Happy New Year everyone. The State of California has 745 new laws that go into effect today, January 1, 2012. Here are 12 notable ones.
1. The new California booster seat law requires that any child under 8 years old be secured in an appropriate child restraint meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards. The law does contain a provision, however, that a child under 8 years old who is 4'9" inches or taller may use a safety belt rather than a child safety seat or booster seat. Drivers caught breaking the booster seat law can face fines starting at $475.
2. Open-carry citizen handgun ban makes it a misdemeanor to carry an exposed, unloaded handgun in public places. Violators pay $1,000 plus 6 months in jail. Californians can still get permits for concealed weapons.
3. Law enforcement agencies will now be banned from impounding a vehicle at a sobriety checkpoint if the lack of a valid driver's license is the only offense.
4. Electric vehicles (EV) must now be plugged in for refueling when occupying an EV designated parking space, otherwise they may be towed.
5. Vehicles are now also explicitly forbidden from crossing double parallel solid white lines, commonly found in carpool lanes on highways.
6. The sale, importation and production of beer with added caffeine will be prohibited.
7. California becomes the first state in the nation to prohibit those under age 18 to use commercial tanning beds.
8. California courts may now permanently revoke the driver's license of anyone convicted of three or more DUI's in a 10-year period.
9. Schools will now be required to remove from play a student athlete who sustains a possible concussion, and mandates that the player receive medical clearance before returning to competition.
10. With a few exceptions, the use of consumer credit reports by employers when hiring will now be prohibited.
11. Drivers with older, unpaid traffic tickets that were due by Jan. 1, 2009, will have a six-month window in which they will owe just half the amount of the original fine.
12. It is now illegal to sell, trade or possess shark fins.
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