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Politics

New Laws To Take Effect In California

Traffic on a San Diego freeway is shown in this file photo, Nov. 22, 2011.
Associated Press
Traffic on a San Diego freeway is shown in this file photo, Nov. 22, 2011.
New California Laws 2018
New California Laws 2018 GUEST: Ben Bradford, reporter, Capital Public Radio

This is one of the many changes to California laws this year. Been Bradford spoke with Midday Edition host Maureen Cavanaugh about new loss. >> Welcome to the program. >> Thank you for having me. >> Californians over the age of 21 could begin buying recreational marijuana legally that besides the age limit, what are the other stipulations for people who want to take advantage of the new law ask >> Right with proposition 64, use of marijuana became legal immediately as soon as it went into effect. It's really the business side. Businesses that want to sell or grow for recreational use have to get the okay from cities or counties in addition to getting, temporary licenses from the state. Most of the cities including San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland -- are allowing businesses to operate in their limit so they can get the okay. There's this temporary licensing procedure businesses have to go through. Then there's a more comprehensive procedure that will take effect later this year that is still being developed. That will require businesses to get annual licenses that can cost $1000 per year. >> For people who have purchased marijuana legally and are wanting to take it home and writing in their -- writing in their cars, there is another law they should know about. Kind of an open container law for marijuana. What does it require when people who purchase marijuana are transporting it? >> It's essentially the same thing we have now with open container laws for alcohol. Which means if you have marijuana in your car, it has to be sealed. If the seal has been broken, then it has to be in the trunk. This is in addition to a law already on the books that makes stoned driving, driving under the influence, illegal in the same way that driving under the influence of alcohol is a legal. >> How is the open container law for marijuana going to be enforced? Payment law enforcement says -- >> If they see someone smoking electronic cigarette or a cigarette in the car, they won't pull them over on suspicion of smoking marijuana illegally while driving. This is the third of -- the sort of thing, if they see someone drinking out of a can, they don't typically pull them over. But if there's a traffic stop, they would inspect and there would be a $70 fine if someone is breaking the open container law. This is in addition to the driving under the influence laws already on the books. Which are complicated when it comes to marijuana because there isn't a good test for whether someone is driving under the influence the way there is with a breathalyzer for alcohol. >> Let's move on to the increase in minimum wage. Increased as of January 1, what are the details? >> It's $11 per hour for most businesses and $10.50 for small businesses under the 2016 law signed by the governor. It will increase annually by one dollar through 2022 and ultimately the minimum wage is $15 per hour. >> The minimum wage in the city of San Diego is already ahead of the state minimum wage. It is $11.50 per hour. That one increase until January 2019. How much of the state won't move the city of -- how much will be affected by the state minimum wage increase? >> Most of the major cities in California already have their own minimum wage laws. But smaller areas and towns along the Central Valley in those places the robot -- relying on the state minimum wage law will be the most affected. >> There are two other laws that affect family leave and disability benefits in California. What is changing there? >> When it comes to unpaid family leave, there is requirement on the books for companies with 50 or more employees that employers have to give when people have new children, 12 weeks of unpaid family leave. Now the requirement is getting extended for not just companies with 50 or more employees, but now 20 or more. Even smaller businesses. The other one is that California workers will receive more money from the state and they take time off to care for relatives or children or themselves under another new law. Workers in previous years could receive 55% of their pay for up to six weeks. That Israel -- that is now rising to 70% for low-wage workers in that comes from pay whole role -- payroll withholdings. >> Car registration is part of the gas tax increase legislation that passed in the Sacramento. The cost of car registration is increasing. How much and what is it for? >> The fees will range from $25 to $175. It's added to the vehicle registration fee. It depends on the value of the vehicle between $25 or $50. If the cars value is under $20,000. It goes up from there. I believe cars worth more than $60,000, that is the $175 fee. This is part of this big transportation package that lawmakers agreed to earlier this year. Is likely going to come up on the ballot whether voters want to keep it. The most prominent piece of the package was raising the gas tax which polls have shown is a relatively unpopular measure among voters. >> Remind us what the additional money will be used for. >> This is for the backlog of road, bridge and freeway maintenance that California has not been able to keep up with. The current estimate is $130 billion in deferred maintenance. >> I have been speaking with Ben Bradford. Thank you. >> Thanks a lot.

With the new year one week away, the California Department of Motor Vehicles is reminding voters about new traffic laws taking effect in 2018.

Due to a change in the road maintenance and rehabilitation program, the cost of operating a vehicle in the state is set to rise. The program adds a fee to those registering their vehicles or renewing their registration. Fees range from $25 to $175 depending on the market value of the vehicle.

Widespread new laws address numerous issues. Among them:

— Cannabis in Vehicles: Prohibits smoking or ingesting marijuana or marijuana products while driving or riding as a vehicle passenger;

— Buses and Seatbelts: Effective July 1, 2018, a passenger on a bus equipped with seat belts will be required to be properly restrained by a safety belt. This law also prohibits children between 8 and 16 years of age from being transported on a bus, unless properly restrained by a safety belt or child passenger restraint system that meets federal safety standards;

— DUI: Passenger for Hire: Beginning July 1, 2018, it will be unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more when a passenger for hire is in the vehicle at the time of the offense;

— Parking Violations for Registration or Driver License Renewal: Creates a process for low-income Californians with outstanding parking violations to repay their fines and penalties prior to the parking violation being reported to the DMV. It also allows for someone with outstanding parking penalties and fees to obtain or renew a driver license;

— Disabled Person Parking Placards and Plates: Makes changes to the administration of the Disabled Person Parking Placard and Disabled Person License Plate Program, including requiring applicants to provide proof of true full name and birthdate. The law also will limit the number of replacement disabled person parking placards an applicant can request without obtaining a medical certification to four in two years;

— Motorcycle Training Courses: Authorizes the DMV to accept a certificate of satisfactory completion of any motorcyclist-training program approved by the CHP in lieu of the required motorcycle skills test. Applicants for an original motorcycle license or motorcycle endorsement under 21 years of age continue to be required to complete a novice motorcyclist-training program;

— Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program: Beginning January 1, 2018, the DMV is required to begin collecting at the time of registration or renewal the Transportation Improvement Fee (TIF) ranging from $25-$175, based on the current value of the vehicle.