The New Year will bring hundreds of new or adjusted laws to California residents.
Most notable are the new restrictions aimed at gun owners, of which there are more than six million in the state.
Starting Jan. 1, persons will be prohibited from carrying unloaded shotguns or rifles in unincorporated areas of a county where there is a shooting ban.
Lawmakers also decided that ammunition purchases must be made in person through an authorized vendor. Anyone wishing to transfer ammunition must also do it through a licensed dealer. Online sales can continue, but the ammunition still must be shipped to a licensed vendor.
Here are some changes regarding business and employment in California, beginning Jan. 1:
The state’s lowest paid workers will see a wage increase of 50 cents an hour. California’s minimum wage will increase to $11 per hour for companies with 26 or more employees and to $10.50 an hour for businesses with 25 or fewer employees. An employee must make at least $45,760 a year to be exempt from the minimum wage increase.
New parents (including adoptions and foster care) who work for companies with 20 or more employees can now take up to 12 weeks of of unpaid maternity or paternity leave. New parents are also protected against the loss of job and health care benefits during the paternity leave.
Also on the business front, employers are prohibited from seeking or asking about a job applicant’s salary history, compensation or benefits. Businesses with as few as five employees are prohibited from asking about a job applicants criminal history. And employers are required to disclose pay scales for a position if it is requested by a job applicant.
There are legislative changes regarding education and immigration.
California has permanently eliminated the high school exit exam as a requirement for graduation.
Tuition fees at community colleges can be waived for one academic year for first-time students who are enrolled in 12 or more semester units and qualify for aid under a FAFSA or California Dream Act application.
Public schools — including community colleges, California State University and University of California campuses — cannot collect information about student citizenship or immigration status and that of their families.
And there can be no new contracts between local governments and corporations that run immigration detention centers.
Undocumented veterans are getting a boost. CalVet has been ordered to to expand the current California Transition Assistance Program to provide non-citizens leaving military service information about how to become citizens, including information on where to acquire state legal assistance.
The state National Guard is also now required to inform its members that it will assist non-citizen members in acquiring US citizenship as soon as they are eligible and, when requested, to assist the member in filing all necessary forms and paperwork.
Among the changes in health care: it will now be unlawful for any long-term care facility to take specified actions on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or HIV status, including willfully or repeatedly failing to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns, and denying admission to a long-term care facility. Civil penalties can be enforced.
Some new regulations will take effect later in the year.
For example, the law requiring passengers to wear seat belts while traveling in commercial buses like Greyhound takes effect in July. After that, violators could face fines, starting at $20.
More information regarding the hundreds of new laws that go into effect in 2018 can be found in the California government website. Visit ca.gov.