10 Interesting New State Laws for 2012

Registering to vote online, latitude for craft beer makers and banning the sale of shark fins completes this list of 10 interesting new laws.

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.

-Patch Staff

Jeff Mark January 02, 2012 at 09:36 PM
#5 bothers me. Are we going to have to show ID and sign our names to buy cough medicine now, like we do with pseudophedrine? I don't know what imaginary crisis this law is supposed to remedy, but I doubt that it will.
Jeff Mark January 02, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Also, apparently, it's no longer permitted to get a credit check on a employment applicants: http://alisoviejo.patch.com/articles/list-of-new-california-laws-for-2012 I always thought that was baloney anyway; but apparently, with few exceptions, you can ask an employment applicant almost anything about their personal life, even demand the submission of personal body fluids.
Alana Dill January 02, 2012 at 10:57 PM
http://www.dxmstories.com/dxm_abuse.html Dextromethorphan is being abused, mostly it seems by teens, and it's been a little too easy-to-acquire. Showing an ID for alcohol has helped decrease its sale to minors. Proof of age for other intoxicants shouldn't be too much of a hardship.
Jeff Mark January 03, 2012 at 12:30 AM
It sounds like the answer is yes we will have to show ID. Perhaps it doesn't bother you. You're entitled, but it brings out the Ron Paul supporter in me. How much inconvenience must otherwise-law-abiding adults put up with in an attempt to keep stupid kids (or stupid adults, for that matter) from doing stupid things? Mass market items like alcohol and tobacco are in an entirely different class than things like cough suppressants and decongestants.
Jaan Carter January 04, 2012 at 01:18 AM
It concerns me that inmates can now be forced to work for the government (SB 608), and that if someone is deemed "incompetent" they can now be forcibly medicated (AB 366)... I hope the latter has latitude for a second and third opinion on the incompetency diagnosis, otherwise there will surely be a LOT of "incompetence" suddenly popping up and then being silenced with drugs. And as far as showing ID to buy a rather dangerous drug (just use hot water, honey, and lemon) for a cough medicine, it seems just a tad bizarre to be driven to Ron Paul over it.


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