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New California Laws in 2017
updated: Dec 31, 2016, 12:00 PM

By Celina Phillipson, Edhat Staff

Californians will be waking up to new laws tomorrow morning. Starting January 1st, 898 bills signed by Governor Jerry Brown will go into effect. Of these legislatures passed, California welcomes stricter regulated guns and ammunition laws, aggressive environmental legislation, and increased laws on sexual assault.

Some of the laws that go into effect are:

Gender neutral bathrooms: Assembly Bill 1732 requires all single unit bathroom stalls in businesses and public agencies to be gender neutral.

"Redskins" mascot banning: Originally passed in 2015, Assembly Bill 2015 gave public schools until 2017 to abandon the highly denounced insensitive mascot. Of the four high schools using the mascot, two have changed their name to "tribe", another to the "Reds," and the last has changed their mascot altogether.

Minimum wage increase: Minimum wage goes from $10 an hour to $10.50 an hour for businesses with 26 employees or more as part of a gradual increase for a nation-leading pay floor of $15 an hour by the year 2022.

Equal pay: Assembly Bill 1676 ensures a woman cannot be paid less than her male colleagues because of her previous pay.

Paid parental leave: Assembly Bill 2393 allows 12 weeks of paid parental leave to all K-12 employees and community college employees.

Welfare benefits: By repealing a policy known as the "maximum family grant," pregnant women on welfare can now apply for benefits to cover their newest child, as well as apply for children who had been previously excluded.

Lane splitting guidelines: Assembly Bill 51 administers CHP to develop educational guidelines of weaving between lanes of stopped cars for motorcyclists, further formalizing the definition of "lane-splitting."

Limited phone interaction: Assembly Bill 1785 further draws in the reigns of distracted driving by limiting mounted interactions of cell phones to a swipe or a click in order to allow drivers to use GPS. All other cell phone functions are to be handled in a hands-free mode.

Vehicle Registration Fee: This law increases registration fee from $43 to $53 for all trailers and vehicles beginning April 1, 2017, and increases the fee for the renewal, retention, transfer, or duplication of Environmental License Plates (personalized) from $38 to $43, starting January 1, 2017.

Accident reporting: The minimum damage needed to report to the DMV is increased from $750 to $1000. 

Gun restrictions: Purchasing semi-automatic, centerfire rifles or semi-automatic pistols that have a protruding pistol grip, folding or telescoping stock, or lack a fixed magazine is now unavailable. If already owned, guns with such specifications must be registered with the California Department of Justice. Under Assembly Bill 1511, gun lending is restricted to hunting guides and licensed family members for a limited number.

Student homelessness programs: Assembly Bill 1995 requires community colleges to open shower facilities up to homeless students, while Assembly Bill 1747 mandates public and private colleges to apply to participate in a state-funded program to provide meals to the homeless.

Park name trademarking: Assembly Bill 2249 bans all trademarking of names already associated with State Parks.

Physician accountability on control troubled children: Senate Bill 1174 holds doctors accountable by suspending licenses who over prescribe psychiatric drugs in order to create more transparency within the state's dependency to psychotropic medications and track mental health illness in children.

Powdered alcohol prohibition: Powdered alcohol is now illegal to sell, possess, or make within the state of California.

Earthquake warnings: $10 million is being directed to expand ShakeAlert, to further California's attempt at creating a statewide early warning system.

Consumer rights: Landlords are prohibited to show, rent, or sell any units with known bedbug infestations. Rental car companies are prohibited from renting out vehicles subject to manufacturer's recall until fixed.

Rape sentencing: Rape is hereby defined to include "all forms of nonconsensual sexual assault" with no statute of limitations under Senate Bill 813. Additionally, the maximum sentence will be employed for all sexual crimes committed on an unconscious person, following the outcry following the six-month sentence following the Brock Turner case.

Dog samaritan laws: Dogs locked in cars showing signs of distress can be liberated after attempts to find owners have failed and local authorities have been contacted.

Decriminalization of prostitution: Sex workers under the age of 18 are victims, not criminals, under Senate Bill 1322 - barring law enforcement from arresting minors for prostitution or loitering with intent. Senate 1129 removes mandatory sentencing for repeat offenders - providing flexibility in judges' sentencing for solicitors and sellers.

Car seats: Kids under the age of two must be fastened in a rear-facing child seat, unless 40 pounds or 40 inches tall. Children under the age of eight must ride in the backseat.

Voting: Senate Bill 450 allows voters to return mail in ballots to any county elections office in the State. Voters can now register the day of elections, but will be "conditional voter registration" - meaning the vote will not be counted until cleared. Additionally, felons serving time outside prison can now vote.

State travel: State agencies cannot require employees to travel to states that will discriminate or bar against customers for sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender. Conceived in response to Indiana allowing businesses to cite religious freedom as legal defense, the law will only affect travel to North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi (Indiana's law came before a cut off written within the bill.)


(Source: California Bill Documents)

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 749187 agree helpful negative off topic

2016-12-31 12:49 PM

AB51 mandates the impossible: educate the public about how motorcycles can lane split safely. I'll be interested to see the prescription for that!
State law now requires cars give bicyclists at least 3 feet of space while motorcycles may legally maneuver as close to cars as they want while "sharing" a split lane as long as it is "safe". Say what?


 COMMENT 749193 agree helpful negative off topic

2016-12-31 01:04 PM

And how long before the transgender community objects to the ill-conceived half-man/half-woman (1/2 pants/1/2 dress) graphic depicting them. If I were a transgender, I wouldn't want to be identified on a bathroom door as a person who wears an outfit consisting of half a pair of slacks and half a dress.


 COMMENT 749205 agree helpful negative off topic

2016-12-31 02:43 PM

Every day of the year PSAs on local TV tell us that there is child abuse occurring in our communities and that it's our duty to report it, but now it's perfectly legal for children to sell their bodies?

This seems more like going over a cliff than down a slippery slope - I mentioned previously that there is some sort of "movement" to legalize 10 forms of deviant sexual behavior and lower the age of consent to 12 - I was wrong, they actually want to lower the age of "consent" to newborn babies.

This goes WAY beyond sex - some of it involves animals and dead people, so what we're headed for is a "utopia" where ANYTHING goes, and "consent" is mandatory.

"Do what thou wilt, shall become the whole of the law."


 COMMENT 749218 agree helpful negative off topic

2016-12-31 04:49 PM

What a nanny state we've become .. so many laws.


 COMMENT 749219P agree helpful negative off topic

2016-12-31 04:57 PM

Maybe restrooms should simply have a graphic of a toilet.


 COMMENT 749229 agree helpful negative off topic

2016-12-31 06:04 PM

193-for real! It should just show a man and woman not confused half person! That's just fudged up! But so is the entire state of California


 COMMENT 749238 agree helpful negative off topic

2016-12-31 07:04 PM

Can't trust people otherwise, 218.


 COMMENT 749240 agree helpful negative off topic

2016-12-31 07:08 PM

898 new laws? WTF. They are making it illegal to be alive!


 COMMENT 749243 agree helpful negative off topic

2016-12-31 07:12 PM

@187, the rest of the WORLD lane splits with Motorcycles. Ever been to Europe? Look at it this way - every person on a motorcycle is one more person who is not in a car impeding you.

But yeah, we probably need a law that says for every new law we need to kill two existing ones.


 COMMENT 749247P agree helpful negative off topic

2016-12-31 08:00 PM

Every person on a motorcycle lane-splitting shall, quite possibly, be forever removed from the gene pool.


 COMMENT 749251 agree helpful negative off topic

2016-12-31 08:49 PM

The new voting law is interesting: registration the day of the election? I wonder what kind of id will be required? Since there is no id required for voting, there probably will be little needed to register, as is presently so. It sounds like a sure thing for non-citizen voting! Anyone know what safeguards there are or will be?


 COMMENT 749262 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-01 08:15 AM

great, more welfare opportunities. I thought we wanted to help people get off the system. So as CA tax payer we allocate funds to welfare instead if much needed repaIrs to our highway system or a hundred other needs????


 COMMENT 749263 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-01 08:24 AM

Redskins banning? This is what he has time for as businesses and jobs leave for other states? Freedom and privacy continue to erode. The other day my DL was entered in a database for PRESCRIBED users at a CVS. What a shame that the Conservatives abandoned California and turned it into a one party dictatorship.


 COMMENT 749264P agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-01 08:37 AM

Edhat - please look into AB1205 and publish an article. It's a pro development law that could vastly alter the look and character of Santa Barbara. Thanks.


 COMMENT 749273 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-01 09:52 AM

It's interesting that they keep adding new laws and never change or eliminate an old one. When I asked Das Williams about changing the laws that govern trailer parks so we would not have another project like the one on Punta Gorda he said " It's really hard to change a law.".
Hard to change a law but we can sure make new ones.


 COMMENT 749274 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-01 09:53 AM

It's good that I only have to register my pistols that have pistol grips.


 COMMENT 749305 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-01 01:48 PM

HOORAY for minimum wage rises, for gender nuetral bathrooms, for gun control! Thank you governor Brown!


 COMMENT 749308 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-01 02:16 PM

Oh good more laws. Need to be going the other way.


 COMMENT 749325 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-01 03:22 PM

"Maybe restrooms should simply have a graphic of a toilet."

So perfect!!!! Thank you, 219P, absolutely brilliant!!


 COMMENT 749340P agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-01 05:23 PM

205, please provide information to back up your many claims.

Search for "sb 1322 news" for various explanations of the bill. Note the sources for opposing views.


 COMMENT 749341P agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-01 05:26 PM

"The law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in September, does decriminalize prostitution in the case of minors — an important distinction as the law aims to protect children by treating them as victims, not as criminals.

SB 1322, in fact, bans police officers from charging minors with prostitution. Law enforcement officials will be able to take minors into temporary custody but under limited circumstances — including if there is an imminent threat to their lives. And sex traffickers will still be held accountable.

As Snopes noted in September when the law was passed:
"This does not, however, mean that child prostitution is legal. It is still illegal for Californians to hire prostitutes (child or otherwise), and sex traffickers will still face consequences if they are caught prostituting children.
The actual text of the bill states:
Existing law makes it a crime to solicit or engage in any act of prostitution. Existing law makes it a crime to loiter in any public place with the intent to commit prostitution.
This bill would make the above provisions inapplicable to a child under 18 years of age who is alleged to have engaged in conduct that would, if committed by an adult, violate the above provisions. The bill would authorize the minor to be taken into temporary custody under limited circumstances." http://www.theblaze.com/news/2016/12/30/california-is-not-actually-legalizing-child-prostitution/


 COMMENT 749343P agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-01 05:28 PM

One Republican politician from Orange County started this.
"A California Republican claims Democratic-backed legislation aimed at protecting underage sex trafficking victims actually pushes minors into prostitution.
"Beginning on Jan. 1, prostitution by minors will be legal in California. Yes, you read that right," Assemblyman Travis Allen, whose district covers parts of Orange County, wrote Thursday in the conservative D.C. publication the Washington Examiner.
Allen's attack on the "terribly destructive legislation" has lit up social media — but the intention of the law is not as alarming as he suggests, its supporters say.
"So teenage girls (and boys) in California will soon be free to have sex in exchange for money without fear of arrest or prosecution," Allen wrote.


 COMMENT 749387 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-02 07:49 AM

No more long lines at the gas station bathrooms for women.. and men will have to wait longer in shared lines.


 COMMENT 749513 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-03 11:33 AM

The point of the prostitution law is to keep victims from being treated like perps. The person committing the crime is the john or the pimp, not the child prostitute, who is a victim. Get it?

Before this, cops were required to arrest child prostitutes and take them to jail; now they can just tell them to disperse or take them home or to a shelter.

Lane splitting is already legal and has been for as long as I've been driving. The new law just tells the DMV to clarify how to do it. I wish they'd also clarify how to pull forward prior to making a left turn.


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