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New 2018 Laws for Californians

Happy New Year Californians! Your legislators have been busy making state law changes for 2018. The Golden State has decided to “legalize it,” create a “sanctuary state” and offer free community college soon. Many of the new laws offer additional benefits for employees such as the “banning of the box” and it raised the minimum wage again. Controversial immigration laws have also been passed. It also tightened some of its gun laws.

Here is a brief overview of new laws that took effect January 1, 2018:


In reaction to Trump’s immigration initiatives, SB54 prevents law enforcement from arresting people based solely on immigration warrants or immigration status. Law enforcement also cannot ask about an individual’s immigration status. AB 450 bars employers from allowing immigration enforcement raids at places of employment without a court order. California is a “sanctuary state” and California law enforcement will also not participate in joint task forces with federal officials.

Changes pertaining to students

  • High schoolers will no longer be required to take a high school exit exam to graduate high school.
  • Menstruation products will now be freely available to low-income students at junior and high schools.
  • As soon as the budget is available, the first year of community college will be offered tuition-free to new full-time students.
  • Students whose parents have been deported will be allowed to attend California schools and public schools cannot document the immigration status of its students.

Guns and ammunition

Some Californians will be required to give up their firearms. “Prohibited persons” such as those convicted of felonies or certain misdemeanors, individuals determined by the court to be a danger to themselves or others or people with restraining orders against them will require to give up their firearms. Those convicted of a hate crime cannot possess a gun for ten years. In addition, most ammunition sales will be limited to licensed ammunition dealers. Beginning in July of 2019, ammunition dealers will be required to check with the California Department of Justice to verify they are not selling ammunition to prohibited persons.

New employment-related laws

  • Prospective employers can no longer ask questions about salary history. Salary information can only be disclosed voluntarily.
  • The “ban the box” bill 1008 disallows employers from asking about criminal conviction history in the initial job application.
  • Senate bill 63 requires small companies of 20 to 49 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave for a child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement.
  • Paid leave for taking temporary care of a family member has been raised to 60 percent of regular wages for most and up to 70 percent for low earners.
  • The minimum wage for smaller companies is raised to $10.50 per hour and $11 per hour for larger employers. Ultimately, the minimum wage will be $15 per hour by 2023.

Recreational marijuana

Over 400 cannabis operators are now legally selling recreational marijuana to adults in California. Medical cards are no longer required. Up to 28.5 grams of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated marijuana can now legally be carried in California and individuals can grow up to six plants.

Transgender identification

Californians can now apply for updated identification documents even if they have not undergone treatment for transition. Additionally, a nonbinary option will be added to CA driver’s licenses in 2019.

Other California law changes

  • You can now cross the street when a red hand signal is flashing if there is a countdown that shows the remaining time for pedestrians to cross.
  • The “diaper bill” now requires public venues to provide at least one diaper changing station accessible to women and men.
  • To combat high prescription medication prices manufacturers now must notify the state 60 days before notably increasing a drug price. In addition, discount coupons for brand-name drugs are now prohibited.
  • Starting in July, you’ll have to wear seatbelts while traveling in commercial buses.
  • It is no longer a felony, but a misdemeanor, for knowingly exposing someone to HIV.
  • Boaters under the age of 20 will be required to obtain a California Boater Card to operate a boat.
  • Certain businesses such as hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns will be required to post information about human trafficking.

If you have questions about the California law changes, Rocket Lawyer is here for you. If you are wondering how specific laws may affect you or your business, you can ask a lawyer and receive an answer quickly.

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