New laws in the new year

Tulare County pilot program to prevent repeat DUI offenders goes statewide

@TheSunGazette

SACRAMENTO – A pilot program to prevent repeat DUI offenders in Tulare County is now statewide law.

As of Jan. 1, 2019, Californians found guilty of driving under the influence will have to temporarily install breathalysers in their vehicles to get their driver’s licenses back. Ignition Interlock Devices (IID) are installed into a vehicle’s dashboard and require the driver to take a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test before the vehicle can be started. If the test shows a BAC of 0.02% or greater, the car will not start.

The statewide punishment is actually the final piece of a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016. Senate Bill (SB) 1046 required DUI offenders in four counties, including Tulare County, to install IIDs on their vehicles for a specified period of time as part of the process to getting a restricted license or their driver’s license reinstated. The length of time the IID is required in the vehicle is based on how many prior DUI convictions the driver has had. The law also states that anyone who attempts to remove, bypass or tamper with the IID will immediately have their license suspended. SB 1046 was the second extension of Assembly Bill (AB) 91, a pilot program that began on July 1, 2010 in Tulare, Alameda, Los Angeles, and Sacramento Counties that was signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009.

Groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) advocated for the extension of the program based on its success rate. From 2010-2015, IID have blocked drunk drivers from starting their vehicles 126,436 times — an average of 1,945 per month, according to a report sponsored by MADD. It’s important to note that these were convicted drunk driving offenders who would have driven impaired again if they had not been stopped by an ignition interlock. IIDs also prevented vehicles from starting another 898,231 times because alcohol was detected on the driver’s breath. In all, interlocks prevented 1,024,667 drinking and driving incidents since July 2010.
The expansion of the DUI law is among hundreds of new laws that took effect in California on Tuesday, Jan. 1.

Traffic

Bicycle hit-and-run on bike path: The provisions of the felony hit-and-run law are extended to cyclists on Class I bikeways (bike paths). Currently, in the California Vehicle Code, a driver involved in a collision resulting in death or injury to another party is required to stop at the scene. AB1755 extends the same vehicle code to Class I bikeways (bike paths) and allows law enforcement to hold individuals accountable for reckless behavior.
Bicycle helmets: Persons under age 18 not wearing a helmet on a bicycle, scooter, skateboard, or skates will receive a “fix-it” ticket under AB3077. A citation is considered non-punitive and correctable if proof that the minor has completed a bicycle safety course and has a helmet that meets safety standards is presented within 120 days to the issuing law enforcement agency.

Helmet use on motorized scooters: Bicycle helmets are no longer required for riders of motorized scooters who are age 18 or older. Under AB2989, Motorized scooters may operate within a Class IV or Class II bikeway and on highways with speed limits lower than 25 miles per hour. Local jurisdictions may pass ordinances to allow motorized scooters on highways with speed limits up to 35 miles per hour. It is still illegal to operate a motorized scooter on a sidewalk.

Vehicle exhaust violations: Fines for excessively loud vehicles and motorcycles are now mandatory under AB 1824. Previously, a driver or motorcyclist cited for modified or excessively loud exhaust or muffler systems could receive a “fix-it” ticket to avoid a fine.

Passing waste service vehicles: When approaching or overtaking a refuse collection vehicle with its amber lights flashing, drivers must move into an adjacent lane, if possible, and pass at a safe distance. If it is not possible, AB 2115 says drivers must slow to a safe and reasonable speed. This law provides a safety margin for sanitation workers while they are actively working.

Gender/LGBTQ

Women on board of directors: Publicly-traded companies based in California must have at least one woman in their board of directors by the end of 2019 and two or more women in their board of directors by 2021 under SB826.SB 179:

Gender of driver’s license: A person applying for a driver’s license or an identification card can choose a gender category of male, female or non-binary, such as someone identifying as transgender, under SB179. Anyone wishing to change their gender can make an appointment after today, Jan. 2, 2019.
LGBTQ training: Police officers and dispatchers must undergo special training to better understand the LGBTQ community under AB 2504. The training will teach officers the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity, and how to create an inclusive work environment in police departments.

Health

Straws: AB 1884 says California restaurants will only provide straws to customers who request it. Restaurants can receive fines if they do not comply with the law.

Beverages for children: In an effort to curb childhood obesity rates, SB 1192 requires restaurants only offer water or milk without flavor in children’s combo meals. Other drinks can be purchased the customer’s request.

Home cooking business: Your kitchen may have to be inspected if you are going to start a home bakery business. AB 626 allows cities and counties to authorize and regulate the sale of home-made foods.

Gun Control

High capacity magazines: SB 1200 eliminates fees for requesting a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) and adds high capacity magazines, such as bullet drums, to the list of items that can be confiscated.

Bump stocks: The rapid-fire device used in the 2017 mass shooting at a Las Vegas, is now explicitly banned in California under SB 1346.

Age restrictions: SB 1100 raises the age limit for the purchase of long guns, such as rifles and shotguns, from 18 to 21. The state already restricts handgun purchases to adults 21 and older.

Anyone under 21 wanting to buy a rifle or shotgun must do so before Jan. 20, 2019 and pick up the firearm before the law is implemented on Feb. 1, 2019.

Concealed carry: AB 2103 requires a minimum of eight hours of training and a passing grade in a live-fire shooting test to receive a concealed carry weapons permit.

Under AB 3129, anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence going forward will lose his or her right to own a firearm.

Firearms warning labels: AB 1525 requires that all firearms sold in California must include the following warning label, “Firearms must be handled responsibly and securely stored to prevent access by children and unauthorized users.” The warnings will also be posted at gun stores.

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