Darn it, California, you just keep making us godless liberals out here in flyover land love you, even though we don’t want to live in any damn California. But just look at some of the nifty new laws that went into effect in the Golden State as of January 1 while some of us spent the day oversleeping and finally watching Black Mirror on Netflix (OMG the one with the pig!).
Everyone Is A Common Jazz
The biggie, of course, is the legalization of recreational marijuana, passed by initiative in 2016. The law won’t result in legal-weed stores on every corner just yet, since businesses have to apply for licenses, but the state’s official cannabis website — cannabis.ca.gov (the Freak Brothers just plotzed) — notes that 400 businesses have already received temporary operating licenses statewide. But no drive-through toking: The state has also prohibited, subject to a fine, the use of cannabis for both drivers and passengers in vehicles. Ken Kesey’s bus is seriously bummed. Regarding today’s little contretemps with Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (vomit), back in May, California AG Xavier Becerra promised, “I would love to see Jeff Sessions come to California and tell us we’re not going to move forward on cannabis. Something tells me that it’s not gonna happen. I’ll probably be the 1 millionth person in line to fight Jeff Sessions on that.”
Good news for workers, too: For businesses with more than 25 employees, the minimum wage is going up to $11 an hour; smaller businesses will still pay $10.50 an hour. That’s a raise for more than two million workers in the state! The minimum wage is set to go up in $1 an hour increments every year until it reaches $15 an hour in 2022, but if job growth turns negative, the governor has the option to stop the increase.
Also, when you’re applying for a job, employers can’t ask your salary history anymore, a measure aimed at reducing the wage gap between men and women. Employers, on the other hand, will have to disclose pay scales for a given job if an applicant asks.
The state has also upped the availability of family leave: Workers can take up to 12 weeks of parental leave. It’s unpaid, but you won’t lose your health insurance while on leave.
Fuck You Trump, Cali Loves Immigrants
The state’s new sanctuary law restricts how much state and local cops can cooperate with La Migra. Cops won’t be allowed to ask people about their immigration status, and can only hold people for ICE agents if they’ve been convicted of a crime. Another law prohibits landlords from narcing on tenants who are undocumented, or threatening to do so. Workplace raids will require a warrant and employees will have to be given 72 hours notice.
Is Our Children Learning?
Schools will be forbidden from denying lunch to kids who can’t afford it. Give Everybody Eat!
Gals in grades 6 to 12 will be provided free tampons and sanitary supplies at school, and boys will just have to feel jealous that they don’t menstruate. Go read Gloria Steinem, lads.
And the first step toward free college for all in-state students is kicking in, with a waiver of fees for first-time students enrolling full-time at community colleges.
Ammunition sales must be completed in person at a licensed dealer. Online sales will be allowed, but the ammo has to be shipped to a licensed vendor and picked up there.
A 2016 policy that let school administrators decide whether employees could carry licensed concealed weapons on campus has been revoked, and now no firearms will be allowed in any public school. Get ready for the NRA to go apeshit.
Just Nice Stuff
To cut down on puppy and kitten mills, pet stores can only sell cats, dogs, and rabbits that are rescue animals. Betta fish and guppies don’t have to come from shelters, however.
New and renovated public buildings must have baby-changing tables in both men’s and women’s restrooms.
Driver’s licenses and birth certificates will no longer require a listing of “male” or “female.” And starting in 2019, driver’s licenses will offer “nonbinary” as an option — but no answer will be just as good if you want.
Protections for LGBTQ folks in nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been strengthened. No discrimination in admissions or evictions, and care workers must respect residents’ preferred name and gender pronouns.
To make getting a safe ride home easier, the state will allow alcohol companies and bars to team up with ride share services and taxis to provide vouchers or promo codes for free or discounted rides.
And in a move aimed at reducing the petty tyranny of asshole cops trying to meet quotas, pedestrians can’t be charged with jaywalking anymore for entering a crosswalk while the flashing hand or countdown signal is showing.
Fine, California. But Idaho still has the smartest law when it comes to bicycles at stoplights and stop signs, so there.