As the new year has turned the corner, hundreds of new bills in 2018 by the state legislature substantially affect not only workplace rules but mandates how motorists must comply, sexual harassment guidelines, and a law to cut down on waste.
As noted in a press alert by the California Highway Patrol, it is the mission of law enforcement to provide utmost safety by highlighting the new laws.
Possibly most significant are minimum wage increases. Senate Bill 3 assures workers in companies with 25 or fewer employees have a salary increase from $10.50 to $11 per hour. For companies with 25 or more the increase is from $11 to $12 an hour. The law passed in 2016 and continues until the minimum wage reaches $15.
Assembly Bill 1066 boosts pay for agricultural workers. Currently, California requires overtime for farm employees after 10 hours per day and 60 hours per week. For employers with more than 25 employees, AB 1066 gradually changes the law over a four-year period beginning in 2019, which requires overtime (time and a half) for 9.5 hours/day and 55 hours/week, in 2020, for nine hours/day and 50 hours/week, in 2021, for 8.5 hours/day and 45 hours /week and in 2022, for more than eight hours/day and 40 hours/week.
Senate Bill 946 now protects street vendors to sell on the street yet local authorities retain power to pass rules regarding health and public welfare. Similarly, AB 626 allows counties and cities to regulate home-made foods produced in residences.
Benefits will be guaranteed by AB 2587 to provide paid family leave for employees requiring time off to care for a seriously ill child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse or domestic partner. It includes parents with newborns.
New mothers have protection under AB 1976, requiring employers to provide lactation accommodation for those who desire to breast feed. Employers must provide a room other than a toilet stall (for breast feeding only) in close proximity to the employee’s work area.
Meanwhile, in light of the “Me Too” movement, AB 2770 defends victims of sexual harassment and employers from being sued for defamation by the alleged harasser while the employer conducts an internal investigation.
Similarly, AB 1300 declares that a sexual harassment plaintiff need not prove that his or her productivity declined as a result of harassment. And, a single incident of harassment is sufficient to create a triable issue if the conduct unreasonably interfered with the plaintiff’s work performance or created a hostile work environment.
New laws were also implemented affecting state roadways. AB 1755 extends hit-and-run provisions. Prior to Jan. 1, cars involved in a collision resulting in an injury or death were required to stop at the scene. That now also includes cyclists who use Class 1 bikeways, paved rights-of-way completely separated from streets; includes paths that are often located along waterfronts, creeks, railroad rights-of-way or freeways with a limited number of cross streets and driveways.
Under AB 1824, excessive exhaust, and engine volume of cars or motorcycles are no longer amended with a fix-it citation but will be subject to a fine. But AB 3077 does allow persons under 18 not wearing a helmet while using a bicycle, scooter or skateboard to avoid a fine by complying with a fix-it ticket that requires bicycle safety course completion and getting a helmet within 120 days.
Focusing on offenders with multiple driving under the influence convictions or a first offender that caused an injury, AB 1046 requires those so identified to install a breathalyzer on the engine ignition for a period of 12 to 48 months.
In addition, AB 2115 requires drivers approaching a waste collection vehicle with amber lights flashing, to move into an adjacent lane and pass at a safe distance, if possible. If it is not possible, divers must slow to a reasonable speed.
In an effort to curb excess material going to land-fills, AB 1884 notes plastic straws are non-recyclable so diners must request restaurant staff to provide a straw if desired and restaurants caught giving out straws without being asked can be fined $300.
Lastly, in regards to Adult Use of Marijuana Act, AB 3067 forbids cannabis businesses from using images of anybody under 21 in advertisements. It also prohibits any website advertising cannabis to be directed at minors or to allow a third party to compile personal information of a minor for the purpose of advertising certain products.