The New Year brings fresh opportunity and challenges for most people but it also brings new laws for everyone to abide by. More than 800 laws will go into effect. Some laws directly affect your day-to-day, others not so much, but it’s a good idea to know what’s legal and what’s not. Here is a small list of some of the more talked-about laws that will go into effect.
Most of the following laws, compiled by www.californiality.com, went into effect in California as of Jan. 1, 2012.
Employers can no longer request credit reports for Californians unless they are working or seeking work in a financial institution, law enforcement or the state Justice Department.
The law also exempts anyone who (1) has access to people’s bank or credit card account information, SSN number and date of birth, (2) has access to an employer’s proprietary information or trade secrets, (3) signs a check, credit card, financial contract, or transfers money for an employer, (4) has access to more than $10,000 cash, or (5) is a manager in ‘certain industries.’
Open Carry Law
Open-carry citizen handgun ban. Supported by cops who cannot tell whether openly carried weapons are loaded or not. Violators pay $1,000 plus six months in jail (misdemeanor). Gun rights advocates vow to carry rifles and shotguns instead. Californians can still get permits for concealed weapons.
Enforces mandatory disclosure of efforts that companies take to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their entire supply chains.
California Gay Bullying Law (Seth’s Law)
Combats bullying of gay and lesbian students in public schools by requiring school districts to have a uniform process for dealing with gay bullying complaints. Effective July 2012
LGBT Equality and
Equal Access in Higher
State universities and colleges must create and enforce campus policies protecting LGBTs from harassment and appoint employee contact persons to address on-campus LGBT matters. The law includes community colleges statewide.
Corrects inequalities between domestic partnerships and heterosexual marriages, including domestic partner health benefits sharing.
Allows courts to consider the relationship between a child and a non-biological parent when considering child rights cases involving birth parents, adoptive parents, and gay or lesbian guardians.
Requires an employer with a state contract worth more than $100,000 to have non-discrimination policies in place for LGBT workers and their partners.
Includes gender identity and sexual orientation of potential judges into the state’s Judicial Applicant Data Report to ensure that state courts are diverse.
Governor Jerry Brown signed the Gay History Law, which mandates that school textbooks and social studies include gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender accomplishments.
Internet Sales Tax
Governor Brown signed into law that out-of-state Internet retailers must collect California sales tax on transactions if the retailer has a presence in the state. Law effective Summer 2012.
Right to Recycling Law
Apartment building landlords will have to start providing recycling services for 7 million California tenants.
Government and third-party snoops can no longer gather information on Internet users’ reading, book shopping or ebook using habits without a legal court order.
Additionally, the California Department of Education released the following list of new laws that will affect the youth in 2012.
Assembly Bill AB 130 is the California Dream Act of 2011. This measure exempts California nonresidents who qualify for the AB 540 (Firebaugh, 2001) tuition waiver from paying nonresidential tuition at the University of California, California State University, and California Community College institutions of higher education.
Assembly Bill 131 expands the state-administered student financial aid that is available for AB 540 waiver eligible students. For AB 540 waiver students, acquiring federally issued financial aid is prohibited, and opportunities for state-issued financial aid are limited.
Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010, which begins in the 2012-13 school year. This measure changes the required birthday for admission to kindergarten and first grade and establishes a transitional kindergarten program.
Assembly Bill 124 establishes a process to update, revise, and align the English-Language Development Standards to the CCSS (Common Core State Standards) in English-language arts, and would require the State Superintendent and the State Board of Education to present lawmakers with a schedule and implementation plan for integrating the revised English-Language Development Standards into the education system.
State Bill 140 requires the California Department of Education to develop a list of supplemental instructional materials for use in kindergarten through seventh grade that are aligned with the CCSS in mathematics, and language arts for kindergarten through eighth grade.
Under State Bill 929 children under the age of eight must be properly buckled into a car seat or booster seat in the back seat. In addition, children aged eight or older who are not tall enough for the seat belt to fit properly must ride in a booster or car seat.
The previous law required that children remain in a booster seat until the age of six or until they weighed 60 pounds. The fine for violating this law is significant. For each child under the age of 16 who is not properly secured, parents (if in the car) or the driver can be fined a minimum of $475 and get a point on their driving record.
Vehicle License Fee
– Cut almost in half
On July 1, 2011, the motor vehicle license fee (VLF) was reduced from 1.15 percent of a vehicle’s assessed value to 0.65 percent. In 2009, the VLF had been temporarily raised to help reduce California chronic budget deficit; the 2009 half percent increase generated approximately $5.1 billion for 2009, 2010 and 2011 for the state. An extension of the VLF increase was not included in the state’s 2011-2012 fiscal year budget.
Senate Bill 89 increased the registration fee an additional $12 for vehicles to $43 per year, from the previous $31, effective July 1, 2012. The increase, which will raise approximately $360 million per year for the state, will be used to pay for DMV day-to-day operations. A number of additional state and local registration fees assessed will bring the overall fee total to about $100 depending on where in the state the vehicle is registered and domiciled. These fees are added to the motor vehicle license fee (VLF) charge (see above item), which is assessed as a percentage of a vehicle’s value.
Starting July 1, 2012 Assembly Bill 1215 requires that when new-car dealers sell a vehicle, they register it electronically with the DMV. The measure also allows dealers to charge [buyer] up to $80 for electronic document processing and up to $65 for manual processing. AB 1215 also requires used-car dealers to make a vehicle history report from the National Motor Vehicle Title Information Service (NMVTIS) available to buyers prior to sale and prohibits the dealer from offering a used vehicle for sale unless the dealer first obtains the report. This requirement does not apply to the sale of motorcycles, off-road vehicles, or recreational vehicles.