute of limitation for rape was 10 years.
If someone has been convicted of assault and the victim is unconscious or not able to give consent due to intoxication, then the criminal should be kept in prison.
County prosecutors can pursue for a felony people caught with the so-called date-rape drugs and who also have demonstrated plans to commit a sexual assault.
Sadly enough for convicted sex offenders involved in online crimes, they will have to report their usernames, email addresses and other Internet identifiers to the police in 2017.
Another great news for all CA residents; the police can no longer seize your cash, car or other property worth less than $40,000. They can do this only in the case of a criminal conviction.
A ban is imposed on the following:
- Publishing the addresses of domestic violence victims
- Possessing a synthetic drug known as “spice”
Children will not be charged with prostitution (considering human trafficking of people who are under 18). Also, adults performing or soliciting prostitution will not face mandatory minimum sentences.
Public school students can be expelled from school for bullying through video or sexting. State education authorities also encourage schools to educate students about sexting and sexual bullying through the Internet.
It will be impossible to purchase semi-automatic rifles that have a bullet button allowing removal of the ammunition magazine. People who own such a weapon must register it with the state.
If someone falsely reports a firearm loss, he/she will face a misdemeanor charge and will not have the right to own a firearm for 10 years upon conviction.
State justice department authorities will create a uniform license to carry a concealed weapon. This means that the licenses will not vary from county to county. Also, those people who own a concealed weapon can leave firearms in cars only if they lock them in a safe box or in the trunk. This requirement is in place for law enforcement officers as well.
Starting March, bathrooms in public buildings with a single toilet will be “all-gender.” It means that anyone can use them.
California will not fund or require public employees to travel to states where there exists discrimination against LGBT people.
It is no longer legal to smoke or even use an electronic cigarette within 250 feet of any youth sports event.
Customers can now be offered free beer or glass of wine in barbershops and beauty salons.
Denim will be California’s official fabric.
Every autographed collectible that is being sold in the state of California must come with a certificate that verifies it’s not fake.
Health and wellness
Patients who go to their insurance’s in-network hospital will no longer face larger charges if their doctor is not on that network.
CA businesses and public agencies have got the right to keep medicine designed to deal with severe emergency allergic reactions.
In 2017, women can get the whole year’s birth control pills at a time. Their health plans must cover the costs.
Terminally ill Californians can now try experimental drugs that the federal authorities have not yet approved.
You can save an animal trapped in a car in heat or cold. Just make sure you call authorities first before breaking into the car. Only, in this case, you won’t be legally liable.
Dogs seized from criminal fighting rings will not automatically be labeled “vicious.” Note that they usually euthanize vicious animals. Starting from 2017, these animals will be evaluated first to see whether they can be rehabilitated instead of being killed.
Orca breeding and performance programs will no longer operate during summer.
Elections and voting
People convicted of a felony and serving sentences in county jails will have the right to vote in CA.
Instagrammers are going to like this one. Now, it is legal in CA for voters to take a selfie with the completed ballot. Also, you can hand off your sealed ballot to anyone to mail or to deliver it in person.
In 2017, more CA cities and counties can offer public financing of political campaigns.
The Margarian Law Firm wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We hope that 2017 will be a year of just decisions and joy for you. We are here for all your legal needs including court representation and class action litigation. Call us at 818-553-1000 to schedule a free first consultation.