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New California laws to take effect in 2013

Undocumented immigrants eligible for driver’s licenses

by Amy Isackson

Tens of thousands of Californians who came to the U.S. illegally as children will be able to apply for a driver’s license.

“For me it just feels really liberating,” says 28-year-old Ismael Soto. When Soto was four his mom fled an abusive relationship and brought him and his brothers to San Diego. They were all undocumented, but Soto says he never really thought about it until he was old enough to get a driver’s license and couldn’t. Come college it really weighed on him.

“Oh my god, the amount of pressure I had every day – like I’m gonna be picked up off the street and sent to Mexico.”

A few months ago Soto applied for and received deferred action and can now live, work, and soon drive legally in the U.S. for the next two years. California is one of about 21 states that have confirmed that young people who were brought to the U.S. when they were under 16 and have finished high school are eligible for a driver’s license. Last fall it became the only state to pass a law to guarantee that.

AB 2189 allows an estimated 400,000 undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses – those in the federal Deferred Action program for immigrants who came to the U.S. as youths and have led generally productive lives. (former Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles)


Youth offender resentence

SB 9 allows some people convicted of murder, if they had committed the crime as a minor, to seek resentencing to a prison term of 25 years to life. (Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco)

Picketing at funerals

SB 661 makes picketing at funerals a misdemeanor, taking aim at a group that has waved signs at funerals of homosexuals, military members and federal judges. (Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance)

Open carrying of rifles

AB 1527 bans openly carrying unloaded rifles on city streets, with exceptions for people engaged in hunting, target shooting, parades, licensed gun shows, firearms sales or other such activities.(former Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada-Flintridge)

Compassionate release

SB 1462 gives county sheriffs the right to release dying jail inmates early and authorizes a court to grant medical probation to an incapacitated inmate. (Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco)


Metal purchases

AB 1971 quadruples the maximum fine from $250 to $1,000 for junk and secondhand dealers who knowingly buy or receive metals used in telephone, electricity or other public utilities. (Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo)


Academic Performance Index

SB 1458 de-emphasizes standardized tests in evaluating public schools and requires other factors such as graduation rates and college-going rates to be used in calculating a school’s Academic Performance Index. (Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento)

Evaluation of principals

SB 1292 authorizes school districts to evaluate principals annually for the first and second year of employment as a new principal in a district. (Sen. Carol Liu, D-La Cañada-Flintridge)

*****Digital textbooks*****

SB 1052 and 1053 set the stage for producing digital textbooks for 50 of the most widely taken lower-division courses at California colleges and universities, when money is available, and creates an open-source library to house such materials. (Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento)


Immunization information

AB 2109, starting in 2014, requires parents to receive information from a health care provider before exempting their child from immunizations. (Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento)


*****Birth control access*****

AB 2348 expands women’s access to birth control by allowing registered nurses to dispense such drugs or devices in primary care and other clinics. (Assemblywoman Holly J. Mitchell, D-Los Angeles)

*****Health insurance standards*****

AB 1453 and SB 951 set minimum standards for medical services – such as emergency treatment, maternity and newborn care – that insurers must meet starting in 2014. (Respectively, then- Assemblyman and now Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, and Sen. Ed Hernández, D-West Covina)

Nonsurgical abortions

SB 623 extends, until January 2014, a program allowing nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants to perform nonsurgical abortions. (former Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego)

*****Mammography insurance*****

AB 137 requires health insurance policies to cover mammographies, for screening or diagnostic purposes, upon referral by doctors or various other health care practitioners. (former Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada-Flintridge)


Driver’s licenses

AB 2189 allows an estimated 400,000 undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses – those in the federal Deferred Action program for immigrants who came to the U.S. as youths and have led generally productive lives. (former Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles)

*****Religious grooming*****

AB 1964 bans discrimination based on religious dress or grooming, such as Sikhs’ turbans.(Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis)

*****Sexual orientation therapy*****

SB 1172 prohibits therapy on homosexual or other minors that attempts to alter their sexual orientation. Legal challenges are pending. (Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance)


*****Red-light cameras*****

SB 1303 tightens restrictions on the use of red-light traffic cameras but bolsters their legal underpinnings by stating that evidence from them is not hearsay. (Former Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto)

*****Hands-free texting*****

AB 1536 allows drivers to dictate, send or listen to text messages with a hands-free device. (Former Assemblyman Jeff Miller, R-Corona)

Motorcycle checkpoints

AB 1047 prohibits local governments from conducting motorcycle-only checkpoints. (Former Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, R-Lake Elsinore)

*****Driverless vehicles*****

SB 1298 permits testing autonomous vehicles – cars that drive themselves – on public roads subject to safety certification and the presence of a human in case of an emergency. (Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles)

*****Carpool lane exceptions*****

AB 2405 exempts certain hybrid and other clean-fuel vehicles from paying a toll to use HOT carpool lanes accepting single-occupant vehicles. (Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Woodland Hills)




*****Homeowner mortgages*****

SB 900 and AB 278 are cornerstones of a six-bill package to expand homeowner rights against foreclosure. A key provision bars “dual tracking” by which lenders proceed toward foreclosure while discussing possible loan modifications. (Respectively, Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and former Assemblyman Mike Eng, D-Monterey Park)

*****Vehicle financing*****

AB 1447 sets basic consumer protections for predatory financing of vehicle sales or leases by dealers, including a minimum 30-day warranty and restrictions on in-person payment requirements and use of electronic devices to track and disable vehicles. (Former Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles)

*****Online rent payments*****

SB 1055 bars landlords from requiring online payments. (Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance)

*****Loan protections*****

SB 978 strengthens laws meant to protect investors and borrowers of “hard money” – a private, high- interest loan secured by steep collateral requirements and generally offered to people unable to qualify for conventional bank loans. (Sen. and Rep.-elect Juan Vargas, D-San Diego)

****Settlement gag clauses****

AB 2570 bans settlement gag clauses that bar someone who files suit against a licensed state professional – such as doctor, engineer or contractor – from talking with or cooperating with state regulators. (Former Assemblyman, now Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo)




Internet phone service

SB 1161 bars the state Public Utilities Commission from regulating the Internet-based voice industry until January 2020. (Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles)

****Social media privacy*****

SB 1349 bans public and private universities from requiring students to disclose user names or passwords for social media, such as Facebook. (Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco)

*****Employer prohibitions*****

AB 1844 prohibits employers from demanding a worker’s or an applicant’s user name or password for social media. (Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose)

****Internet bullying****

AB 1732 specifies that forms of illegal Internet bullying include false profiles, impersonations and “burn pages” created to house abusive posts. (Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose)


Private-sector savings

SB 1234 lays groundwork, but does not grant final approval, to a state-run retirement savings plan for private-sector employees. (Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles)

***Homemade food sales*** for caterers

AB 1616 legalizes and sets standards for selling various products made in home kitchens, such as breads, tortillas, cookies, churros and jams. (Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles)


Commercial space flight

AB 2243 limits liability of commercial space flight firms for injuries that don’t involve intentional or grossly negligent actions. (then Assemblyman, now Sen. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale)


Plastic bag recycling

SB 1219 extends until January 2020 a program ensuring plastic bags are accepted for recycling at supermarkets and large stores that include a pharmacy. (Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis)

Solid waste transfers

AB 845 bans cities or counties from restricting transfer of solid waste to private companies based on where it came from. The law intervenes in a Solano County fight over accepting trash from San Francisco. (Former Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco)


****Pension system changes**** for State employee retirement

AB 340 alters California’s massive public employees pension system by capping benefits, lowering benefit formulas for workers hired after Jan. 1, and by requiring current and future employees to begin paying half the cost of their pension within five years. (Former Assemblyman Warren Furutani, D-Los Angeles)

Workers’ compensation insurance

SB 863 increases benefits for workers injured on the job by creating savings through changes to the workers’ compensation insurance system designed to reduce lawsuits over treatment and compensation. (Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles)


Project labor agreements

SB 829 bans use of state funds for charter city construction projects if officials have prohibited project labor agreements. (Sen. Michael Rubio, D-East Bakersfield)


Hunting with dogs

SB 1221 bars use of dogs to hunt bears and bobcats, except for depredation, research or when dogs are guarding crops or livestock. (Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance)

Poaching fines

AB 1162 quadruples from $10,000 to $40,000 the maximum penalty for poaching trophy deer, elk, antelope or bighorn sheep. (Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata)

Cock fighting

SB 1145 doubles the maximum fine for cockfighting, to $10,000, and raises the fines for initiating other forms of animal fighting or attending such events. (Sen. Bill Emmerson, R-Hemet)


Same-day registration

AB 1436 allows qualified residents to register to vote up to and on Election Day, but would not take effect until 2014 at the earliest. (former Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles)

Violating public trust

AB 2410 bans the candidacy of a person convicted of a felony involving bribes, perjury or offenses of the public trust. (former Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, D-Sylmar)


Ronald Reagan statue

AB 2358 authorizes a Ronald Reagan statute at the Capitol, subject to design approval by the Legislature’s Joint Rules Committee and solicitation of private funding. (Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills, and former Assemblyman Martin Garrick, R-Solana Beach)

Good Samaritan

AB 472 bars a person from being arrested on drug use or possession charges after summoning medical help for an overdose involving anyone. (Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco)

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