(Note: This part one Times report highlights five of ten laws to be featured; next week's Jan. 8 edition will include part two with five more California laws arriving in 2020.)
With the New Year comes new 2020 California laws for residents, families, businesses, and the Blythe community at-large to be aware of.
A bevy of laws go into effect today, Jan. 1, following California Gov. Gavin Newsom's signature in 2019. Here are five pieces of legislation highlighted to keep in mind going into the new year.
Reporting sexual abuse – Statute of limitation extension for survivors (AB 218)
Approved by Newsom on Oct. 13 – and authored by 80th District California Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego – Assembly Bill (AB) 218 provides victims and survivors of child sexual abuse a window for justice by extending the laws' statute of limitations. Under AB 218, victims will have until the age of 40 to bring litigation against their abusers (to include individuals, religious institutions, public entities, et. al.); additionally, for those over the age of 40, the law will offer a three-year window (beginning Jan. 1, 2020) to file according lawsuits. The previous California statute limited such actions by victims to the age of 26.
"The idea that someone who is assaulted as a child can actually run out of time to report that abuse is outrageous,” stated Gonzalez following AB 218's 62-0 concurrence vote in the assembly. “More and more, we’re hearing about people who were victims years ago but were not ready to come forward to tell their story until now. We shouldn’t be telling victims their time is up when in reality we need them to come forward to protect the community from future abuse.”
Domestic violence – Statute of limitation prosecution extension (SB 273)
Signed into law on Oct. 7 by Newsom – and authored by California 22nd District Senator Susan Rubio – Senate Bill (SB) 273 provides officials a five-year window, versus the previous three, to prosecute domestic violence cases committed on or after Jan. 1, 2020. "(A)nd to crimes for which the statute of limitations that was in effect prior to January 1, 2020, has not run as of (Jan.) 1, 2020," states SB 273.
Following Newsom's signature, Rubio stated in a press release:
"As a domestic violence survivor, I know it takes time to heal and hopefully this extension gives victims enough time before they have to seek justice (...) As I’ve said many times, the legal system surrounding domestic violence is flawed and still designed to protect abusers. To all the victims out there struggling – I hear you, I believe you, and I will continue to advocate for you.”
Banned – Smoking at California state parks, beaches (SB 8)
Starting Jan. 1, smoking at designated California state parks and beaches will be punishable by a fine up to $25 per SB 8 as signed by Newsom on Oct. 11.
"This prohibition does not apply to paved roadways or parking facilities of a state beach or unit of the state park system," states SB 8.
The bill was authored by California 7th District Sen. Steve Glazer.
Minimum wage increase – From $11 to $12; $12 to $13 (SB 3)
In accordance to SB 3, which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016, California's minimum wage increase will continue in 2020, raising the rate for employers with 25 employees or less from $11 per hour to $12; and employers with 26 employees or more from $12 to $13.
The annual increment minimum wage rate schedule, which began in 2017, increases a dollar every year for both categories of employers capping at $15 per hour for the former in 2023, and the latter in 2022, per the California Department of Industrial Relations.
One gun a month – 30 day wait per for Californians (SB 61)
Signed into law by Newsom on Oct. 11, SB 61 will prohibit the purchase of a firearm – applicable to "semiautomatic centerfire rifles" – by persons within a same 30-day period in the state of California beginning July 1, 2020.
"Existing law, subject to exceptions, prohibits a person from making more than one application to purchase a handgun within any 30-day period. A violation of that prohibition is a crime. Existing law prohibits a firearms dealer from delivering a handgun to a person whenever the dealer is notified by the Department of Justice that within the preceding 30-day period the purchaser has made another application to purchase a handgun that does not fall within an exception to the 30-day prohibition. A violation of that delivery prohibition by the dealer is a crime," states SB 61.
Some of the noted exceptions includes law enforcement, correctional facilities, licensed private security firms, motion picture companies, et. al. (see Section 4 and 5 of SB 61).