Every year, hundreds of new California laws take effect January 1. Many of them won’t have much effect on someone’s daily life. But, here’s a closer look at some that might in 2018:
Minimum wage increase—   Raises minimum wage from $10.50 to $11/hour for employees of businesses with 26+ employees and from $10 to $10.50 for employees of businesses with 25 or fewer employees
Marijuana legalization— Under California’s legalization of recreational marijuana approved by voters in 2016, adults 21 and older can buy marijuana for recreational use from a licensed dispensary starting January 1, 2018. The state is now issuing commercial licenses for cannabis cultivation, manufacture, testing labs, distribution and retail sale. See article here.
Ban the box— Prohibits employers from inquiring about or considering a job applicant’s criminal record prior to a conditional offer of employment.
Salary history— Prohibits employers from asking job applicants for previous salary history.
Marijuana: Ingesting while driving— Bans smoking or ingesting marijuana while driving or riding in a car.
School lunch availability— Requires schools to make meals available to needy kids, even if their fees have not been paid.
Subsidized child care— Makes parents who are taking English as a Second Language, GED, and High School Equivalency classes eligible for subsidized child care.
Paid family leave— Increases the level and duration of benefits provided in the Paid Family Leave (PFL) and State Disability (SDI) insurance programs.
Job-protected family leave— Expands job-protected new-parent leave to workers at businesses with 20+ employees (previously was 50+).
Tampons in schools— Requires schools serving students in grades 6-12 with at least 40 percent of students living in poverty to stock bathrooms with tampons and other feminine hygiene products.
Livestock: Use of antimicrobial drugs— Prohibits routine use of antibiotics on livestock in California. Livestock managers can only use antibiotics if they’ve got a prescription from a veterinarian.
Dental benefits for Medi-Cal— The 2017-2018 state budget restores full dental benefits to adult Medi-Cal patients effective January 1, 2018.
Diaper changing stations— Requires that at least one restroom diaper-changing station be accessible to both women and men in newly constructed or renovated state and local government buildings, large retail and entertainment venues, and restaurants that hold at least 60 people.
LGBT Seniors Bill of Rights—  Gives legal protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors living in long-term care facilities.
Swimming pool safety— Requires residential swimming pools to adhere to new safety standards and additional inspections.
Guns: Ammunition sales—  Regulates ammunition sales and transfers by requiring they be conducted through a licensed ammunition vendor; bans importing ammunition bought outside California without first shipping it to a licensed vendor.
Guns: Open carry— Applies an existing statewide ban on openly-carrying long guns to unincorporated areas.
Guns: Hate crimes— Prevents those convicted of hate crimes from owning a firearm for 10 years.
Guns: School grounds— Bans firearms on school grounds, removing the ability of school officials to grant exemptions.
Pedestrian crossing signals— Allows pedestrian to enter crosswalk after “DON’T WALK” sign begins flashing if there’s a countdown timer, and if pedestrian completes crossing in time. (Previously, it was a crime to even enter a crosswalk when “DON’T WALK” was flashing.)
Rape kits: Rules for law enforcement— Requires law enforcement agencies to count, preserve, and report on the reasons for unprocessed rape kits.
Rape kits: Survivors’ rights— Expands survivors’ rights to notice about the location and status of their rape kits, and prevents the destruction of rape kits for at least 20 years.
Sky diving— Makes it illegal to sky-dive while intoxicated.
Transportation funding— The same law that raised gas and diesel taxes effective November 1, 2017, also raises vehicle fees for drivers registering (or renewing registrations for) their vehicles.

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