Jim Porter: More new laws in 2013

Jim Porter
Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. – Following up on last week’s sampling of laws for the new year, here are a few more.

• Unloaded Rifles: It is now unlawful to carry unloaded rifles on city streets except for people engaged in hunting, target shooting, parades, licensed gun shows, firearm sales or other similar activities. Before January 2012, it was lawful in California to carry an unloaded pistol in plain view, but no more. Just to fire some of you up, I know it’s lawful in some states to buy a so-called assault rifle without any waiting period or mental health screening.

• TV Ads: Under a new Federal Trade Commission regulation, it is now unlawful to have television ads louder than the program itself. I love that.

• Mammography Insurance: AB 137 requires health insurance policies to cover mammographies for screening or diagnostic purposes upon referral by doctors or other health care practitioners.

• Digital Textbooks: Two new bills open up the door for producing digital textbooks for 50 of the most widely taken lower-division courses in California colleges and universities – when money is available. That may be awhile.

• Education: Sticking to the education theme, a new bill de-emphasizes standardized tests in evaluating public schools and requires other factors such as graduation rates and college-going rates to be used in calculating a school’s Academic Performance Index. Interesting.

• Online Rent: A new law prohibits landlords from requiring online payments.

• Foreclosures: A series of new laws substantially expand homeowner rights regarding foreclosures. Details in a future column.

• ADA: Significant changes have been made to California’s ADA laws in an effort to prohibit “shakedown” suits. More on that later.

• Hands-Free Texting: A new bill allows drivers to send or listen to text messages with a hands-free device. “Take over Siri, I’ll be napping.”

• Sexual Orientation: SB 1172 prohibits therapy on homosexual or other minors that attempts to alter their sexual orientation. There must be a story there.

• Grooming at Work: A new law bans discrimination based on religious dress or grooming, so for example Sikhs’ turbans must be allowed.

• Undocumented Drivers: A new law allows undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses, specifically those in the federal Deferred Action Program.

• Fish and Wildlife: A bunch of new laws were passed making changes to the California Department of Fish and Game, including the name has been changed to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

• Proof of Insurance: You can now show proof of car insurance with your cell phone.

• Drinking on Buses: AB 45 holds party bus operators to the same standards as limousine drivers, making them legally responsible for drinking by under-aged passengers. I suppose that means for injuries they cause after the bus ride.

• Urine Test: AB 2020, which I have not yet read, apparently takes away the option of a urine test when you’re stopped for a suspected DUI.

• New Employment Laws: The Democratic Legislature passed all sorts of pro-employee laws this year, although Governor Brown thankfully vetoed a bill that would have required overtime pay and meal and rest break protections for domestic workers. Here are the Assembly and Senate Bill numbers if you are interested: AB 1396, AB 2675, AB 2103, AB 1844, AB 2674, AB 1744, AB 1606, AB 1964, AB 2386, AB 2343, SB 1234, SB 923 and SB 1255.

• Silver Alert: Here’s one that’s right up my alley. We now have not only an Amber Alert but a Silver Alert system for missing people over 65-years-old. I may be missing some of my marbles, but I am not missing.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. He was the Governor’s appointee to the California Fair Political Practices Commission and McPherson Commission, both involving election law and the Political Reform Act. Jim’s practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOAs, contracts, foreclosures, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at or at the firm’s website

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