New Laws for the New Year
Last year, California voters and lawmakers approved a number of laws. Here are some of the laws that are on the books as of this year.
Minimum Wage Increase: Starting Jan. 1, the California minimum wage will officially be $11 per hour for companies with 26 or more employees. That's an increase of $1 an hour. For businesses with 25 or less employees, workers must be paid $10.50 an hour.
Salary History and Pay Scales: This law prohibits employers from seeking or asking about a job applicant's salary history, compensation or benefits. It also requires employers disclose pay scales for a position if it is requested by a job applicant.
State-Wide Ban-the-Box Law
This law applies to employers with five or more employees, and prohibits employers from asking about criminal history on job applications. The law also prohibits inquiring about or considering criminal history at any time before a conditional offer of employment has been made. Once a conditional offer is made, an employer may seek certain criminal history.
Parental Leave: For new parents in 2018, effective January 1, if your employer has more than 20 employees, it will be required to give you up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with your new child. Employees can use any accrued vacation time, sick time or any other paid-time off to spend time with their new child. The law, authored by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, applies to employees who have worked for more than 12 months with their employers.
Rules for the road
Cannabis in Vehicles: Prohibits smoking or ingesting marijuana or marijuana products while driving or riding as a vehicle passenger.
Buses and Seatbelts: Effective July 1, 2018, a passenger on a bus equipped with seat belts will be required to be properly restrained by a safety belt. This law also prohibits children between 8 and 16 years of age from being transported on a bus, unless properly restrained by a safety belt or child passenger restraint system that meets federal safety standards;
DUI: Passenger for Hire: Beginning July 1, 2018, it will be unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more when a passenger for hire is in the vehicle at the time of the offense; Parking Violations for Registration or Driver License Renewal: Creates a process for low-income Californians with outstanding parking violations to repay their fines and penalties prior to the parking violation being reported to the DMV. It also allows for someone with outstanding parking penalties and fees to obtain or renew a driver license.
Disabled Person Parking Placards and Plates: Changes have been made to the administration of the Disabled Person Parking Placard and Disabled Person License Plate Program, including requiring applicants to provide proof of true full name and birthdate. The law also will limit the number of replacement disabled person parking placards an applicant can request without obtaining a medical certification to four in two years.
Drivers with certain medical conditions will be allowed to tint vehicle windshields and front and rear windows. A dermatologist certification will be required to show the driver has a medical condition, such as Lupus, that makes them sensitive to ultraviolet rays.
Ammunition Sales: Starting January 1, all ammunition purchases in California must be made in person through a vendor licensed by the Department of Justice. The law also applies to any transfers of ammunition. Gun owners will also be prohibited from importing ammunition from outside the state without it going through a licensed vendor in California first.
Feminine Hygiene: New law AB10 requires public middle and high schools with a high percentage of low-income students to provide free feminine hygiene products in half of the school's bathrooms.
Child Hunger Prevention And Fair Treatment Act: Effective January 1, the Child Hunger Prevention and Fair Treatment Act, will ensure that school officials do not delay or deny food or publicly shame students whose parents have unpaid school meal fees.
The bill's author, Senator Robert Hertzberg, said: “We know that hunger undercuts a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school. We also know that embarrassing children in front of peers can destroy their self-confidence. That is why it’s important to stop school lunch shaming and create a different approach for tackling lunch fee debt.”