3 New Laws Californians Should Be Aware Of

People are fleeing California by the thousands. Governor Newsom is facing a recall that already has more than a million signatures. Our country and our state are on life support. Yet while all this is happening, law makers are still working hard writing and passing laws.

There was no shortage of new bills for 2020, with Governor Newsom signing 870 bills into law. Not all of these bills will go into effect this year, however, for the simple reason that companies are given some time to come into compliance with the new rules and regulations.

The spectrum of laws that are going into effect in 2021 concern your health and workplace, among others. Some new laws will hold law enforcement accountable for their actions; other laws concern education, the environment, and even COVID-19. This article will cover a few of the new laws for 2021, and as the month continues I will be delving into and explaining even more important laws you should know for the new year.

One of the bills that was passed is labeled SB 793 – Flavored Tobacco Products. This bill prohibits a retailer, or anyone for that matter, from “selling, offering for sale, or possessing with the intent to sell of offer for sale, a flavored tobacco product or a tobacco product flavor enhancer, as those terms are defined, except as specified.” So, if you or anyone you know is or was a person who vaped you will no longer to be able to enjoy any “characterizing flavors.” The bill defines characterizing flavors as “tastes or aromas relating to any fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, menthol, mint, wintergreen, herb, or spice.” The only aroma or flavor one can have is that of tobacco. If this law is broken, it is punishable by a fine of $250 for each violation. This bill was passed because to many kids have become accustomed to the fine taste of the flavors, and there is concern for future generations becoming addicted to tobacco products. In other words, parents are unable to supervise their children and tell them it is bad to smoke these products, so Senator Jerry Hill, Democrat from San Mateo, introduced this bill. This law has not gone into effect as of yet because opponents of this bill have launched a referendum to overturn it. Counties will have until January 21 to verify signatures. [This bill is an act to add Article 5 (commencing with Section 104559.5) to Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 103 of the Health and Safety Code]

Is the lack of flavors making you a little mental, well that is okay because SB 855 has got you covered. This bill was introduced by Senator Scott Wiener a Democrat from San Francisco. In 1999 the California Mental Health Parity Act was passed requiring coverage of all diagnosis and medically necessary treatment of nine severe mental illnesses. What this bill does is making it to where all recognized mental health and substance abuse disorders are covered. This may be a step forward to helping the homeless crisis, specifically those homeless individuals that have mental health issues. [This bill is an act to add Sections 1367.045 and 1374.721 to, and to repeal and add Section 1374.72 of, the Health and Safety Code, and to add Section 10144.52 to, and to repeal and add Section 10144.5 of, the Insurance Code, relating to health coverage].

If you have a mental disorder and you go to see a doctor, I hope you were not planning on driving your new 2021 Chevy Camaro. SB 346 is a bill that limits the copper content within brake pads. The 2021 Chevy Camaro will not be able to be sold in California because the Brembo brakes used on the car exceeds the 5% copper content. This bill was introduced by Senator Christine Kehoe a Democrat in San Diego. This bill was originally passed in 2010. This is one of those bills where you have to give a company time to comply with the law. The new law will not stop there, as brake companies will have to reduce their copper usage down to 0.5% by January 1, 2025. This bill is a step toward saving the environment by not allowing the toxicity of copper to enter the waterways. [This bill will add to Article 13.5 (commencing with Section 25250.50) to Chapter 6.5 of Division 20 of, and to repeal Section 25250.65 of, the Health and Safety Code, relating to hazardous materials].

These are just a couple of the hundreds of bills that were passed. Some may have an effect on your day-to-day life, and others alter rights that you have as a citizen. In any event, they are good to know because ignorance of the law is no defense in our court of law. Stay tuned for further articles that keep you informed of your rights here in California.

Bryan Sullivan

Bryan Sullivan is a resident of Lodi with a background in law. He is a writer for The Grape Vine who specializes in news columns with a hint of opinion.

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