We love the law, and while some people might maintain that the law doesn’t love them, we’d beg to differ. Every year a gaggle of new laws — all wide-eyed and and idealistic — go into effect. We thought we’d take a few words to get to know them a little better, especially the ones that affect you.
AB 1755: Bicycle Hit-and-Run on Bike Paths
Laws are already on the books for biking under the influence. Now, our hit-and-run laws will apply to cyclists on bike paths as well. Like motorists must, if a cyclist hits someone and the accident results in injury or death, they must remain at the scene or they will be held accountable.
AB 3077: Bike Helmets for Minors
Head injuries are no joke. Starting this year, kids on bikes, scooters, helmets, or skates need to wear helmets. If spotted without one, they’ll be issued a “fix-it” citation. They’ll then have 120 days to prove that they’ve taken an applicable safety course, and that they own a helmet that meets proper safety standards. If they don’t provide proof within the allotted time, the citation well be punishable.
AB 2989: Helmets and motorized scooters
Can’t say we’re completely jazzed about this one, considering the importance of the cranium. We’ve talked about some of the issues with motorized scooters before, including the first case of someone being charges with a DUI hit-and-run while riding a Bird scooters. Going forward, adult scooter riders (18+) will not be required by law to wear helmets. The maximum speed limit for scooters is 15 mph, and it will remain illegal to ride on the sidewalk.
AB 1824: Penalty to pay for loud vehicle exhausts
Often a result of illegal modifications, owners of motorcycles and cars can expect a fine for their excessively loud exhausts — a boon to everyone who doesn’t like being woken up at 3 AM by a revving engine.
SB 1046: Ignition Interlock Device for DUI Offenders
Repeat DUI offenders will have a harder time getting behind the wheel. Drivers convicted of two or more DUIS will be required by law to install breathalyzers in their cars. These ignition interlock devices prevent drunk drivers from starting their vehicles if they blow above the legal limit. The law is a way to allow drivers to keep their driving privileges, while still keeping the public safe.
AB 1274: Smog check exemption
Attention owners of cars 8 model-years old or newer, you are now exempt from smog-checks. Previously the law pertained to vehicles 6 model years or newer. For vehicles that fall under year 7 and 8, the annual smog abatement fee will be increased from $20 to $25.
AB 485: Sale of Pets
You know we love our pets. Often we discuss laws around dog bites, but we’re glad to see laws being passed protecting the animals themselves, too. Starting this year, in an effort to crack down on puppy mills (and the like), pet stores will be prohibited from selling breeding dogs, cats, or rabbits. Instead, any of these animals that they do sell must come from animal shelters or rescues.
AB 1884: Bye, bye plastic straws
From now on, sit down restaurants will not be allowed to by default hand you a plastic straw with your drink. Instead, you’ll have to ask for one if you really want one. This law doesn’t apply to stores like Starbucks, or straws made out of green materials.
SB 1192: No soda or juice with kid meals
Soda and juice will be stricken from kids menus at restaurants as well, and instead the default will be unsweetened water, milk, or a dairy-free alternative (a la almond milk). If parents and their kids really want soda or juice, they’ll have to make a special request for it.
SB 179: Neutral gender designation for non-binary folks on official documents
Plowing headlong into the 21st Century, California is leading the charge in equality and nondiscrimination with the Gender Recognition Act. Californians who identify as non-binary or agender (meaning, neither male nor female) will be able to change the gender designation on their driver’s license or state ID to a gender neutral option that aligns more closely with their sense of self.
Per KQED, “People wanting to change their gender on those forms will also no longer have to provide a doctor’s authorization. The law, of course, does not apply to federal forms, such as passports, or documents issued by other states.”
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Check Out These References for Further Reading:
“The Most Important New California Environmental and Health Laws of 2019.” KQED. Retrieved 4 January 2019. https://www.kqed.org/science/1936016/the-most-important-new-california-environmental-and-health-laws-of-2019
“A breakdown of the new California laws going into effect January 1, 2019.” KRCR TV. Retrieved 4 January 2019. https://krcrtv.com/news/local/a-breakdown-of-the-new-california-laws-going-into-effect-january-1st-2019
“Fact Sheet: California’s Gender Recognition Act (SB 179).” Transgender Law Center. Retrieved 4 January 2019. https://transgenderlawcenter.org/resources/id/ca-sb179
“How will California’s new laws affect you.” The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 January 2019. https://www.latimes.com/projects/la-pol-ca-new-california-2019-laws/