2016 is coming to a close and 2017 is just a couple days away. With this incoming new year comes a host of new California laws and regulations. We thought it would be important to break down the most noteworthy and impactful laws to help our clients and readers understand how 2017 might change things for them. Most of the new laws are about gun control and traffic, but there are a few others as well that are worth mentioning.
- Minimum Wage Increase – Starting January 1, 2017 the minimum wage will increase to $10.50/hour. The only employers that are required to pay this amount are businesses with fewer than 26 employees. This new law also expresses that by 2022 the minimum wage will increase to $15/hour.
- New Cell Phone Laws – Cell phone devices must now be mounted. Texting is already banned, but new to the law is taking pictures, streaming video and searching for GPS locations. As expressed in the Assembly Bill 1785, the driver’s cell phone must be mounted to the windshield or to the dashboard in a way that does not hinder their view of the road. The driver can touch the phone but only if it requires them to use a single touch, tap, or swipe.
- Motorcycle Lane Splitting – California is now the first state to make lane-splitting legal. Which is interesting, because it never was officially illegal. The CHP is required by the state to update the rules regarding how to safely split-lanes.
- Child Safety Seats – Assembly Bill 53 extends a requirement that children under 2 years-old must sit in a rear-facing car seat, unless the child is more than 40 pounds or is taller than 40 inches.
- DUI “Ignition” Interlock Devices – This law is actually an extensions of Senate Bill 1046; a pilot program that requires most convicted DUI drivers to install an ignition interlock device in their motor vehicles. The bill extends this pilot program into four more California counties – Los Angeles, Sacramento, Tulare, and Alameda – but it will go into action across the whole state on January 1, 2019.
- Vehicle Registration Fee Increase – This increase is a part of Senate Bill 838 and is implemented on April 1, 2017. The vehicle registration fee on every vehicle and/or trailer coach will rise to $53. Which is $10 more than the current registration fee.
- Accident Reporting – This bill increases the minimum threshold property damage from $750 to $1000. Kind of a minor change, but still helpful.
- Vehicle Safety Recalls – Assembly Bill 1289 enacts the CARS Act (or Consumer Automatic Recall Safety Act) which will prohibit dealers and rental car companies from loaning or renting a vehicle that is under a manufacturer’s recall. The dealers and rental car companies do have at least 48 hours to cease use of the car after the notice though. The DMV will also be required to issue a recall disclosure statement with the respective vehicle registration renewal notices. The DMV can also revoke the license of any dealer that violates the CARS Act.
- Gun Control – One of the seven gun control laws signed into law is Proposition 63 which solidifies the mandated background checks before all ammunition sales. The law also states that the sale of ammo without a license is considered a misdemeanor for any business or person selling more than 500 rounds per month. And the sale of ammo via the internet, unless a local ammo dealer is being used as a middleman, is illegal. Thirdly, this law also mandates that gun owners need to buy a 4 year, $50 permit to purchase ammunition which requires a background check.
In closing, 2017 looks like it holds plenty of promise for Californians. The California government and its citizens are always pursuing ways to make our beautiful state cleaner and safer. Talk to us via our webform, or call our office at (209) 900-8200, if you have been involved in a car accident or DUI to be informed on your rights. We offer free consultations and are willing to help in any way we can. Thank you for reading have a Happy New Year!