15 New California Laws Take Effect In 2016

Jan 2, 2016

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed thousands of bills into law since he took office. Many of them take effect come Jan. 1, 2016.

The La Jolla Patch compiled this list of all the new laws.

Minimum wage workers must be paid at least $10 an hour (AB 10): This law was first signed in 2013 by Gov. Jerry Brown, and increases the California minimum wage to $10 an hour starting Jan. 1, 2016.

Gun owners may have their guns seized via a new gun violence restraining order (AB 1014): This law allows for the firearms to be taken away “for safekeeping” if a judge deems a person is at risk for violence. Under the bill, close family members and law enforcement will be eligible to seek a GVRO, which would then remain in place for up to a year. The law was passed after a mass shooting in Isla Vista.

Vaccinations will be mandatory for almost all schoolchildren, grades K-12 (SB 277, Pan): The legislation eliminates vaccination exemptions based on religious or personal beliefs. It will require all children entering kindergarten to be vaccinated unless a doctor certifies that a child has a medical condition, such as allergies, preventing it. The legislation was prompted in part by an outbreak of measles traced to Disneyland that began in late 2014 and ultimately spread to more than 130 people across the state.

Earbuds or Headsets can’t be worn while driving a vehicle or on a bike (SB 491, Transportation Committee): This law, among other things, makes it unlawful to wear a headset covering, earplugs in, or earphones covering, resting on, or inserted in, both ears, while operating a motor vehicle or a bicycle. This prohibition does not apply to persons operating authorized emergency vehicles, construction equipment and refuse or waste equipment while wearing a headset or safety earplugs. (Info courtesy of the DMV)

You may notice new “yellow alerts” on freeway signs after a nearby hit-and-run has occurred (AB 8, Gatto): A “Yellow Alert” notification system will be established as of January 1, 2016, for specified hit-and-run incidents resulting in death or serious injury. As with AMBER, Silver, or Blue Alerts, the CHP will work with requesting law enforcement agencies to determine whether the hit-and-run meets the criteria for a Yellow Alert, including the use of the freeway Changeable Message Signs (CMS). Criteria established in the law include the availability of information about the hit-and-run suspect or the suspect’s vehicle, and whether disseminating the information will be helpful. (Info courtesy of the CHP)

Those convicted of DUI will have to keep using Ignition Interlock Devices in four counties (SB 61, Hill) – Ensures that all DUI offenders in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare counties continue to install Ignition Interlock Devices on their vehicles to protect the public from drunk drivers. The bill extends the sunset by 1.5 years (from Dec 2015 to July 2017) for the Department of Motor Vehicle’s four-county IID pilot program so the Legislature can review the DMV report on the program, which is due out in early 2016, and determine the best way to move forward in 2016. Without this legislation, the DMV report will be released when the program sunsets and the Legislature won’t have an opportunity to decide if it wants to continue, expand or end the pilot program. A recent report from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) found that IIDs in California have prevented over 1 million instances of drinking and driving since 2010: http://www.madd.org/local-offices/ca/documents/California-Report.pdf

Funding for California’s Earthquake Early Warning System established (SB 494, Hill)– Helps facilitate the implementation of California’s earthquake early warning system by establishing the California Earthquake Safety Fund. SB 494 builds on existing policy to ensure California is prepared for the next Big One. (Info courtesy of Sen. Jerry Hill)

Hoverboard riders need to be at least 16, wear a helmet (AB 604, Olsen): Popular “hoverboards” or electric motorized boards are at the center of this new law, which mandates that the rider of the board be age 16 or above and requires the rider to wear a helmet. The boards can be operated at speeds of up to 15 mph on sidewalks, paths or trails, with a speed limit of no more than 35 mph. The new law states local governments and other agencies can enact further regulations restricting use of the boards in public.

You’ll soon have to show proof of California residency when applying for a license in this state (AB 1465, Gordon): This law will require an applicant for an original driver license or identification card to provide proof of California state residency, starting July 1, 2016 and it will bring DMV into compliance with a federal law requirement. The DMV will need to adopt regulations relating to the procedures for verifying that the applicant is a California resident. (Info via the DMV)

Law enforcement officers need a search warrant to check your phones, electronic communications (SB 178, Leno): The bill protects Californians against warrantless law enforcement access to private electronic communications such as emails, text messages and GPS data that are stored in the cloud and on smart phones, tablets, laptops and other digital devices. There are exceptions for law enforcement to use in the event of emergencies and other public safety needs. (Info courtesy of Sen. Mark Leno)

Toy Guns in California Must Be Bright, Easily Distinguishable (SB 199, De Leon): The law requires replica guns to be distinguished from real weapons by painting the entire exterior in bright colors or having florescent strips on their salient parts. Toy guns such as Airsoft and BB guns are not currently in California’s definition of imitation weapons.

Public high school students will learn why ‘yes means yes’ (SB 695, De Leon): This law aims to prevent rape and sexual assault through education. SB 695 will require public high school health classes to provide students instruction on affirmative consent, sexual harassment, assault, violence, and the importance of developing positive and healthy relationships. (Info courtesy of Sen. Kevin de Leon)

The California New Motor Voter Program means you’ll be automatically registered to vote, if qualified, via the DMV (AB 1461, Gonzalez): Assembly Bill 1461, also known as the California New Motor Voter Act, will automatically register driver’s license and identification applicants at the Department of Motor Vehicles who are eligible to vote. The program will register every voting-eligible resident who applies for or renews a driver’s license or ID card at a (DMV), with the ability to opt out, potentially adding millions of new registered voters to California’s voter rolls. (Info courtesy of Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez)

Those looking to change laws in the future are going to have to pony up a lot more cash (AB 1100): Want to file a ballot initiative for the next California ballot? Get ready to pay a lot more. The law states “…existing law requires a fee of $200 to be paid by the proponents when a proposed ballot initiative or referendum is submitted to the Attorney General for preparation of a circulating title and summary. This bill would increase the filing fee from $200 to $2,000.”

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