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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Laws for 2008

Every year there are a ton of new laws that come into effect on Jan. 1st, most of which none of us have never even heard of. I mean how can we be expected to keep up with all the laws when politicians like Governor Schwarzenegger sign 740 new ones for 2008? I guess I shouldn't complain too much, there are actually quite a few this year that will benefit many of us...even a few civil rights laws...

Here are just a few of the laws that come into effect this year:

California Auto/Driving Related Laws that take effect Jan 1, 2008

  • Smoking in Vehicles. SB 7 prohibits anyone from smoking a cigarette, a cigar, or a pipe in a vehicle, whether in motion or not, in which there is a minor. The smoker can be fined up to $100. Police can only cite for this violation in connection with a stop for a suspected violation of another driving offense.

  • School Zones. AB 321 will now allow local jurisdictions to adopt an ordinance establishing a speed limit of 15 miles per hour in a school zone. The 15-mph speed limit must be posted and applies up to 500 feet from the school. A 25-mph limit will apply at a distance of 500-1,000 feet from the school.

  • Key Codes. SB 1542 gives motorists a convenient and secure option for getting replacement keys when theirs have been lost, stolen, or damaged. Automakers must provide, at any time, the key codes necessary for a licensed and registered locksmith to make a replacement key for vehicles sold or leased in California on or after January 1, 2008. Exceptions include automakers that sell fewer than 2,500 vehicles annually, and manufacturers that make their own keys -- i.e. BMW and Mercedes-Benz -- who have until 2013 to comply with the law provided that, in the interim, they send a replacement key by overnight mail.

California Auto/Driving Related Laws that take effect July 1st, 2008:
  • Cell Phones and Driving. SB 1613 prohibits the use of handheld cellular telephones while driving. Starting July 1, 2008, an adult driver may use a cell phone only if it has a hands-free listening and speaking system. Drivers ticketed for a violation will be subject to a fine of at least $70 (base fine plus penalties) for a first offense and at least $175 (base fine plus penalties) for subsequent offenses.

  • Teen Drivers and Cell Phones. SB 33 prohibits drivers under age 18 from using any cell phone or other "mobile-service device" while driving, even if it is equipped with a hands-free device.

Misc. California Laws

  • California Minimum Wage Law. The hourly pay will increase by 50 cents to $8 on Jan. 1, making them the second highest paid minimum wage workers in the country along with workers in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts minimum wage also will reach $8 an hour on Jan. 1, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

  • Gang Parenting. Courts could require the parents or guardians of gang members to attend parenting classes in attempt to prevent first-time juvenile offenders from committing additional crimes.

  • Illegal Immigrants. Legislation prevents cities and counties from requiring landlords to serve as surrogate border patrol agents by obtaining and reporting the immigration status of their tenants. The measure also prohibits ordinances preventing landlords from renting to illegal immigrants.

  • Gift Certificates. This law allows shoppers to cash in gift certificates that have less than $10 left in value. Consumer advocates say that will prevent stores from benefiting from an "undeserved bonanza" generated by unexhausted gift certificates that stores have refused to trade for cash.

  • The Civil Rights Act of 2007 (AB 14). The Unruh Civil Rights Act entitles all people in California to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges or services in all business establishments regardless of sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status or sexual orientation. This bill expands these protections to include a number of groups and individuals previously not specifically listed.

  • Name Change, Domestic Partnership and Marriage License (AB102)
    Requires the state Secretary of State to amend domestic partner registration forms to include an option for either or both parties to change their middle and/or last names. The Secretary of State, when preparing the Certificate of Registered Partnership, must include the name used by each party before registration and any new name(s).

  • Health Care and Whistleblower Protection (AB 632)
    This bill prohibits a health facility from discriminating or retaliating against any patient, employee, member of the facility's medical staff or any other health care worker of the facility because that person has (1) presented a grievance, complaint or report to an entity or agency responsible for accrediting or evaluating the facility or to any other governmental agency; or (2) has initiated, participated or cooperated in an investigation or administrative proceeding related to the quality of care, services or conditions at the facility.

New Hampshire's New Same Sex Union Law

  • As of Jan 1st, 2008, Lesbian and Gay couples can now apply for Same Sex Civil Unions.

New Oregon Laws

  • The Oregon Equality Act. Prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation (including gender identity)

  • The Oregon Family Fairness Act. Establishes domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the new law about teens using cell phones while driving. I must be getting old! I'm sounding like my mom here. -- Paige


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