Jim Porter: More new California laws for 2017 (opinion)
January 21, 2017
Here is another handful of the 898 new laws passed for 2017 in California. If you missed last week's breakdown, just click here. I promise I won't write about all of them.
Ballot Selfies: In my mind, one of the more stupid things a voter can do is take a selfie of his/her ballot and send it out to the world; however stupid acts deserve stupid laws, thus Assembly Bill 1494, in response to an ACLU lawsuit, now allows all of you crazies to snap pictures of your filled-out ballot and post it wherever you like. Really?
Date Rape Drugs: In response to Prop 47's downgrading many drug possession charges to misdemeanors, Senate Bill 1182 allows prosecutors to pursue felony charges for people who possess drugs like ketamine, GHB and flunitrazepam if it's proved there's an intent to commit a sexual assault. Date rape druggers deserve prison sentences.
Gun Loans: There's a pile of new laws regarding guns and gun safety, including AB 1511 which outlaws most gun loans with exceptions for hunting guides and loans to some family members. More on gun laws and how to buy and sell guns in California in future columns.
Wireless While Driving: DMV statistics reveal hundreds of injuries and at least 12 deadly crashes in 2016 from distracted driving with hand-held cell phones. Existing law prohibits using electronic wireless communications in vehicles unless it's hands-free. Much touted AB 1785 authorizes a driver to operate a hand-held wireless phone or communications device with the motion of only a single swipe or tap of the driver's finger provided the device is mounted on the vehicle's dashboard or center console such that it does not hinder the driver's view of the road. (Section 23123.5 of the Vehicle Code.) And by the way, if you send or receive a text and take your eyes off the road for five seconds at 55 miles per hour, that's the length of a football field. Don't do it.
Right-to-Try a Drug: AB 1668 is aimed at Californians who are on the verge of death and running out of options. It allows drug manufacturers to make available treatments that have not been fully approved by the FDA with certain restrictions including approval from two different physicians.
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Child Safety Seats: AB 53 now requires kids under the age of two to be fastened into rear-facing child safety seats; however, there's an exception for kids who weigh 40 pounds or are at least 40 inches tall. Children under the age of eight must ride in the back seat.
Same Day Voter Registration: California is forever trying to make it easier to vote, so now we can register to vote on Election Day at county election headquarters. Current law cuts off registration 15 days before Election Day.
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee, Tahoe City and Reno. Jim's practice areas include: development, construction, business, HOAs, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.portersimon.com.
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