By Don Thompson, Associated Press
California state lawmakers in 2017 passed nearly 900 bills that Gov. Jerry Brown then signed into law. Most of them take effect Monday. The new laws cover topics ranging from the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown, to the state’s new recreational cannabis market, to the price of a college education.
Here are some of the laws taking effect with the new year:
• Police are no longer be able to ask people about their immigration status or participate in federal immigration enforcement actions under a law making California a sanctuary state. The law also allows jail officials to transfer inmates to federal immigration authorities only if they have been convicted of certain crimes.
• Immigration officials will need a warrant to access workplaces or employee records and landlords will be barred from disclosing tenants’ citizenship.
• University officials are prohibited from cooperating with immigration officers.
• Law enforcement officials are barred from detaining a crime victim or witness only because of an actual or suspected immigration violation, or turning them over to immigration authorities without a warrant.
• Sales of recreational marijuana are legal under a 2016 voter initiative that created the nation’s biggest legal drug market.
• Driving a motor vehicle after smoking and ingesting marijuana is illegal, just as it’s already unlawful for drivers or passengers to drink alcohol while driving.
• A separate law that took effect in June bars the possession of open containers of cannabis while driving.
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• The state minimum wage will increase to $10.50 per hour for businesses with 25 or fewer employees and to $11 per hour for those with 26 or more employees.
• Small businesses with 20 to 49 people will have to offer 12 weeks of unpaid maternity and paternity leave to employees.
• Employers can’t ask job applicants about their past salaries, a measure designed to narrow the pay gap between men and women.
• California will become the 10th state to require both public- and private-sector employers of five or more employees to delay background checks and inquiries about job applicants’ conviction records until they have made a conditional job offer, a measure known as “ban the box.”
• Those arrested but not convicted of a crime may ask a judge to seal their records, a move advocates say will help them get hired.
• Pharmaceutical companies must give advance notice before big price increases, although a drug makers’ trade group is suing to block the measure.
• It is illegal to deny admission to long-term care facilities based on gender identity or sexual orientation or to repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred name or pronoun.
• Old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs will start disappearing from shelves because they can no longer meet energy efficiency standards under a 2007 federal law. That leaves compact fluorescent lights or light-emitting diode bulbs under the regulations, which take effect nationwide in 2020. The federal law let California impose the higher standards two years early. Although the industry is fighting the change in court, a federal judge is letting the restriction take effect while the case continues.
• The first year of community college may be free for full-time, in-state students under a law that waives the $46-per-unit fee for one academic year for first-time students. Lawmakers still must provide the money in the next budget. California follows Tennessee in creating the program, though California previously offered free tuition until 1984.
• Public schools must test yearly for lead in their water supplies under a law passed in response to problems in San Ysidro schools.
• Students in grades 7-12 must be taught about sexual abuse and human trafficking prevention.
• Schools will be prohibited from “lunch shaming,” or publicly denying lunch to students or providing a snack instead because their parents haven’t paid meal fees.
• Public schools serving low-income students in grades 6 to 12 must provide free tampons and menstrual products in half of restrooms.
• Ammunition purchased in another state, online or through a catalog can’t be brought into California except through a licensed ammunition dealer under Proposition 63, approved by voters in 2016. The initiative also sets a new process and deadlines for gun owners to give up their weapons if they are convicted of a felony or certain violent misdemeanors.
• Superintendents can no longer allow people with permits to carry concealed guns on school grounds under a separate new law. Only about five school districts previously had such policies.
• Repeat drug offenders will no longer automatically get an additional three years added to their sentences.
• Criminals who videotape or stream their crimes on social media could face longer sentences under a law that allows judges to consider the recordings as aggravating factors in sentences for certain violent crimes.
• Officials must consider paroling inmates who are age 60 or older and have served at least 25 years under a law that largely mirrors a 2014 federal court order designed to help reduce prison overcrowding.
• Intentionally transmitting the AIDS-causing virus HIV is being reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, the same punishment as transmitting other communicable diseases.
• California inmates serving life sentences for crimes they committed as juveniles will get the chance to leave prison after 25 years, making state law conform to recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
• California’s youthful parole program will be expanded to age 25. State law already required that inmates who were under 23 when they committed their crimes be considered for parole after serving at least 15 years.
• Families of youths in the juvenile justice system won’t be charged fees that advocates say many can’t afford to pay under a separate law. Another will require offenders age 15 or younger to consult with attorneys before waiving their rights.
• Records will be sealed for dismissed juvenile court petitions or after a juvenile completes a diversion program, while another law will allow a judge to seal juvenile records even for serious or violent offenses after the offender has completed his or her sentence.
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