A few things not to do in 2007
Our legislators, especially the Democrats, have been busy passing new laws. Most took effect Jan. 1, 2007. The Governor vetoed 261 and approved 910.We have new statutes to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, to lower drug prices for the uninsured, and to promote competition in the cable television field. Hopefully, the greenhouse emission reduction bill will set the standard for other states and Congress. Here are a few new laws of interest. 60-Day notice to tenantA new law, an extension of a recent law, requires landlords in month-to-month tenancies to give the tenant at least 60-days notice prior to terminating the tenancy; however, if any tenant has resided in the dwelling for less than one year, the usual 30-day notice is adequate. Tenants need only give landlords a 30-day notice to terminate month-to-month tenancies. BB gunsBB guns and pellet guns are now included in the genre of firearms, which if used in a grossly negligent manner may result in a jail term or prison sentence. I still have my childhood BB gun. Graffiti and vandalismIf a person is convicted of graffiti or vandalism, he or she may have his/ her drivers license suspended for two years, or if the person convicted doesnt yet have a license, he or she may have driving privileges postponed for up to three years. They should also make them paint public buildings, but thats not part of the bill. Tethering dogsWith specific exceptions, a new bill prohibits anyone from tethering, fastening, chaining, tying, or restraining a dog to a doghouse, tree, fence, or other stationary object. Wow.However, you may attach a dog to a running line but not by means of a choke collar; you may tether pursuant to the requirements of camping or recreation areas; tethering is OK if necessary to complete a temporary task that requires the dog be restrained but not to exceed three hours… Fines range up to $1,000 for each dog and/ or up to six months jail time. Animal left in carIt is a crime to leave an animal in any unattended automobile under conditions that endanger its well-being…Speed contestIf you injure or kill a person while engaging in an auto speed contest, you may be fined up to $1,000 and go to jail for up to six months. It should be more.Ride in the trunkIt is now an infraction to knowingly permit a person to ride in the trunk of your vehicle. Good thing this law wasnt in effect when I was in high school when we would drive the car into the drive-in with three friends in the trunk trying to save $2.Recycling plastic bagsAs of July 1, 2007, supermarkets and large drug stores must provide an opportunity for customers to return clean plastic carryout bags to the store. The bill requires the following notice on the bag: PLEASE RETURN TO A PARTICIPATING STORE FOR RECYCLING. Stores must have plastic carryout bag collection bins for recycling. Minimum wageAs many of you know, Senate Bill 1835 was approved by the Governor which raises the California minimum wage to $7.50 an hour, above the $5.15 federal minimum.Development feesWhen a municipality imposes a fee on a development project as a condition of approval, it may not include costs attributable to existing public facility deficiencies (e.g. roads) but may include costs for the increased demand for public facilities reasonably related to the development. Eminent domainAs a result of the U.S. Supreme Court Kelo decision, all sorts of new bills were enacted making it more difficult for municipalities to condemn private property for public use. The necessary finding of a blighted area is even more rigorous. Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon, with offices in Truckee, South Lake Tahoe and Reno. He may be reached at email@example.com or at the firms Web site http://www.portersimon.com.