New Laws for 2014

Disclosure of Criminal Convictions on Employment Applications (AB 218)As of July 1, 2014, employers in California may not ask a prospective employee whether he/she has been convicted of a crime until it has been determined as part of the application process that the person meets the minimum qualifications for the job. Previous law banned private and public employers from asking applicants about a detention or arrest that did not end up in a conviction. This new law offers protections to people with convictions seeking work. The problem this seeks to fix is that people who were convicted of crimes in the past but had since that time maintained a clear record were often being denied the chance to compete for jobs for which they were qualified. AB 218 gives job seekers a chance to show prospective employers how they have turned their lives around since their conviction and to demonstrate how their skills will benefit the organization.

Large-Capacity Magazines for Firearms (AB 48)As of July 1, 2014, it is a misdemeanor to import, manufacture, sell, give, buy, lend, or receive a large-capacity conversion kit that alters any ammunition feeding device to allow it to act as a large-capacity magazine. A violation of this law may result in a fine of up to $1000 and county jail time of up to six months. In addition, AB 48 also states that buying or receiving a large-capacity magazine is a misdemeanor or felony.

Relationships Pertaining to Domestic Violence Laws (AB 16)Beginning July 1, 2014, domestic violence laws in California will now be significantly expanded so that they pertain to people who were dating or engaged to be married, in addition to the types of relationships previously covered. Specifically, Penal Code 273.5 now states that the following relationships fall under domestic violence law: the offender’s spouse or former spouse, cohabitant or former cohabitant, fiance or fiancee; someone who the offender was engaged to or was dating; the father or mother of the offender’s child.

Employment Protections for Victims of Stalking, Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault (SB 400)Beginning July 1, 2014, stalking victims receive the same employment protections as do victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. With the new law, if the employee notifies the employer of the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, the employer is prohibited “from discharging or in any manner discriminating against or retaliating against” the employee.

Passing Distance Between Automobiles and Bicycles (AB 1371)
As of September 16, 2014, a car that is passing a bike going in the same direction must keep at least three feet of distance between the vehicle and the bicycle. Failure to do so will result in an infraction and a fine of $35. A $220 fine can be imposed if there is a collision between the car and bike resulting in bodily harm to the cyclist. Other traffic laws can also apply.

Statute of Limitations for Hit and Run Charges (AB 180)This new law extends the statute of limitations for filing charges in and prosecuting hit and run cases. Specifically, charges may be filed up to three years after the incident or one year after the suspect is first identified (whichever is later) but no more that six years after the offense takes place.

Use of Wireless Communication Devices (Cell Phones) by Teens While Driving (SB 194)Current law prohibits drivers younger than 18 years of age from using a cell phone to make voice calls even if the device has a hands-free feature, like Siri. SB 194 extends this prohibition so that drivers under the age of 18 may not use cell phones at all, which means they are not able to send or receive texts while using a hands-free feature.