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Matthew Hedger
07/03/2014 8:05 AM

A spate of new laws took effect Tuesday, July 1, that affect gun owners, people seeking state and local government jobs and abortion providers.

Receiving the most media attention this week is the raising of California’s minimum wage to $9 per hour, the first such increase since 2008. Effective Jan. 1, 2016, the minimum will again rise, to $10 per hour. There are some employees who are exempt from the minimum wage law: outside salespersons, apprentices working in trades governed by state indenture rules, and parents, spouses or children of an employer.

The give and take for teachers was also tweaked this week. The first of a legislated series of incremental hikes in the amount of money that school districts, teachers and even the state pays into the California State Teachers Retirement System began Tuesday. The action is part of a deal to start paying down a shortfall in the system.

While it is already illegal to own a large-capacity magazine for a firearm, that is, one that holds more than ten rounds of ammunition, AB 48 amends the law to make it illegal to sell “conversion kits” to modify small-capacity magazines to hold more rounds. The law goes further to say that large-capacity magazines cannot be possessed, sold, manufactured, bought, given or lent to anyone.

Under the provisions of Assembly Bill 218, which seeks to prevent discrimination against job applicants with past criminal violations, state and local agencies — including cities, counties and special districts — are now barred from asking about an applicant’s criminal history when the initial application is made. But the questions can still be asked after the agency has determined the applicant has met the minimum employment qualifications of the job. Existing law already bars both public and private employers from asking job applicants for any information concerning an arrest or detention that did not result in a conviction.

Under Senate Bill 770, the eligibility list for people who need to take family leave from work to care for sick or injured relatives just got bigger. Grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and parents-in-law are all now considered eligible.

And disability insurance providers are now required to cover more severe mental illnesses, such as anorexia, bulimia, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, under the provisions of AB402.

Transgendered Californians will no longer need to obtain a court order to change their names and gender identities, under the law created by AB 1121.

Under the newest tweaks to campaign finance bill SB 27 — also known as the Political Reform Act of 1974 — formerly anonymous donors will now need to be disclosed once their contributions rise above a certain level, and a list of the top ten contributors for state ballot and candidate committees must be maintained for public transparency on the Secretary of State’s website. Donors who contributed during this political cycle before the law took affect Tuesday are not affected. Another law, AB 800, puts an additional tool in the Fair Political Practices Commission toolbox by authorizing the watchdog agency to start campaign finance investigations or seek injunctions during an election cycle, rather than having to wait until after Election Day.

Also as of July 1, facilities that provide abortion services will not have to face different building requirements than other newly constructed facilities; property sellers must disclose lawsuits and claims on property; all battery-operated smoke alarms in rental units must contain a non-removable, non-replaceable, 10-year battery; and prime contractors are now required to disclose the California State Licensing Board license numbers of subcontractors on public works projects.

Bills which are passed by the state legislature, and signed into law by the governor, or ballot measures which are approved by voters during a general election, usually are implemented by the following Jan. 1. But occasionally, the date is delayed to July 1.

Copyright © 2014 Amador Ledger Dispatch
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