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July 1 marks start date for a number of new laws in California

July 1 marked the start of a number of new state and local laws, many of which are aimed at improving safety.

Plastic bag ban

Large supermarkets and pharmacies in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County may no longer offer plastic bags for carryout, except for fruit, vegetables and raw meat. Paper bags will cost 10 cents each.

Restaurant employee tests

Current restaurant employees must pass a food-handling course. Those hired after July 1 have 30 days to take the course, available online or in a classroom.

Carbon monoxide detectors

Residents who have a gas stove, fireplace or attached garage must install a carbon monoxide detector.

No carpool lane for hybrid drivers

Solo drivers of hybrid vehicles with yellow Clean Air decals can no longer use carpool lanes. Plug-in hybrids and vehicles with hydrogen internal combustion engines will be issued a green Clean Air decal effective next year. Zero-emission vehicles with a white Clean Air sticker may continue to use the carpool lane until Jan. 1, 2015.

Insurance information for homeowners

Insurance companies must make their disclosure notices for homeowners short and concise. The statements must make it easier for homeowners to determine the adequacy of their coverage in the event of a loss or a major catastrophe.

Classrooms locks

Construction projects submitted to the state must provide plans for rooms in schools to be locked from the inside. Violent campus incidents prompted the law, which seeks a more effective way to conduct lockdowns.

Push-to-talk cellphones

Drivers who use push-to-talk cellphones are no longer exempt from the hands-free law that took effect in 2008.

Whooping cough vaccination required

Students entering grades seven through 12 must provide proof that they have received a whooping cough shot, known as Tdap, before the fall 2011 school year.

Donor registry

Drivers license application forms will force Californians to decide if they want to be an organ donor.

Source: Times staff writer Corina Knoll

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