A number of new California laws will go into effect in 2016, affecting everyone from drivers to students and workers. Unsplash / Pixabay
As of January 1, 2016, a number of new California laws will go into effect. Several of those laws will affect anyone who drives, rides a bicycle or uses an electric skateboard or hoverboard on California roads, so it is important that people who live or drive in the state become familiar with the changes. Since approximately 1 in 12 Americans lives in the state of California and many more visit the state, these bills will affect a significant portion of the U.S. population.
Below are the most significant new California laws, including some that will affect both residents and tourists.
New California Laws that Apply to Drivers of Cars or Other Vehicles
SB 491 – It is now illegal to wear earbuds or headsets in both ears while you are driving a vehicle or riding a bicycle anywhere in California.
AB 208 – The current law that requires slow-moving passenger vehicles to pull over safely to let traffic pass has been amended to apply to all vehicles, including bicycles.
AB 604 – Anyone riding an electric skateboard or hoverboard must be age 16 or older, ride it on roads with a speed limit of less than 35 mph and will need to wear a helmet. In addition, it is illegal for anyone to ride an electric skateboard or hoverboard if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There is a $250 fine if you violate any of these requirements. The decision on whether or not to allow people to ride the hoverboards on sidewalks will be left up to individual cities within the state.
AB 8 – In an effort to make it easier to catch hit-and-run drivers, California’s Amber Alert system can now be used to broadcast descriptions of any vehicle and/or person who has been involved in a hit-and-run incident that has caused a death or serious injury.
SB 61 – The current program that calls for the use of ignition interlock devices in the vehicles of people who have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol will be continued in Los Angeles and certain other counties for at least one more year. Drivers will have to blow into the devices before their vehicles will start. If their blood-alcohol concentration is too high, the vehicles will not start.
AB 1461 – The new “Motor Voter” bill will now automatically register qualified people to vote when they apply for a new driver’s license, ID card or submit a change of address.
Other New California Laws
SB 277 – As of July 1, 2016, California will have one of the strictest vaccination laws in the United States. The only children who will be able to opt out of school-mandated vaccinations will be those who have serious health problems. Children who do not get the required vaccinations will need to be home-schooled.
SB 358 – Women can now file pay discrimination complaints, not only based on other employees who are in the same job classification, but those who do substantially similar work. For example, people who are listed as janitors, maids and housekeepers would all need to be on the same pay scale. Under this Fair Pay Act, men can only receive higher pay if it is based on seniority, a merit system, the quantity or quality of their production, or any other “bona fide factor other than sex.”
AB 775 – This bill, also known as the Reproductive FACT Act, requires pregnancy clinics to either hand out or publicly post information that clearly explains where clients can obtain free or low-cost family planning services, including contraceptives, prenatal care and abortions.
MW 2014 – This minimum wage bill actually went into effect at the beginning of 2014, mandating a gradual increase in the minimum wage. As of January 1, 2016, the minimum wage will go up to $10 a hour, although it is already higher in a number of cities in California.
SB 178 – This bill requires law enforcement to obtain a search warrant before they can seize your emails, text messages, internet search history and other electronic data.
AB 1100 – People who wish to file a new ballot initiative or referendum will see a huge increase in the fees from $200 to $2000.
SB 707 – Concealed weapons will be banned from all K-12 schools and college campuses.
AB 329 – Sex education in schools is no longer voluntary unless a parent seeks to opt-out their child. The sex education curriculum will also be updated to include topics such as HIV infections and gender identification.
SB 172 – The California High School Exit Exam will no longer be required to graduate. This bill is retroactive to 2004, which means that students who completed high school in the past but were unable to pass the exam will now be granted diplomas.
SB 600 – This bill prohibits businesses from discriminating against anyone in California based on their citizenship, language, or immigration status. Other forms of discrimination by businesses are already banned. This law also applies to public accommodations, such as hotels. This law was passed to make sure California immigrants have the same protections as U.S. citizens.
AB 550 – This bill allows the consumption of beer on beer bikes. This bill particularly applies to an area of Midtown Sacramento where beer bikes have become popular.
In addition, there are a few new laws that will only apply to specific businesses or areas of the state.
New California Laws to Expect Starting New Year’s Day
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