Hundreds of new laws are enacted in California every year, but only a handful will update or alter the procedure of our daily lives.
Included here is a selection of bills and propositions that will impact residents of the Mother Lode once the clock ticks into the new year on Sunday.
While the debate over marijuana continues to rage in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, on Monday, the state will allow for the sale and taxation of recreational marijuana.
In November 2016, Proposition 64 allowed for the possession and growing of marijuana for personal use, but since then, the state Bureau of Cannabis Control has been preparing for the inevitable 2018 moment when licensed dispensaries can sell marijuana from storefronts.
Only certain cities and counties have embraced the new laws, however, and set up regulatory procedures to control the sale of pot for recreational use.
A decision on whether commercial marijuana sales in Tuolumne or Calaveras counties will be allowed is still pending from the respective county supervisors.
With the passage of the proposition, people still cannot smoke marijuana on the streets, in workplaces or bars.
Senate Bill 65, passed in September 2017, would also identify as an infraction the use of marijuana or a marijuana product while driving or riding as a passenger in a motor vehicle.
Marijuana still remains illegal under federal law and is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, among heroin, LSD and MDMA.
Guns and ammunition
Multiple new gun and ammunition laws will go into effect in the new year, from Proposition 63, passed by California voters in 2016, and a collection of Assembly bills prohibiting the possession of certain firearms in schools or in unincorporated areas of the county, and by individuals convicted of hate crimes.
Proposition 63 mandates that people convicted of firearm-prohibiting crimes such as felonies or misdemeanors involving violence or illegal weapon use, must provide proof to probation officers and courts that their firearms were sold or transferred within specific time periods.
A person may face further enforcement action if they fail to cede possession of their firearms.
Proposition 63 also contains stipulations as it pertains to ammunition, mandating that any person or business that sells more than 500 rounds of ammunition in any month must obtain an ammunition vendor license and sell at specified business locations.
Sales of ammunition by an unlicensed person must be processed through a licensed ammunition vendor, and ammunition obtained over the Internet must first be shipped to a licensed vendor.
Assembly Bill 7 would prohibit the possession of an unloaded firearm other than a handgun while in a public place in an unincorporated area of the county.
Assembly Bill 424 would delete the authority of a school superintendent or equivalent position to allow the possession of a firearm within a school zone. Exempt from the law would be school-sanctioned shooting sports activities or a verified hunter-education program.
Assembly Bill 725 would prohibit any person convicted of a hate crime from possessing a firearm for 10 years.
Each of the Assembly Bills were passed in October 2017.
Revisions to hiring guidelines are set to improve the mobility of workers into employment and safeguard personal or prejudicial information during the hiring process.
Assembly Bill 168 means that workers will not have to provide salary history to prospective employers as a condition of being hired. Employers must provide a pay scale for a position upon reasonable request, and would prohibit an employer from seeking salary history information about an applicant.
Salary history information can still be legally provided if voluntary on behalf of the worker.
The bill passed in October 2017.
Additionally, Assembly Bill 1008 indicates that ex-convicts cannot be asked about their criminal history on an application, and a conviction history cannot be considered as a factor of employment until the person has been issued a conditional offer for a position.
The bill, passed in October 2017, would be classified as an unlawful employment practice under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
An employer intending to deny an application based on a person’s conviction history would have to detail the reasons in an individualized assessment about how the conviction history would have an adverse effect on the specific duties of the position.
The bill also provides for an appeal and review process by the applicant, and also exempts specific positions from the provisions of the bill.
Senate Bill 450 will allow Tuolumne and Calaveras counties the option to modernize election and voting processes in the coming year with vote-by-mail ballots, the replacement of polling places by vote centers, and ballot-drop off locations.
The bill seeks to expand voter participation and motivate previously unregistered voters to register by widening the timeline allowed for voting.
When the plan is fully deployed, counties can provide registered voters with a mailed ballot 28 days before Election Day, with voters allowed to mail their ballot in, drop it off at a vote center or ballot-drop off location, or vote in-person at a vote center.
A person would be allowed to vote or drop their ballot at any vote center within their county of residence, with vote centers also providing same-day registration, receiving a replacement ballot, accessible voting machines and language assistance materials.
There would be one vote center for every 10,000 registered voters on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday leading up to election day, and starting 28 days before Election Day, there would be at least one ballot drop-off location for every 15,000 registered voters.
The bill passed in September 2016.
The California minimum wage will increase by 50 cents to $11 per hour for workers at companies with at least 26 employees, and increase to $10.50 for workers at companies with less than 26 employees.
Minimum wage will increase each year according to Senate Bill 3, passed in April, 2016, to $15 by 2022 for workers at companies with at least 26 employees, and to $15 for all other workers by 2023.
Local high school students will have the opportunity to attain their high school diploma without the condition of passing the high school exit examination.
Assembly Bill 830 repeals the high school exit examination, a test to evaluate competency in reading, writing and mathematics, as a condition of graduation or receiving a high school diploma at high schools within the state.
The high school exit exam took effect in 2006 and was suspended in 2015 prior to its repeal.
The bill passed in October 2017.