The New Year brings new laws to California.
For 2020, several new laws will affect roadway safety starting Jan. 1, including increased distracted driving penalties, peace officer use of deadly force, bicycle turning movements at intersections, wildlife salvage permits, and motor carrier permit rules. The following laws are relevant for Chain | Cohn | Stiles legal practices, as the law firm handles accident and injury cases.
- Traffic control devices for bicycles (AB 1266): This new law allows bicycles to travel straight through a right or left-hand turn-only lane while at an intersection, if an official traffic control device indicates the movement is permitted. The California Department of Transportation would be required to develop standards to implement the provisions.
- License points for distracted driving (AB 47): Current law prohibits a person from driving a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone in a handheld manner; if found in violation, the offense is punishable by a fine. A new law will levy an additional penalty on a driver found in violation of California’s hands-free law: a point will be added on to a driver’s record for each hands-free violation occurring within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense.
- Peace officer use of deadly force (AB 392): This new law revises the standards for use of deadly force by peace officers. The use of deadly force by a peace officer is justifiable when the officer reasonably believes it is necessary, amending the reasonable force standard to “objectively reasonable force.”
- Law enforcement training (SB 230): This new law requires law enforcement agencies to rewrite use of force policy and provide mandatory training to all peace officers in order to comply with the new law.
- Cannabis and passenger vehicles (AB 1810): California law will now prohibit the consumption of cannabis, in any manner, by passengers in a bus, taxicab, pedicab, limousine, housecars, or camper. This exemption is now only applicable to alcoholic beverages consumed by passengers in these types of vehicles.
Besides these traffic laws above, you should be aware of several other new laws in 2020 affecting the workplace, your privacy, animals, schools, and the criminal justice system.
- Minimum wage (SB 3): The minimum wage in California goes up by one dollar to $12 an hour for workers at companies with 25 or fewer employees and to $13 an hour for workers at larger companies.
- Hairstyles (SB 188): California becomes the first state to ban workplace and school discrimination based on a person’s natural hairstyle or hair texture. Protected hairstyles include braids, twists and locks.
- Lactation accommodations (SB 142): This new law requires companies to provide appropriate lactation accommodations that is close to the employee’s work area, has electrical plugs and is free of intrusion.
- Sexual harassment (SB 1343): Requires businesses with at least five employees to provide sexual harassment training to its employees within six months of being hired, and every two years after that.
- Paid family leave (SB 83): New parents will have more time to care for their child. Benefits under Paid Family Leave will increase from six weeks to eight weeks starting on July 1, 2020.
- AB 1482: Rent control: The law limits rent increases to 5 percent each year plus inflation, but never above 10 percent total. The law does not apply to housing built in the 15 years prior. The limit is a rolling number so the date housing is excluded changes every year.
- AB 652: Religious displays: The law prohibits landlords and homeowner associations from banning the display of religious items on entry doors or door frames. The items cannot be larger than 26 by 12 inches.
- SB 222: Housing discrimination: This law expands existing law to protect veterans and military personnel against housing discrimination.
- SB 30: Domestic partners: This law allows heterosexual couples to register as domestic partners instead of getting married. Currently, only heterosexual couples age 62 or older were allowed to register as domestic partners because of social security benefits. The new law could help couples with combined higher incomes avoid the federal marriage tax penalty.
- Online privacy (AB 375): The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) gives internet users more control over their data. Among other things, the law gives users the right to know what data is collected, the right to reject the sale of your information and the right to delete your data.
- School suspensions (SB 419): The law bans schools from suspending students in grades 4-8 for disrupting school activities or defying teachers and administrators. Students in grades K-3 already have this protection. High school students must wait until 2025 for the same benefit.
- Juvenile hall (SB 439): Minors under 12 who commit non-violent crimes would be released to his or her parent or legal guardian instead of being sent to juvenile hall. The law does not apply to minors who commit murder, rape, or great bodily harm.
- Human trafficking (SB 970): Operators of motels and hotels in California must provide training to teach its staff how to identify victims of human trafficking.
- Dog areas (AB 1762): The California Department of Parks and Recreation has until July 1 to establish a comprehensive list of state parks that allow dogs, including the specific areas that allow dogs and the total miles of trails that are open to dogs.
- Public safety power shutoffs (SB 167): Requires utilities to devise plans on reducing the negative impact of planned power shutoffs to first responders and people with disabilities.
- Tree trimming (AB 247): Gives the California Public Utilities Commission more oversight over tree trimming efforts by utilities. Power companies would have to submit timely reports on their brush and tree trimming work.
- Wildfire warning center (SB 209): Establishes a wildfire warning center to broaden the state’s ability to predict and prepare for wildfire. The center would rely on a statewide network of automated weather stations and fire detection cameras.
If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form at chainlaw.com.