New California Laws Effective July 1, 2014

A number of new laws became effective on July 1st.  For the most part, when a bill is enacted into law in California, its effective date is governed by Government Code § 9600, which sets forth when an enactment takes effect.  Since 1974, the general rule regarding a legislative action’s effective date is that it becomes effective on January 1, of the year following the enactment.  Prior to 1974, from the years 1967 through 1972, the legislature addressed legislation substantively annually.  Prior to 1965, the legislature met every year, but legislation was substantively considered only in odd-numbered year, with even-numbered reserved for budget and extraordinary sessions usually.

The California Legislature can choose a different operative date than January 1st of the following year, such as effective immediately upon the Governor’s signature if the bill contains an “urgency” provision.  A very recent example of an urgency bill is AB 2488 (Levine, c. 98), which was signed by Governor Brown into law on July 8, 2014 and became effective immediately to expand an existing provision of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act that currently allows a licensed winegrower, under specified conditions, to sell estate grown wine at certified farmers’ markets to also grant the licensed winegrower the privilege of conducting limited wine tastings for consumers at CFMs under certain circumstances.

In the case of the eight bills described below, the 2013 Legislature selected July 1, 2014 as their operative dates – thus, each one became effective last week:

  • SB 770, c. 350 (Jackson): Unemployment compensation, disability benefits, paid family leave.  Beginning on July 1, 2014, expands the scope of the family temporary disability program to include time off to care for a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or parent-in-law, as defined. Would also make conforming and clarifying changes in provisions relating to family temporary disability compensation.
  • SB 652, c. 431 (DeSaulnier): Real property disclosures: construction defect litigation.  Revises the transfer disclosure statement form to additionally disclose to a potential transferee specified claims for damages by the seller.  There is presently no statutory requirement that a homeowner notify a potential buyer of a construction defect within the home.  For example, if a homeowner receives a cash settlement based on an alleged defect, the homeowner does not need to disclose the nature of the defect to the prospective purchaser or whether a repair was made.  A potential buyer should be aware of this fact and know whether or not that defect has subsequently been repaired.
  • AB 48, c. 728 (Skinner): Firearms; large-capacity magazines banned.  Penal Code § 32310 was amended to add new subdivisions (b) through (c) which provided that commencing July 1, 2014, any person in California who possesses any large-capacity magazine, regardless of the date the magazine was acquired, will be guilty of an infraction or will be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both the fine and imprisonment.  Also, any person who, prior to July 1, 2014, legally possesses a large-capacity magazine must dispose of that magazine by the means set forth in the statute.
  • AB 10, c. 351 (Alejo): Minimum wage annual adjustment.  Increases the minimum wage, on and after July 1, 2014, to not less than $9 per hour.  Also increases the minimum wage, on and after January 1, 2016, to not less than $10 per hour.
  • AB 1121, c. 651 (Atkins):  Gender identity; petition for change of name. As of July 1st, if a petition for a change of name is sought to conform the petitioner’s name to his or her gender identity, and no timely objection is filed, the court is required to grant the petition without a hearing. The bill would exempt the petition action from a specified publication requirement. The bill would authorize a court, at the request of the petitioner to, issue an order reciting the name of the petitioner as a result of the court’s granting of the petition.
  • AB 44, c. 258 (Buchanan):  Subletting and Subcontracting Fair Practices Act; bidding practices.  Requires a contractor to include the contractor license number of each subcontractor listed in any bid or offer submitted after July 1, 2014, for the construction of any public work.
  • AB 218, c. 699 (Dickinson): Employment applications, criminal history. Requires that state and local agencies determine a job applicant’s minimum qualifications before obtaining and considering information regarding the applicant’s conviction history on an employment application.
  • SB 745, c. 183 (Sen. Comm. on Transportation and Housing):  Housing.  Extends until July 1, 2014, the compliance date by which battery-operated smoke alarms must contain a nonreplaceable, nonremovable battery that is capable of powering the smoke alarm for at least 10 years; allows suppliers to sell battery-operated smoke alarms without 10-year batteries if they were on order or in inventory before July 1, 2015; and authorizes the State Fire Marshall to adopt exceptions through its regulatory process.


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