California’s New Laws

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Melody Ra, Editor-In-Chief

To commence the July 2014 arrival, California has established numerous new laws for its citizens.

Starting today, (July 1, 2014) California’s minimum wage will be increased to $9, in contrast to the previous requirement of $8. In July of 2016, minimum wage will escalate to $10.

In addition, disability insurance plans are obliged to apply towards mental illnesses: anorexia, bulimia, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia.

Another law mandates abortion clinics to have the same building code standards as primary care clinics. In other words, the standards and costs of abortion and primary care clinics must be the same.

In concern with schools, both teachers and the state of California will contribute more money towards CalSTRS. The CalSTRS ensures benefits to full-time and part-time educators, such as retirement assistances. According to the Sacramento Bee, this law strives to condense the pension fund’s deficit.

Furthermore, a plastic bag protest in Los Angeles that was enacted on January 1, 2014 for large grocery stores will now apply to small grocery stores that sell perishable foods, including liquor stores and gas stations. This law requires customers to utilize their reusable bags for their purchased goods; otherwise, they would have to pay 10 cents per paper bag. If stores do not implement the requirement, there are fines ranging from $100 (first violation) to $500 (third violation). Each additional day in which the store refuses to acknowledge the law will have even more consequences.

Although California’s Corporations Code Section 107 banned people from using currencies other than the United States’ dollar, a new law annuls the bill. Governor Jerry Brown signed the law on Saturday, aiming to support payment methods like bitcoin—an emerging virtual currency. People who used digital currencies (Starbucks’ Stars, Amazon’s Coins, bitcoin) violated Section 107, although they were not penalized; however, the new law annuls such violations. The United States Internal Revenue Service will handle bitcoin not as currency but as a type of property for taxes. Therefore, people utilizing bitcoin’s services will be required to include the value of the virtual currency pertaining to the time they received it into their gross income. Even the Apple Company (which formerly removed bitcoin applications from its App Store) has modified its App Store guidelines to introduce apps concerning virtual currencies.

A plethora of other laws were also enacted today. Domestic abuse victims’ are eligible for more protection. Transgendered people have the right to legally change their names without reporting it to the newspaper. Furthermore, state and local governments cannot demand their job applicants for their previous criminal convictions (with exceptions). Property dealers are required to reveal lawsuits and property claims. Rental units’ battery-operated smoke alarms must have a non-replaceable, non-removable 10-year battery.

California’s laws are surely aimed to enhance its citizen’s lives, so one should regard these new laws with deference.