Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year Equals New Laws for Californians

Are you into texting while driving, a computer professional, or, yikes, an unlicensed car dealer? If you are, you will be affected by this new batch of California laws. Courtesy of ABC News, here are some of the new California laws that will take effect come Jan. 1:

No-text Law - Writing, sending, or reading a "text-based communication" while driving will be against the law for all drivers in California. Violating this law is punishable by a base fine of $20 for a first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense. With the addition of penalty assessments, fines can be more than triple the base fine amount.

New DUI Laws - Zero tolerance. Any person who is on probation for a DUI convection cannot drive with a blood alcohol level of.01 percent.

Temporary operating permits restricted - The DMV will restrict permits to allow more time to obtain a smog certificate.

Special interest license plates - Gold Star Family special interest license plates will be available to family members who have had family killed in the line of duty while serving in the Armed Forces during wartime or military operations.

Temporary employees - Wages for employees of temporary services employers shall be paid weekly or daily if the work is less than 90 days.

Family and Medical Leave Act - Families who have members who are active in the military are eligible up to 12 weeks of leave if they meet the "qualifying exigencies: short notice deployment, attendance at official military events or activities, arranging or providing childcare, attending school or daycare meetings, handling financial and legal matters, and rest and recuperation visits when the soldier is on leave."

Minimum pay for exempt computer professionals - Computer professionals' hourly rate for 2009 is increased from $36 to $37.94.

Definition of a motorcycle - Deleting the existing weight limitation of 1,500 pounds, removes a separate definition for electrically powered vehicles and will allow fully enclosed 3-wheeled motor vehicles to use the carpool lanes

Unlicensed car dealers - Law enforcement officers can impound vehicles that are being sold by unlicensed dealers.

Counterfeit Clean Air Stickers - It will be a crime to forge Clean Air Stickers, which are issued to low-emission vehicles and allow the vehicles with these stickers to be driven in carpool lanes.

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