New Year. New Laws. Everything You Need to Know.
Vehicle Fees (Senate Bill 1)
On January 1 a new vehicle tax will go into effect. The tax is to be paid annually with registration, and will range from $25 to $175 depending on the value of the car:
- Vehicles worth between $0 and $4,999: $25 fee increase
- Vehicles worth between $5,000 and $24,999: $50 fee increase
- Vehicles worth between $25,000 and $34,999: $100 fee increase
- Vehicles worth between $35,000 and $59,999: $150 fee increase
- Vehicles worth $60,000 and higher: $175 fee increase
Marijuana and Driving (Senate Bills 65 and 94)
This law prohibits drivers and passengers from smoking or consuming marijuana or marijuana products while driving or riding in a car. The fine for violation of the new law is $70 and the DMV will add negligent driver points. Additionally, possessing an open container of cannabis or cannabis product in an operating car will be illegal.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) will train state and local law enforcement officers in drug recognition and impairment. An Impaired Driving Task Force was created to recommend best practices, protocols, legislation, and policies to address driving under the influence (DUI) of cannabis and controlled substances.
Law enforcement anticipates an increase in DUI resulting from the legalization of recreational cannabis.
Pedestrian Crossing Signals (Assembly Bill 390)
This law basically will provide clear standards for pedestrian behavior at intersections controlled by traffic control signals and countdown timers.
Pedestrians who cross the street while the red hand signal is flashing will no longer be penalized for doing so. If the flashing red hand symbol appears and there is a countdown to indicate how much time pedestrians have left to cross, walkers are legally permitted to do so.
Bars and Ride-sharing (Assembly Bill 711)
Effective January 1 this law will allow alcohol companies and businesses to team up Uber and Lyft, as well as taxi services, to give out vouchers or promo codes for discounted rides.
DUI – Passenger for Hire (AB 2687)
Beginning July 1, ride-share drivers cannot have blood alcohol level of .04 or more when there is a passenger inside. The DMV will suspend the license of anyone who violates this law, and commercial drivers (limos and taxis) will receive a disqualification.
Parking Violations for Registration or Driver License Renewal (AB 503)
This law creates a process for low-income earners to repay fines for outstanding parking violations prior to the violations being reported to the DMV. The law also allows the registered owner of a vehicle to file for Planned Non-Operation status when there are unpaid parking fees in the vehicle’s record.
Motorcycle Training Courses (AB 1027)
Under this law the DMV will accept a certificate of completion of any motorcyclist training program approved by the CHP instead of a DMV-issued test.
Car Window Tinting (AB 1303)
This law allows drivers with a medical condition certified by a dermatologist to tint their windshields, side and rear windows to protect them from ultraviolet rays.
Sanctuary State of California (Senate Bill 54 and Assembly Bill 291)
Effective January 1, this law restricts the ability of state and local police in California to cooperate with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, or ICE agents. Law enforcement officers won’t be allowed to ask about someone’s immigration status or hold them for ICE agents, unless that person has been convicted of a crime. In addition, landlords will be prohibited from reporting renters who are in the country illegally.
College tuition (Assembly Bill 19)
Assembly Bill 19 establishes the initial 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 114 community colleges.
Work Site Immigration Enforcement and Protections (Assembly Bill 450)
This law protects workers from immigration enforcement while on the job. An employer or someone acting on behalf of an employer is not allowed to let an immigration agent enter non-public areas of a work place unless the agent has a warrant. Public and private employers can face fines up to $10,000 for each violation.
LGBT Rights for Long-Term Care Facility (Senate Bill 219)
This new law strengthens an existing law and makes it unlawful for a facility to act against an individual based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or their HIV status. Facilities cannot deny admission, transfer, refuse transfer, discharge or evict LGBT residents. Facilities must use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns.
Ban the Box (Assembly Bill 1008)
People who have a criminal conviction — say, for shoplifting or selling drugs — will no longer have to check a box admitting so when applying for a job in 2018. Part of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, does not prevent an employer from conducting background checks. But it requires that a conditional offer be made first.
Minimum Wage Increase (Senate Bill 3)
This is the second phase of the SB3 minimum wage increase which will eventually reach $15 in 2022. Beginning January 1, the minimum wage will increase to $11 an hour for more than 2 million workers in California.
Job Salary History (Assembly Bill 168)
Employers will no longer be able to ask job applicants about their salary history, compensation or benefits. Employers will also be required to disclose pay scales for a job if the applicants ask for them.