Every year, the California Legislature passes hundreds of bills. In 2018,
most of them will take effect on New Year’s Day. The new laws cover
topics ranging from the state’s new recreational marijuana market
and the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown.
The following are some of the laws taking effect on January 1, 2018:
Criminal justice – Repeat
drug offenders will no longer automatically get an additional three years added
to their sentences. Criminals who video record or stream their criminal
offenses on social media could face longer sentences under a law which
allows judges to consider the recordings as aggravating factors in sentences
for specific violent crimes. Intentionally transmitting HIV is being reduced
from a felony to a misdemeanor, which is the same punishment as transmitting
other STDs. Officials need to consider paroling inmates who are 60 years
of age or older and have served at least 25 years to help reduce prison
Juvenile Offenders – Those serving life sentences for criminal offenses they committed
as juveniles will get an opportunity to leave prison after 25 years. Another
bill expands California’s youthful parole program to age 25 since
the previous law already required that inmates who were under 23 when
they committed their crimes be considered for parole after serving at
least 15 years. Families of youths in the juvenile justice system won’t
be charged fees that advocates say many cannot afford to pay according
to a separate law. Another bill requires offenders age 15 or younger to
consult with attorneys before waiving their rights. Lastly, one bill requires
that records be sealed for dismissed juvenile court petitions or after
a juvenile completes a diversion program. Furthermore, a judge can seal
juvenile records for serious or violent offenses after the offender has
completed the sentence.
Cannabis – State voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2016 with Proposition
64. Now, it is available for retail purchase. Adults 21 and older can
purchase up to an ounce of cannabis and up to eight grams of cannabis
Immigration – Police are prohibited from asking people about their immigration
status or participate in federal immigration enforcement actions under
a law which makes California a sanctuary state. Furthermore, immigration
officials must obtain a warrant to access workplaces or employee records,
landlords will be barred from disclosing tenant’s citizenship and
university officials cannot cooperate with immigration officers.
Education – Assembly Bill 18 establishes the initial stage of a “free
college” program here, waving the first year of fees for any first-time
student who enrolls full-time at one California’s 114 community
colleges. However, lawmakers still need to provide the money in the next
budget. Students in grades 7-12 need to be taught about sexual abuse and
human trafficking prevention. Public schools where at least 40 percent
of students meet the federal poverty threshold need to provide free tampons
and menstrual products in half of restrooms.
Minimum Wage – The minimum wage increases by 50 cents, to $11 per hour for workers
at companies with at least 26 employees, and to $10.50 for those at smaller
workplaces. It is part of an agreement in Senate Bill 3, which was reached
nearly two years ago, that will continue to increase the hourly wage annually
until it reaches $15 in 2022 for large companies, and in 2023 for all
Guns – According to Proposition 63, ammunition purchased in another state,
online or through a catalog cannot be brought into California except through
a licensed ammunition dealer. In addition, there is a new process and
deadlines for gun owners to give up their firearms if they are convicted
of a felony or certain violent misdemeanors. According to Assembly Bill
424, superintendents can no longer allow people with permits to carry
concealed guns on school grounds.
Job Leave – Parents who work for small businesses will now be able to take
12 weeks off to take care of newborns without fear of losing their jobs.
The New Parent Leave Act provides three months of unpaid maternity and
paternity leave to parents who work at businesses with 20 to 49 employees.
Walking – Assembly Bill 390 eliminates the penalty for entering a crosswalk
after a “Don’t Walk” symbol appears, as long as there
is a countdown that indicates how much time is left for pedestrians to cross.
Diaper Changing Stations – State and local agencies, as well as public venues (e.g. restaurants,
grocery stores, movie theaters, and sports arenas) must provide at least
one diaper-changing station accessible to women and men.
For more information,
contact The Law Offices of Jarrod M. Wilfert and request a
free consultation with our
Ventura criminal defense lawyer today.