New Laws - 2015

By Jeremy B. White
jwhite@sacbee.com
12/31/2014 11:23 PM

Making resolutions, unwrapping new calendars and preparing to obey a stack of new laws: all regular January traditions in California, where the ever-busy Legislature sent Gov. Jerry Brown 1,074 measures in 2014.

Of the 930 that Brown signed, some were specific, district-focused bills or technical cleanup measures; others don’t kick in for a while. What follows is a selective list of the important or hard-fought measures that are now the law of the land.

IMMIGRANT LICENSES

AB 60 was actually signed in 2013, but immigrants in California illegally will be able to start receiving licenses on Friday, provided they obtain insurance and pass written and road tests. The California Department of Motor Vehicles has been busy throughout 2014 coming up with a license design, which the federal government initially rejected, and preparing for up to 1.4 million new customers.

CHICKENS AND EGGS

Thanks to 2008’s Proposition 2 and the followup AB 1437 (back in 2010), every egg laid or sold in California must come from a hen with enough space to stand up, turn around and stretch its wings. Despite the years-long gap between the laws passing and taking effect, questions persist about what exactly farmers must do.

IDENTIFYING CONTRACTORS

SB 556 is the latest iteration of an idea attempted multiple times before passing in 2014. It requires subcontractors working for public health and safety agencies – for example, emergency medical or fire services – to have their uniforms or vehicles clearly state they are contractors, provided they also want to use the logo of the agency they’re working for.

SUBCONTRACTING LIABILITY

Another bill taking aim at labor contractors is AB 1897. The measure’s union backers argue that corporations increasingly rely on contractors to lower costs and dodge accountability; under this law, large parent companies can face legal liability if their subcontractors fail to pay wages or provide workers’ compensation for injuries on the job.

MASSAGE PARLORS

Local officials and law enforcement traced an explosion in the number of massage parlors to a 2008 law giving a nonprofit authority to oversee the industry. AB 1147 restores local government’s ability to control massage parlors and limit their numbers via land-use rules.

FOOTBALL PRACTICE

With concern about head injuries in football mounting, AB 2127 seeks to protect young players by limiting high schools to two full-contact practices a week during the 2015 season and beyond.

EPINEPHRINE INJECTORS

SB 1266 seeks to guard against dangerous allergic reactions in schoolchildren by requiring every school in California to stock at least one epinephrine auto-injector. Teachers and other non-nurse school employees will be able to use them as long as they’ve received proper training.

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