by. Caleb Lunetta
Among the new laws that will come into effect in 2018, Proposition 64, the approval by California voters in 2016 to permit the recreational use of marijuana, will begin taking full effect at the beginning of next year.
“Beginning January 1, the possession, transportation and sharing of up to an ounce of (marijuana) will be legalized,” said Hacker. “Additionally, someone may be able to grow as many as six plants at home to be used recreationally.”
Hacker also noted that while the City of Santa Clarita will continue to prevent commercial property use of marijuana sales, the city will not be able to prevent people from growing cannabis within their own home.
In addition to these marijuana provisions being enacted statewide, new provisions were adopted for 2018 through Proposition 63 that will limit the sale of firearm ammunition within the state.
Californians who want to buy ammunition online or through catalogs will have to ship their purchases through a licensed dealer. And for the first time, state residents will have to undergo a background check when buying ammunition.
“Starting next year, ammunition sales or transfers must be made through a person that is licensed by the Department of Justice,” said Hacker. “You will not be able to import ammunition from out of state until it has gone through one of these licensed vendors.”
Furthermore, Proposition 63 laid out new rules regarding a mandatory and enforceable process for criminal offenders to give up their firearms upon their conviction.
Defendants convicted of firearm-prohibiting crimes — such as felonies or misdemeanors involving violence, domestic abuse or illegal weapon use — must provide proof that they sold or transferred their firearms within specified time periods after conviction, according to a news release from the Lt. Governor Harry Gavin Newsom’s office.
The news release continued, “Probation officers and courts must verify that the defendant complied with this requirement before final disposition of the defendant’s case and shall take further enforcement action to recover firearms from offenders who fail to do so.”
Hacker went on to say that the biggest changes Santa Clarita residents can expect to see in terms of new laws in 2018 are the changes between employees and employers.
“The AB 1008, or the ‘Ban the Box’ law, will be coming into effect where employers with five or more employees cannot ask a potential hire about their criminal history until a conditional offer of employment has been made,” said Hacker.
In essence, criminal history cannot be asked about until an employer has offered a potential hire a job. Only then can the employer inform the individual that they would like to run a background check.
Additionally, there is new legislation that requires employers with 20 or more employees to allow for unpaid time off when the employee has a new child at home, regardless of gender.
“Employees at these companies will now have ‘leave for new paternity,’ meaning that employees who are eligible can apply for unpaid time off if there is a new baby at home,” said Hacker. “Also, the law does not discriminate on the basis of gender, and your job will be protected (during the paternity leave).”
Furthermore, new legislation “beefed up” laws regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, and how investigations into employers can be run, according to Hacker.
“The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide at least two hours of prescribed training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees within six months of their assumption of a supervisory position and once every two years, as specified,” reads the new legislation. “This bill would additionally require employers with 50 or more employees to include, as a component of that prescribed training and education for supervisors, training inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.”
Furthermore, permissions were granted to the Labor Commissioner’s Office to better address retaliation claims filed by employees against employers.
“The Labor Commissioner generally handles unfair employment practices, and the office is now allowed to investigate employers without complaint from employee,” said Hacker. “They can obtain a court order to prevent the firing or disciplining (of an) employee before the conclusion of their investigation. And they can fine an employer $100 a day for willful refusal to restore an employee.”
The DMV also passed a number of new laws that affect “passenger-for-hire” drivers, such as Lyft and Uber, seatbelts on public transportation and the use of marijuana while operating a vehicle.
A summation of the new DMV laws can be found on their website by clicking here.