New Laws for California 1-1-2015

Driver’s licenses: Starting Jan. 2, unauthorized immigrants in California will be allowed to take tests to obtain a state driver’s license. The DMV expects to process up to 1.4 million applications from people who live in the state illegally, as authorized under AB 60, passed in 2013. The law’s stated goal is to make California’s roadways safer by ensuring more drivers are trained, tested and insured.

Plastic bag ban: Starting July 1, California could become the first state in the nation to phase out single-use plastic bags, first in grocery stores and pharmacies and a year later in convenience and liquor stores. Opponents of the law, however, submitted signatures this week to place a referendum on the 2016 ballot. If enough signatures are deemed valid, the law will be suspended until the electorate votes on whether to keep or eliminate it.

Paid sick leave: Also on July 1, millions of Californians will begin earning paid sick leave under AB 1522, a law championed by San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. It requires all businesses in the state to pay full-time and part-time workers a minimum of three days sick leave. It will largely affect retail, fast food and other service-industry jobs that don’t offer sick leave benefits. California became the second in the nation to require the benefit, after Connecticut, marking the largest ever expansion of paid sick leave.

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