By now most Californians know not to be surprised when they see a billboard advertising marijuana, but the new legality of this is not the only significant law that will affect the state in 2018. Over 800 new state laws go into effect this year, and many of them will have at least some impact on the day to day life of the average Californian. That’s why we’ve put together this quick overview. Get yourself acquainted with the laws that will affect you and your family in 2018!
Taking English as a Second Language Courses?
Low-income parents taking ESL or high school equivalency courses now qualify for subsidized child care. (AB273)
New to community college?
Free – or discounted – tuition! That’s right, first time community college students will have $1,100 to $1,400 of tuition waived during their first academic year. There are 114 community colleges throughout the state – time to pursue the dream! (AB19)
Having a baby?
You may be one of the additional three million Californians who will qualify for parental leave. Employers who have between 20 and 49 employees must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave. These 12 weeks must be job-protected. (SB63)
Another bill that will help new parents – dads in particular – requires state and local government buildings, along with the likes of grocery stores, restaurants, and theaters, to provide diaper changing stations in men’s bathrooms. (AB1127)
Getting paid minimum wage?
You just got a raise! The state minimum wage has increased by 50 cents. It is now $10.50 for workplaces with less than 26 employees and $11 an hour for those with 26 employees or more. (SB3)
Driving for Uber or Lyft?
You need only one business license to operate anywhere in the state. Before – in theory, at least – every city you passed through could require its own business license. But no more. Get your business license from whichever city you live in, and you can take a passenger from Fresno to San Diego (but don’t). (SB182)
Another law to keep in mind if you’re a rideshare driver has to do with drinking and driving. When you have a passenger in your car you are held to a higher standard. A blood alcohol level of .04% will get you a DUI, compared with .08% for a regular driver. (AB2687)
Using someone else’s disabled driving placard?
Stop doing that! After a state audit revealed that 35,000 parking placards are issued to Californians who are listed as deceased, a new bill will make it much more difficult to cheat the system. (SB611)
Laws pertaining to immigration
California is enacting several new laws pertaining to immigration, which promises to remain a contentious issue in 2018. Here’s a brief rundown of them.
- Local law enforcement officers cannot cooperate with federal authorities in enforcing immigration law. Nor can they arrest a person based on a civil immigration warrant or inquire about their immigration status. Immigrants convicted of certain other crimes are exempt from these protections. (SB54)
- Landlords cannot inquire into a tenant’s immigration status. It is also illegal for a landlord to report a tenant’s immigration status to authorities or to threaten doing so. In fact, landlords are barred from compromising in any way the rights of tenants who are undocumented. (AB291)
- If Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents show up to a workplace, employers are required to ask for a warrant from a judge before letting them in. Unless presented with a warrant or subpoena, employers are barred from granting entry. Also under this bill, employers must, within 72 hours, notify an employee whose documents are going to be inspected by immigration authorities. (AB450)
If none of these laws affect you, don’t feel left out. There is one new bill which impacts all Californians equally, and it has to do with the official state dinosaur – that’s right, we have one now. The Augustynolophus morrisi, whose remains have been found only in California, joins the state’s pantheon of official symbols: the California quail (state bird), the California poppy (state flower), and the grizzly bear (state animal) – also no longer found in California. (AB1540)