New Laws for 2015

The dogs-on-restaurant-patios bill was one of 931 that California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in 2014 and most take effect Thursday, January 1, 2015. Below are a few of the those new laws.

Dogs Allowed: Under AB1965, whether to allow dogs into restaurants is left to individual restaurant owners, and local jurisdictions retain the ability to prohibit the practice or add restrictions. Conditions that must be met include having a separate patio entrance that does not require walking through the enclosed restaurant; keeping all dogs on a leash and not allowing them on chairs or benches; not using the patio to prepare food or drinks; and not allowing restaurant food staff to make direct contact with the pets.

Ban on plastic bags: SB270 requires that, effective July 1, supermarkets and large pharmacies not distribute single-use plastic bags. Customers will be encouraged to use reusable cloth bags but will be able to purchase paper bags at a cost of at least 10 cents each.

Sexually explicit photos: AB2643 allows someone to file suit for damages against anyone who intentionally or recklessly distributes a sexually explicit photograph, video or recording of another person without his or her consent.

School use of social media: AB 1442 requires a school district that gathers and maintains in its records information about students obtained through social media to limit it to information that pertains directly to school or student safety. Any district considering a program to gather information on students through social media must notify students and parents in advance and provide an opportunity for public comment.

Smartphone kill switches: SB962 requires that, effective July 1, all smartphones sold in California come pre-equipped with theft-deterring technology that enables owners to render the device useless if stolen.

Native American Day: AB1973 establishes a new state holiday, to be known as Native American Day, which will fall annually on the fourth Friday in September.

Affirmative consent: SB967 requires colleges to develop manuals and instructions for students on how sexual activity requires affirmative consent from both parties. It further requires campuses to develop protocols to ensure programs are available to assist and counsel victims of sexual assault.

Helmets and off-road vehicles: AB1835 specifies that adult drivers and passengers of off-road vehicles wear helmets when the vehicle is being operated on public lands. The requirement that children wear helmets continues to apply at all times.

Pet insurance: AB2056 requires that pet insurance policies more clearly disclose details, including coverage limitations and deductibles.

Student loan forgiveness and tax liability: SB1271 specifies that people granted forgiveness of outstanding debt on student loans are not subject to state income taxes on the debt.

Identity cards for the homeless: AB1733 requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a free identification card to any person who can verify his or her status as homeless. The new law requires the person to provide an affidavit from a homeless services provider attesting to his or her status.

Residential care facilities: SB911 prohibits residential care facilities from retaliating against employees who call 911 when residents need urgent care.

Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year in 2015!!

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