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New laws passed by the state legislature in 2018 will take hold on Jan. 1, 2019. You may have already noticed some of the changes, as some establishments began to ease in the new laws. New minimum wage laws have already been inacted. You may have noticed more street vendors in your neighborhood and another change you may have noticed is at restaurants. Waitresses have been instructed not to automatically place a straw alongside your drink.

Minimum Wage: 

Since the passage of Senate Bill 3 in 2016, minimum wage in the state of California has started to gradually increase and in 2019 people working at companies with 25 or fewer employees will be required to pay employees at least $11 per hour, while larger companies will be required to pay employees at least $12 per hour.

Plastic Straws:

The passage of Assembly Bill 1884 changed California’s Retail Food Code. Restaurants will not offer straws to customers unless they are requested. Plastic straws have killed and caused serious injuries to wildlife on land and in the ocean and have added to the abundance of plastic that is polluting landfills, rivers, lakes and oceans.

Kid’s Meals: 

Following the passage of Senate Bill 1192, restaurants will now be required to make milk the beverage sold with kid’s meals rather than the previous practice to use soda and juice as the companion drink that have a high sugar content.

Street food: 

Prior to the passage of Senate Bill 946, many street vendors had difficulty and could not operate illegally. The new law prohibits cities and counties from banning street vendors from selling food. The new law also requires local government to create a street vending program that will address the issues to monitor and regulate these independent small pop up businesses that line our city streets.

Gender representation on corporate boards: 

California Publicly traded companies, following the passage of Senate Bill 826, will be required to place at least one woman on their board of directors by the end of 2019.

HOV lanes: 

Low emission vehicles were previously allowed to drive in carpool lanes with their green and white decals but that advantage will expire on Jan. 1. These drivers will be able to apply for new decals that will allow them to continue driving in HOV lanes that move more quickly, but it will become more difficult with stiffer criteria and will exclude hybrid cars and accept only zero-emission electric cars.

Police officer records: 

The general public should have an easier time in getting transparency from police agencies and force police to open records. Police previously sealed police records and did not make them available to the public. Following the passage of Senate Bill 1421 and Assembly Bill 748, both audio and video footage of fatal incidents must be released upon receiving a public records request.

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