Every year, hundreds of new laws take effect as midnight strikes in the
new year in California. These laws range from marijuana sales, to minimum
wage increases, to the price of college education.
The following are some of the new laws that took effect on January 1, 2018:
Marijuana – Under California’s legalization of recreational cannabis
approved by state voters in 2016 (Proposition 64), adults 21 and older
can purchase marijuana for recreational use from a licensed dispensary
at the start of the new year. Commercial licenses for cannabis cultivation,
manufacture, testing labs, distribution and retail sale have been issued.
SB 65 bans smoking or ingesting cannabis while operating or riding in
a vehicle, similar to alcohol.
Immigration – SB 54 makes California a “sanctuary state,” limiting
the ability of state and local law enforcement to cooperate with federal
immigration enforcement. Officers are not allowed to inquire about an
individual’s immigration status or detain him or her on a hold request
from the federal government—unless they have been convicted of one
or more than 800 crimes. SB 257 allows students whose parents are deported
to continue attending California schools. AB 291 prohibits landlords from
reporting their undocumented renters. AB 450 protects workers from immigration
enforcement while on the job and employers are not allowed to let an immigration
agent enter non-public areas of a work site unless the agent has a warrant.
Paid Leave – Under SB 3, the state minimum wage will increase to $10.50 per
hour for businesses with 25 or fewer employees and to $11 per hour for
those with 26 or more employees. SB 63 allows new parents—who work
in small businesses with between 20 and 49 employees—up to 12 weeks
of unpaid parental leave with the first year of their child’s birth,
adoption or foster care placement. AB 908 also boosts state compensation
for workers taking paid leave to temporarily care for a family member,
to 60 percent of their regular wages from 55 percent, and up to 70 percent
for the lowest earners.
Work – Under AB 168, the salary history of job applicants can only be
disclosed voluntarily. AB 1008 bans employers, state agencies, and public
utilities with five or more workers from including, on any application,
any questions about an applicant’s conviction history.
Crimes – Under SB 180, repeat
drug offenders do not automatically get an additional three years added to
their sentences. AB 1542 forces criminals who videotape or stream their
crimes on social media to face longer sentences since recordings are now
considered as aggravating factors for certain
violent crimes. AB 1448 allows the Board of Parole hearings to consider the possibility
of granting parole to an elderly prisoner (60 years of age or older) who
has served at least 25 years in prison. UN SB 239, knowingly exposing
a sexual partner to HIV with the intent of transmitting the virus will
no longer be a felony, lowering the offense to a misdemeanor.
Juvenile Offenders – SB 394 ensures compliance with U.S. Supreme Court decisions by
allowing juvenile offenders sentenced to life without the possibility
of parole to be eligible for a parole hearing after 25 years. AB 1308
expands the youth offender parole process for those sentenced to lengthy
prison terms for crimes committed before age 23 to include those 25 years
or younger. SB 190 puts an end to the assessment of fees on families of
youth in the juvenile justice system. SB 312 will allow a judge to seal
juvenile records even for serious or violent offenses after the offender
has completed the sentence, SB 393 authorizes record sealing and removes
barriers to employment for those arrested but never convicted of an offense.
Guns – AB 424 eliminates a policy, which was implemented only last year, that
gave school administrators authority to decide whether employees with
concealed carry permits should be allowed to bring their guns onto school
grounds—now they will be banned. Under AB 725, those convicted of
a hate crime will lose their right to possess a firearm for ten years.
Under AB 693, all ammunition sales and transfers must be made in person
through a licensed vendor—approved by the State’s Department
of Justice. Out-of-state purchases and internet purchases must also go
through a vendor.
College Tuition – AB 19 establishes the first stage of a “free college” program,
waiving the first year of fees for any first-time student who enrolls
full-time at one of California’s community colleges.
Schools – AB 830 eliminates the high school exit exam. AB 10 requires middle and
high schools where at least 40 percent of students meet the federal poverty
threshold to stock half their campus restrooms with free menstrual products.
SB 250 requires schools to make meals available to needy kids, even if
their fees have not been paid.
Drug Prices – SB 17 makes it mandatory for manufacturers to notify the state at least
60 days before dramatically increasing the price of most drugs. Health
insurers must also report how much prescribed medication is contributing
to the cost of their plans, such as annual hikes and premiums. AB 265
prohibits discount coupons for brand-name drugs, which can lower patient
Diaper Changing Stations – AB 1127 requires state and local agencies, as well as public institutions
(grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, sports stadiums, etc.) to
provide at least one diaper-changing station accessible to women and men.
Gender – SB 179 removes the requirement that they have undergone any treatment
before applying with the state to change the gender on their birth certificate.
Additionally, it also adds a “nonbinary” option for those
who do not identify as either male or female, which will display on driver’s
license as well at the beginning of 2019.
For more information,
Santa Barbara criminal defense attorneys at
Appel & Morse today.