Every year, the legislative body of California introduces thousands of bills that aim to make the lives of the citizens better. These bills vary in their scope from education, taxation, and even your daily commute. Once the governor signs the bill and it becomes part of the California Statutes, it will affect you and your way of living in one way or another.
In 2017, almost 900 bills were passed by the legislature and signed by the governor to take effect in 2018 and here are some that may affect you as a citizen of California:
Taking time off
The year 2018 brings more protection for employees who are seeking to take some time off work. Under Senate Bill 63, people who work for small companies (businesses that employ between 20 to 49 people) are now entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave within the first year of their child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement without losing their health coverage while they are away. This benefit was previously only available to workers at bigger companies (50 or more workers). Workers who are taking paid leaves to care for a family member briefly will receive a boost on the state compensation that they are supposed to receive under Assembly Bill 908.
Other employment updates
Aside from the additional benefits for people who are planning to take time off from work, there will be changes in the employment sector in general. Employers will no longer be able to ask job applicants for their salary history. Expansion of California’s equal pay law to included government jobs has also been passed. The lowest paid Californians will also get an increase on their wages; minimum wage for workers on small companies (25 or fewer employees) will go up to $10.50 an hour while minimum wage earners for bigger companies (26 or more employees) will be $11 an hour.
Voting made easy
A new voting system has been implemented in five counties: Sacramento, San Mateo, Madera, Napa, and Nevada. The new system aims to boost voter participation by sending voting ballots to registered voters via mail instead of traditional polling places. There will be drop-off locations available to receive accomplished votes four weeks before election day, and temporary vote centers will open ten days before election day to register voters and to accept ballots.
California schools can no longer deny students their lunch even if their parents failed to pay for their meal fee. Schools in low-income communities must provide their female students in grade six through twelve with free tampons and other sanitary products; this is to ensure that poor female students will still be able to attend classes even if they have their period. One of the most significant change is the elimination of the high school exit exam. Over ten thousand students have failed the test since its inception in 2006, but Assembly Bill 830 has removed the test permanently. School buses will also get an additional safety feature that requires the bus driver to check if there are any child left on the bus.
The odds and ends
More buildings are required to add diaper changing stations in the men’s restroom. Landlords are required to provide information about bedbugs to apartment renters and must follow new rules when an infestation is found. You may also now step into a crosswalk even after the “Don’t Walk” signal appears, provided that you can still cross the street before the time runs out.
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