Every year, the California Legislature passes hundreds of bills, ranging from technical clarifications of policies to funding proposals that keep the state running. Here are some of the new laws taking effect on January 1, 2018:
The minimum wage will be increased by 50 cents to $11 per hour for workers at companies with at least 26 employees and to $10.50 for those at smaller companies. It is part of Senate Bill 3, which was passed nearly two years ago, that will continue to hike the hourly wage annually until it reaches $15 in 2022 for large companies and in 2023 for all workers.
California is closing the chapter on a contentious era in education: Assembly Bill 830 eliminates the high school exit exam, which was instituted, beginning with the Class of 2006, to ensure that students demonstrated a minimum proficiency in English and math before graduating. However, tens of thousands of students never passed the exam and consequently never received a diploma. A decade later, lawmakers are simply doing away with it the requirement.
Assembly Bill 10 requires middle and high schools where at least 40 percent of students meet the federal poverty threshold to stock half their campus restrooms with free menstrual products. In an effort to keep poor female students attending class, schools will also provide free tampons and pads, which are necessities that may be too expensive for poor students to afford.
California continues to ease the process for transgender people to get updated identification documents. Senate Bill 179 removes the requirement that they undergo any treatment before applying with the state to change the gender on their birth certificate. It also adds a “nonbinary” option for those who do not identify as either male or female, which will be available on driver’s licenses as well starting in 2019.
Voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2016 with Proposition 64, and now it is available for retail purchase. Adults 21 and older can buy up to an ounce of weed and up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrates, though only cities, like Sacramento and Oakland,have permitted stores. However, even though Proposition 64 was approved back in 2016, you might not immediately see pot on store shelves statewide because businesses have to apply for a state license to sell it.
California already has among the nation’s strictest gun control laws, and its Legislature continues to tighten them. Assembly Bill 424 eliminates a policy, implemented only last year, that gave school administrators authority to decide whether employees with concealed carry permits should be allowed to bring their firearms onto campus. Now they will be banned.
Under Assembly Bill 725, someone convicted of a hate crime will lose their right to possess a gun for 10 years. Also, new restrictions on buying ammunition are beginning to take effect. While background checks will not be required until next year, customers must now purchase their ammunition through a licensed vendor, which means that, even if you order your ammunition online, you must ship it to a vendor and pick it up in person.
Information for this article was taken from Washington post and KTLA