17 New California laws you Should now in 2017: Focus on Public Safety

  ICCNC: With the start of the New Year, the California Highway Patrol is keeping a close eye on what you’re doing behind the wheel -– making sure no one handles a cellphone while driving.

 “The new law basically says, 'one tap, one swipe,'” CHP Officer Nathan Ashby explained.

Starting Sunday, cellphones must be mounted to the car windshield or dashboard to prevent distracted driving.

“It is more prevalent than we like,” Ashby said. “Distracted driving kills people.”

There were 1.6 million crashes on U.S. roads last year caused by drivers using cell phones or texting while behind the wheel, according to the National Safety Council.

Driving with a phone in your hands is something that many people say they see frequently.

“All the time,” Sacramento driver David Fabila said. “I actually saw it last night on the way home from work like around 3 in the morning.”

The new law means a $20 fine the first time you’re caught with a cell phone in your hands, and it’s $50 for the second offense.

“It's a good idea to keep people from crashing, paying too much attention to your phone,” Sacramento driver Saxton Rogers said.

Also starting Jan. 1, kids under the age of 2 must be placed in rear-facing car seats, unless they weigh 40 pounds or more and stand 40 inches or taller.


Minimum-wage workers are getting a 50-cent raise starting Sunday to $10.50 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees.

Gun laws are changing too. Anyone who owns magazines that hold more than 10 rounds is required to give them up. Also, people who are looking to buy ammunition must pass a background check before they can reload on new supplies.

Epipens will be more widely available for people experiencing life-threatening allergic reactions. Colleges and private businesses can now stock them if they have a plan in place for using them.

There are new protections for child victims of human trafficking. Minors can no longer be charged with prostitution because the law classifies them as victims and not criminals.

17 New California laws you Should now in 2017

As we near the end of 2016, 898 new laws will go into effect in California in 2017 ranging from cellphone use while driving to gun control to human trafficking to booze at hair salons. Check out these 17 laws that could affect you in the new year:

Cell phones use while driving: Californians are no longer allowed to use a handheld wireless phone or wireless electronic device while driving, unless the device is mounted on the vehicle windshield or dashboard in a way that doesn’t hinder the driver’s view of the road. Drivers are only allowed to activate or deactivate a feature or function on the device with a single swipe or tap and cannot do that while holding the device. This expands on a law that already bans texting while driving. Click here to read the law.

Motorcycle lane splitting: According to the new law, lane splitting is defined as driving a two-wheeled motorcycle between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane. The law allows the California Highway Patrol to develop education guidelines in a way that ensures the safety of motorcyclists, drivers and passengers. Click here to read the law.

Vehicle registration fee: SB 838 increases the vehicle registration fee on every vehicle or trailer coach from $43 to $53 beginning April 1. Click here to read the law.

Minimum wage: California’s minimum wage will increase from $10 an hour to $10.50 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees under SB 3. It will gradually increase to $15 an hour in 2022. The law delays increases by one year for smaller employers. Click here to read the law.

Assault weapons: Voters passed a law that requires Californians who own gun magazines with more than 10 rounds to give them up starting Jan. 1. Buyers must undergo a background check before buying ammunition and will be barred from buying new weapons that have a bullet button, which were developed by gun manufacturers to get around the state’s assault weapons ban. A bullet button allows a shooter to quickly dislodge the magazine using the tip of a bullet. Click here to read the law.

Law enforcement officers’ handgun storage: Law enforcement officers will be required to follow the same rules as civilians by securely storing handguns in a lockbox out of plain view or in the trunk if weapons are left in an unattended vehicle. SB 869 closes a legal loophole and was authored after stolen guns were used in several crimes throughout California. Click here to read the law.

Sexual assault clarification: Sexually assaulting an unconscious or severely intoxicated person will become a crime ineligible for probation. SB 2888 clarifies that a victim cannot consent to sex while unconscious or incapacitated by drugs, alcohol or medication. The change in the law came after former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was given six months in jail and released early for assaulting an unconscious woman. Click here to read the law.

School mascots: Beginning Jan. 1, California public schools will be banned from using the name “Redskins” for sports teams and mascots under AB 30. American Indians regard the term as offensive. Calaveras High School, in Calaveras County, chose to drop the name it used for decades and decided that it would no longer have a mascot at all. Click here to read the law.

Powdered alcohol: Booze in a powdered form (yep, that’s a real thing) will be illegal to possess, sell, make or use, per SB 819. Powdered alcohol includes spirits, liquor, wine, beer and every other liquid that can be combined with water or any other liquid, but it does not include vaporized alcohol. Click here to read the law.

Drinking at salons: Beginning Jan. 1, beauty salons and barber shops will be allowed to serve free wine or beer to their clients until 10 p.m. Click here to read the law.

Businesses and EpiPens: Under AB 1386, businesses can stock EpiPens in case there is a need to treat people suffering from life-threatening allergic reactions.The law allows pharmacies to give the devices to colleges, private businesses and other venues that have a plan in place for using them. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill because he said it has the potential to save lives, but he called out EpiPen manufacturer Mylan for “rapacious corporate behavior” by raising prices. Click here to read the law.

Right-to-die: Terminally ill patients in California will be allowed to use experimental drugs, which do not have full regulatory approval, to decide when they want to end their lives. It authorizes, but does not require health plans to cover investigational drugs and protects physicians from disciplinary actions if they recommend them once other treatment options have been exhausted. The law came about after Brittany Maynard, a Bay Area woman with terminal brain cancer, moved to Oregon before taking her life using drugs. Click here to read the law.

Gender-neutral bathrooms: Beginning March 1, AB 1732 requires that all single-user toilet facilities in any business or public place to be all-gender facilities. Click here to read the law.