New California Laws In 2015



This new year brings California more than 900 new laws with most taking effect on January 1, but some, like the plastic bag ban, won’t take effect till July 1. Here’s a look at some of the laws that will have the biggest changes for California.

Plastic Bag Ban (SB 270): Starting July 1, California could be the first to have a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and pharmacies. The ban would also allow stores to charge 10 cents for paper bags. Opponents of the law, however, have submitted signatures to place a referendum on the 2016 ballot and if enough signatures are valid, voters would then decide to keep or eliminate the law.

Driver’s Licenses (AB 60): Undocumented immigrants are now eligible to take tests to obtain a state driver’s license. The DMV will issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants who meet every other qualifications, including passing the driver’s test.

Student Loans (SB 1210): Undocumented immigrants are eligible to apply for State-funded student loans for attending one of the campuses of a University of California or California State University.

Paid Sick Leave (AB 1522): Starting July 1, millions of employees who are currently unable to get sick leave benefits will be able to as nearly all employers are required to provide a minimum of three paid sick days to anyone who works for 30 days.

Community College Four-Year Degrees (SB 850): 15 community college districts across the state will be allowed to offer 4-year bachelor degrees.

Revenge Porn Rights (SB 1255): The law against posting sexually explicit photos of someone without their consent is extended to include “selfies” that were originally taken but not posted by the victim.

Sexual Consent (SB 967): “No means no” is now replaced with “yes means yes”. Colleges and universities must establish a standard of clear consent for sex between individuals. To receive state funding, schools must only consider sex consensual if there was “affirmative consent”. Consent must be “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary”.

Sexual Abuse Rights (SB926): Childhood sex abuse victims now have until their 40th birthday to file charges (previously their 28th). This only applies to incidents that happen on or after January 1, 2015.

Smartphone Kill Switches (SB962): Any smartphone manufactured and sold in California after July 1 is required to include preinstalled anti-theft technology that allows the owner to render the phone inoperable if lost or stolen.

Restrictions For Youth Contact Sports (AB2127): Intended to reduce concussions and other brain injuries , this law puts restrictions on middle and high school contact sports like football. Students who have suffered a head injury will need to wait seven days and have a doctor’s note to play again. Teams are limited to only two full-contact practice sessions a week for a maximum of 90 minutes a day. Full-contact practice is banned during the off-season.