By ABC7.com staff
As the new year approaches, here are some of the new California laws that are set to take effect in 2016:
- SB 491 will make it illegal to wear earbuds or headsets in both ears while driving a vehicle or riding a bicycle.
- Riders on electric skateboards must be 16 years or older, wear helmets and ride on roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less. Under AB 604, it will also be against the law to ride an electric skateboard while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The state’s emergency alert system, typically used as Amber Alerts in child-abduction cases, will be used to broadcast a “Yellow Alert” to find hit-and-run drivers in incidents that result in death or major injuries. AB 8 written by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) takes effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
- SB 61 grants a one-year extension to a pilot project in Los Angeles County aimed at curtailing drunken driving through use of ignition interlock devices that test the sobriety of drivers. Drivers must blow into the devices in order to start their vehicles. If their blood-alcohol concentration exceeds a certain level, the vehicles won’t start.
- The hotly contested SB 277 will take effect on July 1, 2016 and will impose one of the strictest vaccination laws in the country. The bill, sponsored by Democratic Sens. Richard Pan of Sacramento and Ben Allen of Santa Monica, will only allow children with serious health problems to opt out of school-mandated vaccinations. School-age children who remain unvaccinated will need to be home-schooled.
- SB 358 will allow female employees to allege pay discrimination based on the wages a company pays to other employees who do substantially similar work. The Fair Pay Act stipulates employers can justify higher wages for men only if the pay is based on seniority, a merit system, quantity or quality of production or any other “bona fide factor other than sex.”
- AB 775, otherwise known as the Reproductive FACT Act, will require pregnancy clinics to hand out or plainly post information about where women can obtain low-cost contraceptives, prenatal care and abortions. The bill, which was sponsored by Attorney General Kamala Harris, takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.
- The law requiring slow-moving passenger vehicles to pull over safely to let traffic pass has been amended to apply to all vehicles. AB 208 will now also apply to bicycles.