In 2016, Governor Brown signed into law 898 pieces of legislation. Here’s a sampling of some of the new state laws:
Barbering and booze: Under Assembly Bill (AB) 1322, Board of Barbering and Cosmetology-licensed beauty salons and barbershops can serve up to 12 ounces of beer or 6 ounces of wine to customers without having an alcoholic beverage license or permit. The businesses cannot charge for the alcohol.
Building construction: Senate Bill (SB) 465 requires the California Department of Industrial Relations and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health to tell the Contractors State License Board when the state punishes disobedient contractors.
Sexual assault: AB 2888 mandates a prison term for sexually assaulting unconscious individuals. This legislation is the result of a reaction to the jail sentence of a Stanford student who assaulted an unconscious woman and received a jail sentence in June 2016, but was released in September.
Distracted driving: Under AB 1785, drivers cannot hold or operate their devices for any reason. Exceptions are functions that require only a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger, as long as the phone is mounted in the car.
Car seats: AB 53 requires that children under 2 years old be put in rear-facing child safety seats, except for kids who are at least 40 pounds or 40 inches tall. Children under 8 years old must ride in the back seat of a car.
Voter registration and ballots: AB 1436, which passed in 2012 but takes effect January 1, allows people to register on the day of an election. SB 450 allows voters to return mail ballots at any county elections office in the state, not just the county that issued the ballot.
Dogs in cars: AB 797 allows good Samaritans to help free animals showing signs of distress in a hot car. They must first contact law enforcement and wait for them to show up.
Gender-neutral bathrooms: AB 1732 requires that all single-toilet restrooms in schools, businesses, and public places be designated as gender neutral.
Minimum wage increase: SB 3 raises the minimum wage for workers at businesses that have 26 or more employees from $10 to $10.50 per hour. Yearly increases under the law will bump the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.
Uber/Lift background checks: Under AB 1289, drivers for ride-booking companies will have their entire driver’s record checked.
Terminally ill and the “Right to Try”: AB 1668 allows terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs that have not yet had full federal approval for clinical trials.