Happy New Year!
How 2014 Will be Different for Californians
A new year means new changes. Californians will witness more than 800 new laws take effect in 2014. Many of these laws took effect on January 1st, while others will take effect in July.
As of first of year:
- Under the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, housekeepers, nannies and caregivers must be paid overtime for working more than 9 hours a day or 45 hours in a week.
- Employers are prohibited from punishing or retaliating against workers on the basis of their immigration status.
- Qualified lawyers can be admitted to practice law regardless of their immigration status.
- Family leave now covers grandparents, grandchildren, in-laws and siblings.
- Pro-athletes must have spent a minimum amount of their career playing for California teams if they want to submit a claim to the California worker’s compensation system.
- Veterans who were stationed in California before their discharge or intend to settle in California are allowed to obtain in-state tuition at public community colleges or California State Universities.
- Students are allowed to participate in schools sports and use the bathroom based on their gender identity, regardless of the gender listed on their birth certificate.
- Transgender individuals can more easily and less expensively legally change their name and identity on legal documents to reflect their gender identity.
- Nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physical assistances will be allowed to perform first trimester abortions after they receive the necessary training.
- Midwives can deliver babies without a physician being present.
- Under the Trust Act, state and local law enforcement are no longer allowed to detain undocumented residents solely because of their immigration status. Jails can now only hold immigrants for federal immigration enforcement if they have committed serious or violent crimes.
- Minors prosecuted and convicted as adults for a serious crime will be given a chance to have their cases reviewed after serving at least 15 years of their prison sentence.
- People who have been wrongfully accused and exonerated are eligible to receive $100 for each day they were incarcerated.
- Law enforcement is required to videotape interviews of minors accused of homicide.
- Minors under the age of 18 cannot use hands-free technology to send or receive text messages while driving.
- Homes built before 1994 are required to install water-conserving plumbing fixtures as a condition for receiving a building permit for construction on single-family homes
- California Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens must relocate mountain lions and can use lethal measures only when immediate death or harm is anticipated.
- The DMV will be designing licenses for immigrants who are in the country illegally to be issued by January 1, 2015.
- Many laws are seeking to regulate hydraulic fracking by requiring neighbors to be notified of new wells and requiring energy companies to publicly disclose fracking chemicals they use.
- The Department of Justice (DOJ) can retain information about rifle and shotgun purchases (whereas prior to 2014, DOJ could only retain information about handgun transactions).
- Low- or zero-emission car owners can drive in the HOV lane even if they are the only rider in the car.
- Drivers can park for free at meters that do not work.
- Small craft distilleries can charge their customers for sampling their product.
On July 1, 2014, Californians will see other laws, such as
- The minimum wage rising to $9 per hour;
- Banning possession of large-capacity magazines;
- Making it illegal to buy or own “conversion kits” that give guns semi-automatic capability; and
- State and local governments will not be able to ask job applicants about past criminal convictions on initial applications.