A new year brings 750-plus new laws for Californians. Here's our pick of 10 interesting laws that go into effect Jan. 1.
1. AB 376, authored by Assemblymen Paul Fong and Jared Huffman, bans the possession, sale and distribution of shark fins.
2. SB 930, authored by Sen. Noreen Evans, changes the procedures for background checks on in-home health aides.
3. AB 366, authored by Assemblyman Michael Allen, facilitates the process of involuntarily medicating dangerous patients held in state mental hospitals because they have been deemed incompetent to stand trial in county courts.
4. AB 42, authored by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, provides authority for the state Department of Parks and Recreation to enter into operating agreements with nonprofit organizations in order to avoid or minimize state park closures resulting from California’s fiscal crisis.
5. SB 514, authored by Sen. Joe Simitian, prevents minors from purchasing dextromethorphan (DXM), which is commonly found in over-the-counter cough medicine.
6. SB 15, authored by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, requires the state government to have a multi-year budget rather than annual.
7. AB 1014, authored by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, exempts brewers from California Retail Food Code requirements and allows for craft beer makers to open tasting rooms if food is not served.
8. AB 188, authored by Assemblyman Marty Block, makes a 100 percent disabled veterans’ property tax exemption available to the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran or service member killed on active duty, allowing them to continue to receive the property tax exemption (up to a described level) on their home, even if they need to enter an assisted living facility.
9. SB 608, authored by Mark DeSaulnier, allows for inmate-produced goods to be sold to nonprofit organizations that support public school students and government agencies.
10. SB 397, authored by Sen. Leland Yee, allows Californians to register to vote online. The measure requires the county elections office to use the voter's signature from the Department of Motor Vehicles to verify its authenticity.