California’s legislative mill churned out more than 800 laws that take effect January 1.
The new laws cover a vast array of issues including internet privacy, giving drivers licenses to children of illegal immigrants, banning psychotherapy for young gay teens and the use of dogs when hunting bobcats or bears and many others.
Some of these laws are brand new while others are improvements of the previous ones.
It’s legal to text or talk while driving again for as long as you use some sort of voice activated software and not your fingers to do it. They can also use an electronic device, such as a smart-phone, tablet, and others to show proof of insurance and registration when requested by law enforcement.
The existing law, which prohibits drivers from using any type of electronic wireless communications device to write, send or read a text-based communication allows the use of devices that are specifically designed to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation to dictate, send or listen to a text-based communication.
Gun advocates who in recent years have demonstrates for their rights to carry unloaded long guns in incorporated cities were deprived of those rights away by Assembly Bill 1527 as early bill did with handguns.
Assembly Bill 131 expands the rights of illegal immigrants who want to attend state colleges what the law previously restricted them. The law passed in 2011 allowed certain people who are in the country illegally to received state-funded financial aid for college.
Those with Facebook accounts will find a bit of relief in Assembly Bill 1844 which prevents employers and potential employers from requesting social media usernames and passwords. Likewise, another bill prevents colleges from requesting similar information from students or prospective students.
Some other notable laws are:
Driving under the influence – The law no longer allows a person who has been arrested and is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs the option of a urine test. Before this change, a person had the option of submitting either urine or blood to determine the drug content of his blood.
Emergency services – Similar to an Amber Alert, the CHP would activate a “Silver Alert” upon request if a person, age 65 or older, is reported missing to a law enforcement agency after determining that certain criteria are met which include the person is missing under unexplained or suspicious circumstances or the law enforcement agency believes the person is in danger due to age, health, mental or physical disability, environment or weather conditions; the person is in the company of a potentially dangerous person; or there are other factors indicating that the person may be in peril.
Health Care – A provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, calls for a new 2.3 percent levy on the sale of certain medical devices by the manufacturer or importer.
Driver’s License – This law allows a driver’s license applicant who provides satisfactory proof that his or her presence in the United States is authorized under federal law, but who is not eligible for a Social Security number, to receive an original driver’s license if he or she meets all other qualifications for licensure.
California Homeowner Bill of Rights- Stops the “abusive tactics” of loan servicers and protects struggling homeowners who are trying, in good faith, to renegotiate their mortgages.
Pension Reform Law- The law requires current state employees and all new public employees to pay for at least 50 percent of their pensions and establishes this as the norm for all public workers in California.
Charter-party carriers of passengers, alcoholic beverages, open containers – The law requires that bus and limousine drivers be held responsible for telling all underage passengers that drinking alcohol is illegal. If alcohol is being transported in a bus or limousine with underage passengers on board, a person at least 25 years old must be on board to guarantee there is no underage consumption.