New California laws to watch for in 2017


The New Year isn’t just for champagne clinks and short-lived resolutions.  It is also the time when California’s latest passed legislation take effect.

California Gov. Jerry Brown was sent a total of 1,059 bills during the 2015-2016 legislative year, 898 of which he signed into law.  Many of these will begin in a little more than a week.

From stricter gun laws to the increased minimum wage, here is a summary of a handful of the laws taking effect Jan. 1, 2017.

AB 1785: Use of Electronic Wireless Devices

This new law aims to prevent the increasing problem of distracted driving.  Assembly Bill 1785 will prohibit motorists from driving while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or wireless electronic communications device.  Drivers may only perform the motion of a single swipe or tap of a device while it is mounted in a vehicle.

AB 53: Child Safety Seats

The Assembly Bill first passed in 2015 requires children 2 years old and younger to be fastened in a rear-facing car seat to comply with the current recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Children who weigh more than 40 pounds or are at least 40 inches tall are not required to be placed in rear-facing car seats.

SB 3: Minimum Wage

As of Jan. 1, California’s minimum wage will rise to $10.50 per hour for businesses with 26 or more employees.  The wage is scheduled to rise every year from 2017 to 2022 until the hourly minimum wage reaches $15 per hour. Employers with 25 or fewer employees have an extra year to comply beginning in January 2018, and ending in January 2023.

SB 880 and AB 1135: Firearms, Assault Weapons

The two California bills will ban the sale of semi-automatic, centerfire rifles or semi-automatic pistols that do not have fixed magazine and have “one of those specified attributes.”  California already banned assault weapons, but Senate Bill 880 and Assembly Bill 1135 attempt to close the “bullet-button” loophole for guns created in response to the state’s original ban.  Those who purchased one of the listed weapons before Jan. 1, 2017 will have one year to re-register it with the U.S. Department of Justice.

AB 2888: Sex Crimes, Mandatory Prison Sentence

Following the six-month jail sentence of former Stanford student Brock Turner who was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, California lawmakers wrote and passed Assembly Bill 2888.  The bill will mandate a prison sentence for those who assault those who are unconscious or unable to give consent due to intoxication.

SB 813: Sex Offenses, Statute of Limitations

Linked to the infamous case and accusations against comedian Bill Cosby, Senate Bill 813 ends California’s 10-year statute of limitations on sex offenses, allowing sex crimes to be prosecuted against regardless of when they occurred.  The law will cover new offenses after Jan. 1, 2017 and cannot be applied to cases retroactively.

SB 1063: Wage Discrimination and Application to Race and Ethnicity

Senate Bill 1063 will extend the current law against wage discrimination based on gender, to wage discrimination based on ethnicity or race.  Employers cannot pay an employee of a particular race or ethnicity less than others for similar work.

AB 1289: Transportation Network Companies, Participating Drivers Penalties

Transportation Network Company (TNC), or ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, will now be required to perform a comprehensive background check on all of their drivers.  Drivers who are registered sex offenders, have been convicted of specified felonies or have been convicted of a misdemeanor of assault, domestic violence or driving under the influence cannot drive for the TNC.

AB 1494: Voting, Marked Ballots

Also known as the bill that will allow voters to take ballot selfies, Assembly Bill 1494 will permit individuals to take photos of their completed ballots and share it how they choose.

AB 797: Motor Vehicles, Rescue or Provision of Care for Animal

Good Samaritans can now free animals from cars on a hot day.  The new law will allow individuals to break into vehicles when an animal’s “safety appears to be in immediate danger of specified harm” and the animal’s owner could not be found.  Individuals are then required to contact law enforcement and wait for them to arrive.

AB 1322: Alcoholic Beverages, Beauty Salons and Barber Shops

Now, customers can get their hair done while enjoying a 12-ounce beer or 6-ounce serving of wine.  The new law allows beauty salons, barber shops and similar businesses to offer beer or wine to their customers without a beverage license.  The catch?  Last call is before 10 p.m.

[email protected]
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS