2019 brings new laws and other changes for California residents
Minimum wage increase. For employers with under 25 employees, the rate rises to $11 per hour. Companies with more than 25 employees will pay $12 per hour
Straws. Sit down restaurants in California may only provide straws upon request.
Kids meals. Kids meals that provide a food and a beverage will come with unflavored milk or water. Substitutions may be requested.
Juvenile Justice. Requires that juveniles ages 14 and 15 accused of crimes be tried in the juvenile justice system instead of being prosecuted as adults.
Police body cameras. Requires police to make public any video or audio recordings of a police shooting or when excessive force causes death or injury to a person. This must be done within 45 days. This takes effect July 1, 2019
Police transparency. SB1421 allows public access to internal investigations of police shootings and other use of force cases, as well as records involving sexual assault by an officer.
Temporary paper plates. All vehicles must have license plates or temporary paper plates with an ID number and expiration date.
Gender Identity. With this new law, people who apply for a license or identity card will have the option to select their own gender, which includes the categories for female, male or non-binary. Those who choose the “No binary” option will receive a card with an “X” gender category.
Equal Representation. Publicly traded companies based in California must have at least one woman on their board of directors by the end of 2019.
Helmet law. Teens and kids under 18 will need to wear a helmet or face receiving a fix it ticket.
No postage for voting. Starting in 2019, if you vote by mail you will no longer have to pay postage.
HIT AND RUN. Felony hit-and-run laws on the roadways will expand to include cyclists on bike paths, as well. As with drivers, cyclists involved in a collision resulting in death or injury to another party is required to stop at the scene.
NOISE.A fine will become mandatory, not correctable, when loud motor vehicles and motorcycles are cited for modified or excessively loud exhaust or
SAFETY. When approaching or overtaking a refuse collection vehicle with its amber lights flashing, drivers must move into an adjacent lane, if possible,
and pass at a safe distance. If not possible, drivers must slow to a safe and reasonable speed.
Pet Stores. Animals sold at stores will come from animal rescues or shelters instead of breeders starting in 2019 through AB 485
Breastfeeding at work. Employers will have to make reasonable accommodations for women to breastfeed in a clean, quiet place outside of a bathroom.
Smog Checks. The exemption for newer cars to be smog checked will be increased from 6 to 8 years. Car owners will pay $25 per year for the 7th & 8th years.
Gun laws. Minimum age to buy a “long” gun will rise from 18 to 21. There are exceptions for licensed hunters, law enforcement officers and members of the military. Lifetime firearms ban for anyone convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense. Requirements for gun stores to post warning detailing the risk and laws associated with handling guns.
Restraining orders over guns. A new law, SB 1200, allows law enforcement to confiscate ammunition as well as guns from people with a restraining order against gun violence.
Sidewalk vendors. Prohibits criminal penalties for sidewalk vending, while allowing local governments to regulate vendors.
3 new laws pertaining to sexual harassment.
Liability protections. Protects employees who report sexual harassment allegations without malice from liability for defamation of the people they accuse. Also, allows employers to indicate during reference checks whether an individual has been determined to have engaged in sexual harassment.
Nondisclosure agreements. Bans non disclosure agreements in sexual harassment, assault and discrimination cases that were signed on or after Jan. 1, 2019
Non disparagement agreements. Prohibits employers from forcing new employees or those seeking raises to sign non disparagement agreements or waive their right to file legal claims. Those rights, however, could still be waived as part of a settlement — which often happens in exchange for a severance package.