Extra resources for students of State and Local Government 180, an upper-division GE class in the Government Department at Sacramento State University
Friday, December 30, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle: Some of the New laws taking effect on January 1
California: new laws on shark fins, gas pipelines
Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
San Francisco ChronicleDecember 30, 2011 04:00 AM
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Photo by David Paul Morris / Special To The Chronicle
Shark fins on sale at the Stockton Seafood Center, Inc in Chinatown on February 14, 2011 in San Francisco Calif.
Hundreds of bills approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor take effect with the start of the new year, including laws banning minors from using tanning beds, raising the age that children must use car booster seats and prohibiting the open carrying of handguns.
The Legislature's work in the last year resulted in 745 new laws, though some already have gone into effect while others will be fully enacted in future years. In 2010, there were 733 laws enacted. Both years saw significantly fewer new laws than in the past few decades.
Former Gov. Ronald Reagan approved the most laws in any year - 1,821 in 1971, according to the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, which keeps track of those statistics.
Here are some of the major laws that will go into effect Sunday:
Car seats: Children riding in cars will have to remain in a booster seat until they are 8 years old or taller than 4 feet 9 inches. Current law requires that children use the seats until they are 6. Many other states have stricter requirements. The measure is SB929, by Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa.
Tanning beds: People younger than 18 will be prohibited from using ultraviolet tanning devices, removing the ability of those between ages 14 and 18 to use the devices with parental consent. Doctors can still prescribe the use of the devices when medically necessary. The first-of-its kind in the nation measure is SB746, by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance (Los Angeles County).
Pipeline safety: Lawmakers introduced and won passage for several measures to enhance pipeline safety in the wake of the deadly San Bruno gas line explosion. Two bills require shut-off valves on pipelines, SB216 by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, and AB56 by Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo. Other pipeline-related bills that become law in the new year include requiring that emphasis be placed on safety rather than profit, SB705 by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco; new requirements for safety and emergency planning, SB44 by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro; and increased penalty fines, SB879 by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima (Los Angeles County).
Shark fins: California will ban the importation of shark fins, while fins that already are in the state can be sold and used until July 2013, when a total ban takes effect. The measure is AB376, by Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Cupertino.
Youth sports: Schools will be required to remove student athletes immediately from sporting activities if they appear to have sustained a concussion or head injury, and the students would be barred from returning until they are medically evaluated and given written permission to play by a licensed health care provider. The measure is AB25, by Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley.
Vaccines: Youths 12 or older can consent to medical treatment for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, with the focus being young women for the prevention of the human papillomavirus, which causes cancer and can be prevented with a vaccine. The measure is AB499, by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.
Alcohol sales: Shoppers will be barred from purchasing alcoholic beverages using self-check out registers at supermarkets or other stores. The measure is AB183, by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco.
Cough medicine: People younger than 18 would be banned from over-the-counter purchases of products that contain dextromethorphan, an ingredient used in many cough medicines that when taken in high doses can cause hallucinations, loss of motor skills and dissociative sensations. The measure is SB514, by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto.
Diversity: Requires that public schools include historical contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, as well as people with disabilities, in social science instruction and teaching materials. The measure is SB48, by Leno.
Handguns: The open carrying of unloaded handguns will be prohibited. The ban does not apply to law enforcement, people permitted to carry loaded weapons in public, or to people selling weapons at gun shows. The measure is AB144, by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge (Los Angeles County).
College scholarships: The first phase of the Dream Act takes effect, allowing public colleges and universities that administer privately funded scholarships to award those to students who are undocumented immigrants. The measure is AB130, by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles. The second phase, which will allow undocumented students to receive publicly funded aid, begins in January 2013.
Transparency: Auxiliary organizations and foundations associated with the University of California, California State University and state community colleges will be subject to the California Public Records Act. The measure is SB8, by Yee.
Foster care: Young adults in the state's foster care system can stay in the system until they are 21 years old instead of the current cutoff at 18, with the federal government providing the funding for the extended services. The measure, AB12 by Assemblyman Jim Beall, D-San Jose, was signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010 but its start date was delayed until this January.
Epilepsy: School employees will be allowed to volunteer to take a training course to administer the antiseizure drug Diastat, which can prevent brain damage and death, to children who have an epileptic seizure while at school. Parents have to request such assistance in the event their child has a seizure. The measure is SB161, by Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar (Los Angeles County).