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New Laws for 2014: Dr. Robert Ornelas Informs California
Expanding access to instate tuition. SB 141, restores access to an affordable college degree for American children forced to live abroad by exempting qualified students from paying nonresident tuition at the University of California, California State Universities and California Community Colleges.
Drivers' licenses for undocumented residents. AB 60 directs the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to develop a driver's license program for people that cannot demonstrate legal presence in the United States. Legislation will go into effect in January 2015.
Undocumented immigrants: admission to practice law. AB 1024 allows undocumented immigrants to be licensed to practice law.
Federal immigration enforcement. AB 4 prohibits local law enforcement agencies from detaining immigrants for deportation unless they have committed a serious offense.
Immigration status and employer retaliation. SB 666 prohibits employers from retaliating against employees based on immigration status. AB 263 allows for the suspension or revocation of employers' business licenses if they retaliate against employees because of citizenship or immigration status.
Labor and Employment
Minimum Wage Increase. AB 10 raises the minimum wage in California to nine dollars an hour in July of this year, and then raises it again to ten dollars an hour in 2016.
Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. AB 241 regulates the work hours for domestic workers and also provides an overtime compensation rate these employees.
Parolee GPS. SB 57 imposes a mandatory 180 day incarceration as a penalty for a sex offender who removes his or her GPS tracking device.
Three Feet for Safety Act. AB 1371 requires all cars that are overtaking a bicycle on the highway to leave three feet between the car and the bicyclist. If the car cannot leave three feet between it and the bicycle, then it must slow down to reasonable speed and pass only when safe. This bill takes effect on September 16, 2014.
Registration. AB 809 which was signed into law in 2011 but took effect on January 1, 2014 of this year, requires gun dealers to register all rifle and shot gun purchases and imposes the same record keeping requirements on those guns as on handguns.
Firearm purchase and storage. AB 500 allows the Department of Justice to delay the transfer of a firearm from a dealer to a person, if the person attempting to purchase a firearm is not allowed to under law. This bill also requires a gun owner who lives with a person who cannot legally own guns, to keep all firearms in a locked container.
Limitations on gun ownership. AB 1131 prohibits a person who has made a serious threat to a licensed psychotherapist from possessing a firearm for five years after the threat has been made.
Firearms storage. AB 231 makes it a crime for a firearms owner to store a loaded firearm in a place where a child is likely to gain access to a loaded firearm, within any premises under the control of the firearm owner, unless the owner has secured the firearm against access by a child with a trigger lock or other means.
Large Capacity Magazines. AB 48 bans high-capacity magazine kits that hold more than 10 rounds and makes it a crime to buy a high capacity magazine.
Lead Ammunition. AB 711 bans the use of lead bullets for hunting. All ammunition used for hunting will have to be made out of something other than lead, such as copper or steel, by July 1, 2019.
Teen drivers. SB 194 prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from using a cell phone or other wireless communications devices while driving, even if it is equipped with a hands-free device.
Charter Buses and Limousines Emergency Exits. SB 109 requires, by January 2016, every limousine that has been modified or extended to accommodate additional passengers to have two rear doors and one or two internally removable rear emergency windows. If such modifications occurred on or after July 2015, these requirements apply immediately after July 1, 2015. All new limousines manufactured after January 1, 2015 must meet these requirements as well.
High-Occupancy Vehicle Lanes. SB 266 extends sunset dates for low emission, zero emission vehicles to operate in high-occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV) without meeting occupancy requirements to January 1, 2019.
Parking and Traffic Violations
Vehicle Transfer. AB 443 prohibits the transfer of a car between family members until all outstanding parking or traffic tickets have been paid.
Broken Parking Meters. AB 61 prohibits local authorities from restricting parking spots with broken meters or giving out tickets to cars parked in a space with a broken meter.
Cultural competency. SB 555requires a regional center to communicate in the family's native language during the individual program plan (IPP) or the individualized family service plan (IFSP) planning process and to provide a copy of the IPP or IFSP in the family's native language.
Hydraulic fracturing. SB 4 regulates hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking. Among the provisions taking effect in 2014 are groundwater monitoring, neighbor notification of new wells, and disclosing of the chemicals which energy companies use during the fracking process.
Military service benefits. SB 720extends the enhanced protections currently offered only to service members ordered to active duty as part of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, including protection from having to pay interest on the accumulated principal or interest of a deferred financial obligation, to all federal military reservists and California National Guard service members ordered to active duty.