Californians must abide by 760 new laws

In News, State News
Californians have a lot more to think about than New Year’s resolutions, overdue earthquakes, and the end of the world.With the new year, a dizzying 760 new laws have taken effect in California.Illegal immigrants, college students, Amazon.com and even the San Diego Chargers are among those affected by at least one of those 760.

The array of bills, most of them effective Jan. 1, concerns a variety of matters such as alcohol, discrimination, taxes and pets being sold on streets. They were signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October of last year, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Bills determined to be urgent, including a prohibition on banning male circumcision and a law preventing the gap closure of the I-710 near South Pasadena, took effect immediately after signing.

College students are affected by a handful of the bills. One bill ordered community colleges to facilitate faster student transfers between colleges. State community colleges must convert their transcript systems from paper to electronic.

By doing so, these colleges would minimize delays in transfer, ensure compatibility with CSU and UC transcript systems, and reduce overhead costs by over $160,000, according to an assembly analysis of the bill.

Within the 760 laws were a few that drew controversy and criticism from the public.

The Dream Act allows illegal immigrants access to private financial aid from public universities, according to the Los Angeles Times.

An assembly analysis of the bill states the Dream Act would help illegal immigrants finance their education because they are unable to work or receive grants or loans.

In 2013, what is unofficially referred to as part two of the Dream Act would allow illegal immigrants access to taxpayer-funded aid.

Another law gives illegal immigrants in student government access to grants, scholarships, fee waivers and reimbursements.

Patricia Perez, a human services major, said she was in favor of the Dream Act.

“I know a lot of people who are struggling right now to get into school, and then pay for school and graduate … while not having their citizenship,” she said.

Perez said her two cousins had to take out loans in order to pay for tuition and help their mother pay rent. Another cousin is paying out of his pocket to attend community college.

“I think the Dream Act will help them,” she said.

Alex Gamez, a political science major, said it’s not fair to deny illegal immigrants the same rights to financial aid as other Americans.

Those who are brought into the country illegally at a young age “are American as you and I are,” Gamez said. “(They) speak perfect English and are proud to be American, and they get denied these rights. How do you expect them to thrive in society?”

Gamez also commented on the heavily-criticized ban on open-carry handguns, saying it would give “a better sense of security” as well as “peace of mind” to both police officers and citizens.

Gov. Brown also received criticism for passing a law mandating public schools to teach about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in social sciences.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that (law),” said Tobias Brown, a psychology major, who said he saw it as a sign of the times.

The bill drew controversy, he said, because religious people may not feel comfortable with their children learning about these topics or topics related to homosexuals, such as gay marriage or the nurture vs. nature debate.

“Still, this kind of education is important for children because it prevents discrimination,” Brown said.

A two-bill package would require Amazon to collect sales taxes: one law defines Internet-only as a “retailer engaged in business in this state” if it generates more than $1 million of in-state sales of physical items; the other law requires such Internet retailers to collect sales taxes.

Amazon must begin collecting taxes by Sept. 15, or by Jan. 1, 2013, if federal law is enacted before the end of July.

Last year, Amazon fought against legislation by severing ties with 10,000 California small-business partners and promising never to charge sales tax in California. Months after, however, it reached a compromise, setting Sept. 15 as the first day to start taxing its customers.

Perez said that although this law would benefit the state, “no one wants to pay higher taxes.”

Another pair of bills concerns whether or not the San Diego Chargers would return to their original hometown, Los Angeles.

Farmer’s Field, originally set to open in downtown Los Angeles by fall of 2016, may have its development sped up by a bill that expedites review of the proposed stadium’s environmental policy.

San Diego representatives worry this bill would get the Chargers to move north, according to the Los Angeles Times.

However, San Diego may be able to build its own stadium to house the Chargers before then, due to a bill that streamlines the development of projects worth more than $100 million if they put in place environmental plans by 2015.

“There’s a reason why (these laws are) written, you know. They don’t just come up with laws for nothing,” Gamez said of the myriad laws.

College

• As part of the controversial Dream Act, illegal immigrants can receive private financial aid from public universities. Another law, unofficially known as part two of the Dream Act, will allow illegal immigrants to receive taxpayer-funded aid by 2013 (AB 130 and AB 131)

• Illegal immigrants serving in student government authorized to receive grants, scholarships, fee waivers, or reimbursements (AB 844)

• Community colleges must use electronic transcript services in order to facilitate streamlined student transfers to other colleges, including CSUs and UCs (AB 1056)

• Veterans’ priority registration raised from 2 to 4 years after leaving active duty (SB 813)

• Cost per unit at community colleges raised from $36 to $46 (AB 108) and parking permit maximum fees raised from $40 to $50 (SB 774)

Alcohol

• Adults who give minors alcohol are liable if alcohol is found to be the reason behind harm to themselves or others (AB 1407)

• Caffeinated alcoholic drinks, such as Four Loko, cannot be imported, produced or sold in the state (SB 39)

• Alcoholic drinks cannot be sold through self-service checkout (AB 183)

• Police cannot impound vehicles at a DUI checkpoint if the driver’s only offense is lack of license (AB 353)

Drugs

• Products with dextromethorphan, such as Nyquil, Robitussin, and Vicks, cannot be sold to minors with prescription (SB 514)

• Sale and possession of synthetic drugs, such as NRG-1, are prohibited (AB 486) **

• Cities and counties may regulate the location and operation of medical marijuana dispensaries (AB 1300)

Discrimination

• Genetic information cannot be used to discriminate in health facilities in the provision of emergency care (SB 559)

• Employees must be able to dress and appear according to their preferred gender identity and expression (AB 887)

• Health insurers cannot discriminate in coverage against same-sex domestic partners (SB 757)

• Schools are required to teach students about the roles of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (SB 48) as well as the role of Filipinos in World War II (AB 199)

Public health and safety

• The Department of Public Health can allow certain groups to provide hypodermic needles and syringe exchange services to combat the spread of HIV in susceptible areas (AB 604) and pharmacists may furnish a limited amount of hypodermic needles to curtail the spread of HIV (SB 41)

• “Safe Body Art Act” imposes myriad new standards for tattoo artists, including annual renewal of health permits (AB 300)

• Minors 12-17 years of age may consent to STD treatments without parental consent (AB 499)

• Expired baby food and over-the-counter drugs cannot be sold by retailers (AB 688)

Crime

• The open carrying of unloaded handguns is prohibited (AB 144)

• Strangulation and suffocation are punishable as felonies (SB 430)

• Knowingly giving a massage license to an untrained masseuse is a misdemeanor (SB 285)

• Stealing more than $950 worth of copper may be charged with grand theft (AB 316)

The Chargers

• Speed up development of the proposed Farmers Field football stadium in downtown Los Angeles, intended to bring in the Chargers (SB 292)

• Streamlines development of projects worth at least $100 million if they ensure reduced environmental impact by 2015 (AB 900)

Restitution

• Anyone who commits identity theft must pay their victims back for their losses until their credit score is repaired (SB 208) **

• Property of the criminal may be used to pay back elderly crime victims (AB 1293)

• Employers who underpay workers must pay restitution in wages or face a misdemeanor charge (AB 469)

Court

• Grand jurors cannot sit in a trial against a company they work or have worked for (AB 1133)

• The court cannot take money from homeless youths under 25 (AB 1111)

Taxes

• Internet retailers without an in-state location generating sales of physical items in-state over $1 million, such as Amazon, are considered “retailers operating within the state.” A retailer of that size must collect taxes (AB 155 and AB 28 X1) **

Food

• Sale and possession of shark fin, a delicacy in Chinese cuisine, is illegal. Shark fin bought before 2012 may be sold and possessed (AB 376 and AB 853)

Landlords:

• Landlords can prohibit smoking on and around their properties (SB 332)

• Landlords cannot prohibit a tenant from posting political signs (SB 337)

Animals

• Live pets cannot be sold in streets, highways, parking lots, carnivals, or boardwalks (SB 917)

Child actors

• Parents can get temporary permits for their child’s acting work online (AB 1401)

Circumcision

• Male circumcision cannot be banned by city or county ordinance (AB 768) **

Cyberbullying

• Schools can now suspend cyber-bullies for posting on social networking sites such as Facebook (AB 746 and AB 1156)

** = effective immediately after signing, prior to New Year

You may also read!

The Muslim Student Association hosted Hijab Day

Muslim Student Association celebrates Women’s History Month with Hijab Day

Students had an opportunity to try on a headscarf on Titan Walk during Hijab Day, an event hosted by

Read More...
John Smith, assistant head coach for CSUF men's basketball, has been named the

Assistant head coach John Smith accepts new role in Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

After being the associate head coach for Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball for the past six years, John Smith

Read More...
An illustration of Jordan Peele's movie 'Us.'

Review: Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ questions the monotony of daily life

Jordan Peele hits another home run with his sophomore effort, “Us.” While Peele’s last hit “Get Out” was mostly

Read More...

Mobile Sliding Menu