Jim Porter: More new laws for California in 2016

Jim Porter
Special to the Sun

Here’s a look at a slew of more new laws for 2016 in the state of California.

Mandatory Vaccinations

You’ve read plenty about this new law but as of January 1st vaccinations for K-12 students are mandatory, no longer is there an exemption based on personal belief. Exemptions for children with serious health issues remain.

Equal Pay for Women

Under Senate Bill 358, employers are prohibited from paying any of their employee’s salaries less than those paid to employees of the opposite sex for “substantially similar work.” As it should be. This new law also allows employees to talk about their salary and ask about the salary of others without facing disciplinary action by their employer.

Child Safety Seats

Starting January 1, 2017, children under two years of age must ride rear-facing in an appropriate child passenger safety seat. Children 40 or more pounds or standing 40 or more inches tall are exempt. California law continues to require that all children eight years of age or younger be properly restrained in an appropriate child safety seat in the backseat of the vehicle.

Guns Seized

Under Assembly Bill 1014, firearms may be taken away “for safekeeping” if a judge deems a person is at risk for violence. Close family members and law enforcement will be able to seek a Gun Violence Restraining Order, which would then remain in place for up to a year.

Automatic Registration to Vote

This has to be a Democrat-sponsored bill, but in any event, AB 1461 automatically registers driver’s license and identification applicants at DMV who are eligible to vote. The program will register every voting-eligible resident who applies for or renews a driver’s license or ID card at the DMV, with the ability to opt out. This has the potential of adding millions of new registered voters to California’s voter rolls.

Party Beer Bikes

Popular Midtown Sacramento has generated the latest in convenience for drinking beer: the Party Bike, a wooden bar on wheels, surrounded by bike seats pedaled by beer drinkers on both sides of the bar. The new legislation authorizes municipalities to pass enabling laws.

Craft Beers at Farmers’ Markets

In yet another beer drinking law, craft brew makers are now able to sell their delicious beers at farmers markets. Samples may not exceed eight ounces. I like it.

Uber Losing Court Cases

We’ve written about the lawsuits against Uber and Lyft drivers being misclassified by Uber and Lyft as independent contractors and not employees, thus not entitled to worker’s compensation, disability, overtime and the like.

The federal case against Uber was just certified as a class action. The California Labor Commissioner previously ruled that an Uber driver was indeed an employee. You will be reading more about these cases. Under AB 1422, ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft must be part of DMV’s system for regularly checking drivers’ driving records. Makes sense.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee, Tahoe City and Reno. He may be reached at or

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