A number of new laws and expansions to existing laws went into effect on New Year's Day, changing rules on purchasing rifles, minimum wage, and driving.
Gun Sale Restrictions
Californians may no longer purchase detachable ammunition magazines that can be modified to hold more than 10 rounds.
Additionally, Californians must now register rifles and shotguns with the state upon purchase; previously, only handguns were registered. A written firearm safety test must also be passed prior to purchasing.
Expansion of Illegal Immigrant Rights
Those living in the country illegally may now practice law in California. New legislation also bars county jails from turning illegal immigrants over to federal authorities.
The minimum wage will rise in 2014, but not until July 1. Minimum wage workers will make $9 per hour starting that day.
An expansion to California’s Amber Alert law will require law enforcement to request activation of AMBER alerts after receiving a report that a child has been abducted by anyone, including a custodial parent or guardian, who may cause serious bodily injury or death to the child.
Currently the law is not intended for cases involving parental abduction except in life-threatening situations.
A new law for bicycle passing distance will go into effect Sept. 16. The law prohibits motorists from passing a bicycle when there is less than three feet between any part of the vehicle and any part of bicycle or the cyclist. When conditions do not permit three feet of space, the driver of the motor vehicle must slow to a “reasonable and prudent speed” only passing when it is safe for both drivers.
Drivers found in violation of this law, regardless of a collision occurring, may be fined.
A new law will prohibit any person under 18 years of age from using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication while driving, even if it is equipped with a hands-free device (i.e. voice control).
A law addressing motor vehicle registration fees will allow counties to increase registration fees by $1 for passenger vehicles and $2 for commercial vehicles to help fund programs for vehicles theft crimes in those counties.
Hit and Runs
A new hit and run law will extend the statute of limitations for hit-and-run collisions in which death or permanent, serious injury occurred. A criminal complaint of the incident may be filed within three years of the offense, or one year after the person was initially identified by law enforcement as a suspect of the offense, whichever comes later. In no case though may a complaint be filed more than six years after the offense.
An amendment to current law that has been operative since Sept. 20, 2013 authorizes the use of a search warrant to draw blood from a person in a “reasonable, medically approved manner” in order to prove that the person violated misdemeanor DUI provisions when the person has refused an officer’s request to submit to a blood test or has failed to complete one.
Emergency Exits for Limousines
A new law requires that every limousine that has been modified or extended to accommodate additional passengers must have two rear doors and at least one rear emergency window that is removable from inside of the vehicle.
If these modifications occurred on or after July 2015, the new requirements apply immediately after July 1, 2015. Also, any new limousine manufactured after Jan. 1 2015 must meet the law’s requirements.