Here in California, the DUI law is changing for some, new fees are being added for registering your vehicle and minimum wage is going up.
Every year, the California legislature authors hundreds of new bills. That means every January, we have a slew of new laws to look forward to. Some of them were passed just recently, others are finally coming into effect after several years.
Among the new laws you can look forward to mean more money in your pocket if you make minimum wage — but less money in your wallet after paying your vehicle’s registration fees.
Previously, we broke down laws that give new parents more time off work, ban employers from asking about your salary history, require bus passengers to buckle up, crack down on ammunition sales and ‘ban the box.’
Here’s a breakdown of eight more laws you won’t want to miss:
Minimum Wage Increase
Starting Jan. 1, the California minimum wage will officially be $11 per hour for companies with 26 or more employees. That’s an increase of $1 an hour. For businesses with 25 or less employees, workers must be paid $10.50 an hour.
Marijuana And Driving
It’s no secret that marijuana will be legal to buy and use in California. That’s not what this particular law we’re discussing is about, though. SB 65 aims at making sure neither drivers nor passengers in vehicles do not smoke or consume marijuana in any form.
New ‘Transportation Improvement Fee’
We already saw a new 20 cent gas tax take effect in November as a part of the controversial SB 1. Also part of SB 1 is a “transportation improvement fee” that starts in 2018. This will be an added fee in the vehicle registration process, tacking on between $25 to $175 based on the vehicle’s current market value.
Additional Harassment Training
This law is going into effect at the height of the “me too” movement, but it was actually first introduced in February 2017 — eight months before the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke. Under SB 396, employers with 50 or more employees (who are already legally required to conduct two hours of sexual harassment training every two years) must “include, as a component of that prescribed training and education for supervisors, training inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.”
‘Joint Liability’ For Construction Projects
AB 1701, sponsored by the California Conference of Carpenters, is aimed at protecting those in the construction industry from losing out on wages if a subcontractor doesn’t pay them. For private contracts starting in January or later (public projects are excluded), general contractors can be held liable for any wages that a sub skips out on paying workers.
“This measure incentivizes the use of responsible subcontractors, helps to ensure the economic vitality of the construction industry, and supports in the creation of good paying jobs,” the bill’s author, Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, said.
DUI / Passenger For Hire
This law doesn’t actually go into effect until July 1, but it’s an important one to have on your radar as the use of companies like Uber and Lyft continues to rise. AB 2687 makes it much easier for your Uber driver to get a DUI, as the bill “makes it unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more when a passenger for hire is in the vehicle at the time of the offense,” according to the DMV.
Low Income Motorists Can Create Payment Plans For Parking Tickets
According to the California DMV, AB 503 “…makes changes to a requirement under which vehicle registration renewal and driver license issuance or renewal is not granted for having unpaid parking penalties and fees. The law creates a process for low-income Californians with outstanding parking violations to repay their fines and penalties prior to the parking violation being reported to the DMV. The law also allows the registered owner of a vehicle to file for Planned Non-Operation status when unpaid parking penalties are on the vehicle’s record. It also allows for someone with outstanding parking penalties and fees, to obtain or renew a driver license.”
Disabled Person Parking Placards Crackdown
This law cracks down on those applying for a disabled placard or license plate in California. According to the DMV, applicants must provide proof of their full name and birthdate as well as limits the number of replacement placards someone can request without medical certification. There’s also a new renewal process.
“We must block scofflaws and fraudsters from gaming the DMV’s placard and license plate program for drivers with disabilities and ensure that the motorists who need this important program have access to its benefits,” said Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, who authored the bill. “These changes to state law, along with changes recently made by the DMV, will go a long way toward reducing fraud and abuse.”
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