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California's new laws for 2016: See how you are affected

Californians face new restrictions on carrying guns, new regulations on medical marijuana, and higher pay if they earn minimum wage under laws that take effect in 2016.Parents, students, healthcare providers and anyone who gets behind the wheel of a car will see changes — some immediately, some over the course of the year.

Many of the 807 bills signed into law touch on broad aspects of California residents’ everyday lives or address major issues like voter participation, and life and death.

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animals & environment
crime & punishment
drivers
everyone
guns
healthcare
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parents
students
water
workers

    Animals & environment

  • Bans the sale of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn. Read more »
  • The state may impose steep civil fines against marijuana farms that damage the environment by dumping wastewater and chemicals, removing trees and killing wild animals. Read more »
  • The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has new power to take action to conserve monarch butterflies and their habitats. Read more »
  • The California Department of Toxic Substances Control will receive new powers to ensure the recovery of cleanup costs involving polluting factories and allow the agency to require hazardous-waste managers to document that they can pay for or perform a cleanup if one is necessary. Read more here and here.
  • The state will provide $100 million annually in financial incentives for the installation of solar panels at apartment buildings for low-income residents. Read more »
  • Makes regulatory changes requiring utilities to work toward meeting a target of having 50% of the energy used in the state come from renewable sources such as wind and solar power by the end of 2030. Also makes changes to help the state double the energy efficiency savings by that year. Read more »

    Crime & punishment

  • Law enforcement agencies must obtain a search warrant before looking at private emails, text messages and GPS data stored in smartphones, laptops and the cloud. Read more »
  • Recording piracy and insurance fraud are added to the list of crimes for which an offender's assets can be seized by law enforcement officials.
  • Police officers or family members may seek a restraining order that bars a person deemed dangerous from possessing firearms for 21 days. Read more »
  • Prosecutors are allowed to seek forfeiture of the images and storage devices used in “revenge porn” cases, in which an estranged romantic partner posts nude or sexual pictures of the other person online. Read more »
  • Law enforcement agencies must certify in writing when immigrants in the country illegally are helpful as witnesses in criminal investigations so that those involved can apply for a “U-visa” that prevents deportation of crime victims. Ten-thousand U-visas are issued nationwide each year. Read more »
  • Law enforcement agencies must by 2018 develop systems that would allow them to collect and report data on the people they stop, including perceived race and ethnicity, the reason for the encounter and the outcome. Read more »
  • Police agencies must issue detailed annual reports on all cases in which officers use force that result in serious injury or death. Read more »
  • Law enforcement departments whose officers wear cameras will have to follow rules on storing and using the video so it is not mishandled. Read more »
  • The state can collect DNA samples from suspected criminals, but can no longer do so from those held for non-serious felonies, such as nonviolent drug crimes. Read more »
  • Courts may impose additional penalties in drug cases in which homes are within 200 feet of a methamphetamine lab and 300 feet of concentrated cannabis manufacturing. Read more »
  • The state will provide former prison inmates with new housing programs, mental health services and substance abuse treatment.
  • The state will increase compensation for innocent people who are wrongly convicted from $100 for each day behind bars to $140, to reflect inflation.
  • Extends to jail inmates serving time on felony convictions the right to seek compassionate release for medical conditions, postpone prosecution for driving offenses and, once out of jail, petition for certificates of rehabilitation or pardon. Read more »
  • Children 13 and younger who are witnesses in violent crimes may testify by remote video hook-up.
  • The statute of limitations for civil lawsuits by victims of human rights abuses in California is extended from five to 10 years.

    Drivers

  • A new automated system for registering eligible people to vote when they go to the DMV to get their driver’s license, though the process won't begin until a new statewide voter database is up and running, which is expected after the June primaries. Read more here and here.
  • Local governments can set up installment plans for people to partially pay parking tickets if they cannot pay their fines all at once. Read more »
  • Limousines must have windows that can be pushed out for exit in an emergency.
  • The statute of limitations for filing vehicular manslaughter charges in cases of hit-and-run accidents that result in death are extended, allowing charges to be filed within a year of a motorist being identified as being involved in an accident. Read more »
  • The California Highway Patrol is allowed to issue new “Yellow Alerts” on electronic freeway signs, to seek the public's help in finding motorists involved in hit-and-run accidents. Read more »
  • The California Highway Patrol can use electronic freeway signs for “Silver Alerts” to describe missing persons 65 or older who are developmentally disabled or cognitively impaired.
  • The state will crack down on bandit tow truck drivers by capping towing and storage fees and requiring all tow operators to maintain documents showing that they were summoned to or flagged down at the scene of an accident or disabled vehicle. Read more here and here.
  • Allows electrically motorized boards to be ridden wherever bicycles are ridden — within bicycle lanes, pathways and roadways. The new law includes hoverboards with wheels that have recently been in the news for catching fire.

    Everyone

  • Makes it easier for workers to sue for gender discrimination by changing the law to say employers cannot pay employees less than those of the opposite sex for “substantially similar work,” even if their titles are different or they work at different sites. Read more »
  • Requires short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb to alert users that if they are renters, listing their home on the site could violate their lease agreements.
  • Beer-tasting events can be held at certified farmers markets.
  • Companies with state contracts worth at least $100,000 must provide equal benefits to transgender employees.
  • The cost of filing papers to begin a petition drive for an initiative will increase from $200 to $2,000 to discourage frivolous proposals. Read more »

    Guns

  • Police officers or family members may seek a restraining order that bars a person deemed dangerous from possessing firearms for 21 days. Read more »
  • Bans concealed weapons on college campuses. Read more »

    Healthcare

  • Healthcare providers can electronically submit and access patients' instructions for end-of-life care, ensuring the immediate availability of such information when needed.
  • Many new large buildings used by the public must have automated external defibrillators on the premises. Read more »
  • Crisis pregnancy clinics certified by the state must post notices that California has public programs providing affordable contraception and abortions. Read more »
  • Doctors will be allowed to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients. (This law takes effect 90 days after a special session on healthcare adjourns. That date has not yet been set, but the adjournment could happen as early as this month.) Read more »
  • Dental students in their final year of study are permitted to provide some treatments at health fairs and other events that typically draw thousands of poor patients.

    Immigrants

  • The state will spend $40 million to provide health coverage under the Medi-Cal program to children under age 19 who are not in the country legally. Read more »
  • The word “alien” will be removed from California's labor code to describe those not born in the United States. Read more »
  • Law enforcement agencies must certify in writing when immigrants in the country illegally are helpful as witnesses in criminal investigations so that those involved can apply for a “U-visa” that prevents deportation of crime victims. Ten-thousand U-visas are issued nationwide each year. Read more »

    Parents

  • The vaccination law eliminates the ability of parents to waive immunization rules for their children based on personal beliefs. Though the law takes effect on Jan. 1, it allows parents to delay the vaccinations until July 1 if they filled out a request before New Year’s Day. But almost all students will have to show proof of immunization shots for the start of the new school year this fall. Read more here and here.
  • The state suspends for three years California's high school exit exam, which is normally a requirement for students to receive diplomas. The law also allows about 32,000 students who did not pass the exam, either since it became mandatory or during its early phase-in years, to receive diplomas so long as they have completed all other graduation requirements. Read more »
  • Schools must provide places for students to breast feed or pump breast milk.
  • High schools that mandate health courses must provide lessons aimed at preventing sexual violence and the concept that both parties must consent to sexual relations. Read more »
  • Students are required to take sexual health classes unless their parents object — the classes are now voluntary — and the lessons must include the teaching to be inclusive of different sexual orientations.
  • The state must make sure future history textbooks for public schools include a section on the 1930s deportation of more than 1 million U.S. citizens of Mexican descent. Read more »
  • California community colleges can suspend or expel students accused of sexual assault off campus. Read more »
  • The state will spend $40 million to provide health coverage under the Medi-Cal program to children under age 19 who are not in the country legally. Read more here and here.
  • Children 13 and younger who are witnesses in violent crimes may testify by remote video hook-up.

    Students

  • Bans concealed weapons on college campuses. Read more »
  • The state’s minimum wage increases from $9 to $10 per hour. Read more »
  • The state suspends for three years California's high school exit exam, which is normally a requirement for students to receive diplomas. The law also allows about 32,000 students who did not pass the exam, either since it became mandatory or during its early phase-in years, to receive diplomas so long as they have completed all other graduation requirements. Read more »
  • Schools must provide places for students to breast feed or pump breast milk.
  • High schools that mandate health courses must provide lessons aimed at preventing sexual violence and the concept that both parties must consent to sexual relations. Read more »
  • Students are required to take sexual health classes unless their parents object — the classes are now voluntary — and the lessons must include the teaching to be inclusive of different sexual orientations.
  • The state must make sure future history textbooks for public schools include a section on the 1930s deportation of more than 1 million U.S. citizens of Mexican descent. Read more »
  • California community colleges can suspend or expel students accused of sexual assault off campus. Read more »
  • Education programs are prohibited from charging fees to homeless youth who take the proficiency or equivalency tests.
  • Schools cannot build a marquee, sign or other fixtures bearing the controversial team name “Redskins” starting Jan 1, and must phase out the use of the word for mascots and team names on uniforms and yearbooks starting in 2017. Read more here and here.
  • Requires the California Interscholastic Federation to develop guidelines to classify competition cheer as an official interscholastic sport. Read more »
  • The state will spend $40 million to provide health coverage under the Medi-Cal program to children under age 19 who are not in the country legally. Read more »

    Water

  • Cities and counties are prohibited from enforcing rules that ban the installation of artificial turf or drought-tolerant landscaping on residential properties. Read more here and here.
  • State agencies are required to modernize irrigation systems on their properties and to install native plants that use less water. Read more »

    Workers

  • The state’s minimum wage increases from $9 to $10 per hour. Read more »
  • Cheerleaders for professional sports teams are considered employees, not independent contractors, and therefore are eligible to receive a minimum wage, workers' compensation and other benefits. Read more »

    Other

  • Los Angeles can extend from 50 to 66 years the maximum term of the city's leases on its waterfront properties, making them more attractive to businesses.
  • The state will replace the defunct system of redevelopment agencies with a more limited system of offices that will target downtrodden areas with financial assistance.
  • The state has clear, new guidelines for when student representatives are appointed to and removed from school boards.
  • Courts cannot consider a child's immigration status in civil actions involving liability.
  • Non-citizens in high school may serve as election poll workers.
  • The Orange Line bus system in the San Fernando Valley may use buses up to 82 feet long in exclusive lanes, an increase from the 65-foot buses used now.
  • The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is permitted to ask county voters to approve a half-cent sales tax increase for transportation projects. The measure will probably be on the November ballot.
  • City water agencies must examine their pipes and holding systems to determine whether they are vulnerable to damage in earthquakes.
  • The state Air Resources Board, which regulates air quality in California, will gain two members — appointed by legislative leaders — to represent communities suffering from pollution.
  • Designates lace lichen, commonly known as Spanish moss, as California's official lichen.
  • Nonprofits that regularly organize and host travel for elected state officials must report the names of those entities who fund the travel. For example, this would apply to the Independent Voter Project, which organized a trip in November for more than 20 lawmakers to Maui to discuss issues including public safety.
  • The state is required to pay the cost of election recounts in state races.
  • The state’s two major public employee pension funds must sell holdings in companies that derive at least half of their revenue from mining coal used to generate electricity by July 1, 2017.

For more, go to latimes.com/politics.

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Higher pay, hoverboards and sex ed: California sees hundreds of new laws

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