New year, new laws

By From page A1 | January 07, 2013

With the new years comes new laws taking effect. With nearly 900 new laws signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, here are some of the more interesting, helpful or controversial laws.

SB 1221 affects hunters in that it bans the use of hounds in hunting bears and bobcats.

Related to firearms, AB 1527 prohibits the carrying of of an unloaded gun other than handguns in public areas or streets. Peace officers — current and honorably retired — and security guards, licensed hunters currently hunting, those purchasing guns from a retailer and those having guns in their own home are exempt from the misdemeanor crime.

On the matter of hunting and fishing, SB 1287 and SB 1288 will now allow for reduced hunting license fees for active military personnel recovering from injuries.

In an effort to combat picketing funerals, such as by the Westboro Baptist Church, famous for picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers, SB 661 has made it a crime punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in a county jail for picketing funerals an hour before or after the funeral.

Of interest to the younger generations, SB 1349, introduced by tech-savvy Senator Leland Yee and co-authored by Assemblywoman Nora Campos, prohibits universities from requiring personal information about social networks such as Facebook or Twitter of potential or current students or student groups. A similar bill, AB 1844, introduced by Campos and co-authored by Yee, puts the same restrictions on employers.

Another technology-related new law comes from AB 1708, which allows for motorists to provide electronic proof of insurance. In this way, should a motorist become involved in an accident or be pulled over for a violation, they can provide proof of insurance through a smart phone. Traditional proof of insurance papers will still be provided by insurance companies.

With AB 2348 in place, registered nurses no longer need a doctor’s signature to distribute birth control. The woman will, however, how to go through a health exam, but will not need to see a doctor.

SB 900 helps homeowners avoid foreclosures. Among the provisions, the bill requires loan lenders to meet in person or speak via telephone to discuss the individual’s financial situation and options. During loan modification, the lender must provide a single contact. The bill also prevents lenders from beginning the foreclosure process while a loan adjustment is being reviewed by the lender. If the adjustment is denied, the mortgage servicer must explain why.

In another effort to help those down on their luck, AB 929 allows debtors to keep their vehicle and any tools related to their profession in an effort to better seek employment.

AB 1964, also known as the Workplace Religious Freedom Law, prevents employers from discriminating against current or potential employees based on religious wear.

Reparative or homosexual conversion therapy for those under the age of 18 was outlawed with SB 1172, the Gay Conversion Therapy Law.

For those looking to add flair to a vintage muscle car or to give a touch of authenticity to a car collector, AB 1658 allows for special license plates “that replicate plates from the state’s past” to be made available for sale. The “legacy” styles have a yellow background with black lettering from 1956 to 1962, the reverse colors from 1965 to 1968 and a blue background with yellow lettering from 1969 to 1986. A new plate will cost $50. The plates will only be made if 7,500 orders are received on or before Jan. 1, 2015.

In response to the self-driving Google Car, SB 1298 allows for the driverless cars to be operated so long as a fully-licensed driver is still behind the wheel. The law also instructs the DMV to create new regulations for the car no later than Jan. 1, 2015.

The Elective Office Felony Conviction law, AB 2410, prevents elected officials who are convicted of felonies violating public trust from running for elected office again.

For more information on these or other bills signed into law, visit

Cole Mayer

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