Sacramento, Calif. — A new year brings new laws. On Thursday, NBC5 News told you about some of the 18 statewide laws going into effect in Oregon.
California has 898 new laws going into effect Sunday.
Sacramento NBC affiliate KCRA has made a list of 17 of those laws you need to know about.
Cellphones use while driving: Californians are no longer allowed to use a handheld wireless phone or wireless electronic device while driving, unless the device is mounted on the vehicle windshield or dashboard in a way that doesn’t hinder the driver’s view of the road. Drivers are only allowed to activate or deactivate a feature or function on the device with a single swipe or tap and cannot do that while holding the device. This expands on a law that already bans texting while driving. Click here to read the law.
Motorcycle lane splitting: According to the new law, lane splitting is defined as driving a two-wheeled motorcycle between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane. The law allows the California Highway Patrol to develop education guidelines in a way that ensures the safety of motorcyclists, drivers and passengers. Click here to read the law.
Vehicle registration fee: SB 838 increases the vehicle registration fee on every vehicle or trailer coach from $43 to $53 beginning April 1. Click here to read the law.
Minimum wage: California’s minimum wage will increase from $10 an hour to $10.50 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees under SB 3. It will gradually increase to $15 an hour in 2022. The law delays increases by one year for smaller employers. Click here to read the law.
Assault weapons: Voters passed a law that requires Californians who own gun magazines with more than 10 rounds to give them up starting Jan. 1. Buyers must undergo a background check before buying ammunition and will be barred from buying new weapons that have a bullet button, which were developed by gun manufacturers to get around the state’s assault weapons ban. A bullet button allows a shooter to quickly dislodge the magazine using the tip of a bullet. Click here to read the law.
Law enforcement officers’ handgun storage: Law enforcement officers will be required to follow the same rules as civilians by securely storing handguns in a lockbox out of plain view or in the trunk if weapons are left in an unattended vehicle. SB 869 closes a legal loophole and was authored after stolen guns were used in several crimes throughout California. Click here to read the law.
Sexual assault clarification: Sexually assaulting an unconscious or severely intoxicated person will become a crime ineligible for probation. SB 2888 clarifies that a victim cannot consent to sex while unconscious or incapacitated by drugs, alcohol or medication. The change in the law came after former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was given six months in jail and released early for assaulting an unconscious woman. Click here to read the law.
School mascots: Beginning Jan. 1, California public schools will be banned from using the name “Redskins” for sports teams and mascots under AB 30. American Indians regard the term as offensive. Calaveras High School, in Calaveras County, chose to drop the name it used for decades and decided that it would no longer have a mascot at all. Click here to read the law.
Powdered alcohol: Booze in a powdered form (yep, that’s a real thing) will be illegal to possess, sell, make or use, per SB 819. Powdered alcohol includes spirits, liquor, wine, beer and every other liquid that can be combined with water or any other liquid, but it does not include vaporized alcohol. Click here to read the law.
Drinking at salons: Beginning Jan. 1, beauty salons and barber shops will be allowed to serve free wine or beer to their clients until 10 p.m. Click here to read the law.
Businesses and EpiPens: Under AB 1386, businesses can stock EpiPens in case there is a need to treat people suffering from life-threatening allergic reactions.The law allows pharmacies to give the devices to colleges, private businesses and other venues that have a plan in place for using them. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill because he said it has the potential to save lives, but he called out EpiPen manufacturer Mylan for “rapacious corporate behavior” by raising prices. Click here to read the law.
Right-to-die: Terminally ill patients in California will be allowed to use experimental drugs, which do not have full regulatory approval, to decide when they want to end their lives. It authorizes, but does not require health plans to cover investigational drugs and protects physicians from disciplinary actions if they recommend them once other treatment options have been exhausted. The law came about after Brittany Maynard, a Bay Area woman with terminal brain cancer, moved to Oregon before taking her life using drugs. Click here to read the law.
Gender-neutral bathrooms: Beginning March 1, AB 1732 requires that all single-user toilet facilities in any business or public place to be all-gender facilities. Click here to read the law.
Homeless students at community college: Any community college campuses with shower facilities on campus must allow homeless students who are enrolled, paid and in good standing to use the facilities, under AB 1995. Another law, AB 1747, requires public and private institutions that offer food services to apply for a state-funded program that provides food for homeless students. Click here to read AB 1995. Click here to read AB 1747.
Youth sports health protocol: Just like a previous law aimed at protecting high school student-athletes who may have suffered head injuries, youth sports organizations will be required to notify the parents or guardians of athletes younger than 17 years old who have been removed from activity because of a suspected concussion. It also requires athletic organizations to offer concussion and head injury education to coaches and administrators on a yearly basis. The organizations would also have to comply with athlete removal provisions and return-to-play protocol. Click here to read the law.
Human trafficking: People under 18 years old cannot be charged with prostitution, under SB 1322. Instead, they will be treated as victims. This is one of several human-trafficking bills that include raising the age children can testify outside a courtroom from 13 to 15, protecting the victims’ names from disclosure and mandating that they have access to county services. Click here to read the law.
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