Higher Minimum Wage and Gender-Neutral Bathrooms Top List of New Laws

There are 1,000 new laws going into effect Jan. 1

By Rob Klindt

It has been a busy year for California lawmakers. The 2013 Legislative session ended with almost 1,000 bills signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

A boost in the state’s minimum wage, enhanced bicycle safety, and new rules aimed at stopping gender discrimination in public schools are just some of the laws that will kick in during 2014.

Here are a few of the notable measures which go into effect on Jan. 1, unless noted otherwise.

  • Minimum wage. Assembly Bill 10 by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, increases the California minimum wage to $9 effective July 1, 2014. Locally, the minimum wage in San Jose and San Francisco will increase to $10.15 per hour and $10.74 per hour respectively effective Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Emergency Amber Alert. Assembly Bill 535 by Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, amends the statewide Amber Alert emergency system by requiring authorities to send an alert after receiving a report that a child has been abducted by anyone, including a custodial parent or guardian, who may cause serious injury or death to the child.
  • State disability insurance. Senate Bill 770 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, expands paid family leave by allowing employees to receive up to six weeks of state disability insurance to care for an ill child, spouse, parent, domestic partner, or to build a relationship with an adopted or foster child.
  • Bicycle safety. Assembly Bill 1371 by Assemblyman Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, will require motorists to stay at least three feet away from bicyclists when passing them on a public roadway. The measure, also known as the “Three Feet for Safety Act,” will go into effect Sept. 16, 2014.
  • Distracted driving. Senate Bill 194 by Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, will make it illegal for drivers younger than 18 to use any kind of electronic wireless communications device to write, send or read an electronic text while driving, even if the item is equipped with a hands-free device.
  • Pupil rights. Assembly Bill 1266 by Sen. Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, will prohibit California public schools from discriminating on the basis of gender, gender identity and gender expression. Students may choose which bathrooms they use and which sex-segregated programs and activities they want to participate in regardless of the gender listed on the student’s records.


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