New California laws cover immigration, marijuana, education

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California state lawmakers in 2017 passed nearly 900 bills that Gov. Jerry Brown then signed into law. Most of them take effect Monday. The new laws cover topics ranging from the Trump administration's immigration crackdown, to the state's new recreational cannabis market, to the price of a college education.

Here are some of the laws taking effect with the new year:


Police will no longer be able to ask people about their immigration status or participate in federal immigration enforcement actions under a law making California a sanctuary state. The law also allows jail officials to transfer inmates to federal immigration authorities only if they have been convicted of certain crimes.

It was among numerous bills designed to thwart the policies of President Donald Trump's administration.

Also starting Monday, immigration officials will need a warrant to access workplaces or employee records and landlords will be barred from disclosing tenants' citizenship. Another new law will prohibit university officials from cooperating with immigration officers.

An additional bill will bar law enforcement officials from detaining a crime victim or witness only because of an actual or suspected immigration violation, or turning them over to immigration authorities without a warrant.


Sales of recreational marijuana will be legal under a 2016 voter initiative that created the nation's biggest legal drug market.

But it will be illegal to take and drive a under bill taking effect Jan. 1 that outlaws smoking and ingesting marijuana, just as it's already unlawful for drivers or passengers to drink alcohol while driving. A separate law that took effect in June bars the possession of open containers of cannabis while driving.


The state minimum wage will increase to $10.50 per hour for businesses with 25 or fewer employees and to $11 per hour for those with 26 or more employees.

Small businesses with between 20 and 49 people will have to offer 12 weeks of unpaid maternity and paternity leave to employees.

Employers can't ask job applicants about their past salaries, a measure designed to narrow the pay gap between men and women.

California will become the 10th state to require both public- and private-sector employers of five or more employees to delay background checks and inquiries about job applicants' conviction records until they have made a conditional job offer, a measure known as "ban the box."

Those arrested but not convicted of a crime may ask a judge to seal their records, a move advocates say will help them get hired.


Pharmaceutical companies must give advance notice before big price increases, although a drugmakers' trade group is suing to block the measure.

It will be illegal to deny admission to long-term care facilities based on gender identity or sexual orientation or to repeatedly fail to use a resident's preferred name or pronoun.


Old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs will start disappearing from shelves because they can no longer meet energy efficiency standards under a 2007 federal law. That leaves compact fluorescent lights or light-emitting diode bulbs under the regulations, which take effect nationwide in 2020. The federal law let California impose the higher standards two years early. Although the industry is fighting the change in court, a federal judge is letting the restriction take effect while the case continues.


The first year of community college may be free for full-time, in-state students under a law that waives the $46 per unit fee for one academic year for first-time students. Lawmakers still must provide the money in the next budget. California follows Tennessee in creating the program, though California previously offered free tuition until 1984.

Public schools must test yearly for lead in their water supplies under a law passed in response to problems in San Ysidro schools.

Students in grades 7-12 must be taught about sexual abuse and human trafficking prevention.

Schools will be prohibited from "lunch shaming," or publicly denying lunch to students or providing a snack instead because their parents haven't paid meal fees.

Public schools serving low-income students in grades 6 to 12 must provide free tampons and menstrual products in half of restrooms.


Ammunition purchased in another state, online or through a catalog can't be brought into California except through a licensed ammunition dealer under Proposition 63, approved by voters in 2016. The initiative also sets a new process and deadlines for gun owners to give up their weapons if they are convicted of a felony or certain violent misdemeanors.

Superintendents can no longer allow people with permits to carry concealed guns on school grounds under a separate new law. Only about five school districts previously had such policies.


Repeat drug offenders will no longer automatically get an additional three years added to their sentences.

Criminals who videotape or stream their crimes on social media could face longer sentences under a law that allows judges to consider the recordings as aggravating factors in sentences for certain violent crimes.

Officials must consider paroling inmates who are age 60 or older and have served at least 25 years under a law that largely mirrors a 2014 federal court order designed to help reduce prison overcrowding.

Intentionally transmitting the AIDS-causing virus HIV is being reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, the same punishment as transmitting other communicable diseases.


California inmates serving life sentences for crimes they committed as juveniles will get the chance to leave prison after 25 years, making state law conform to recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Another bill expands California's youthful parole program to age 25. State law already required that inmates who were under 23 when they committed their crimes be considered for parole after serving at least 15 years.

Families of youths in the juvenile justice system won't be charged fees that advocates say many can't afford to pay under a separate law. Another will require offenders age 15 or younger to consult with attorneys before waiving their rights.

One more bill will require that records be sealed for dismissed juvenile court petitions or after a juvenile completes a diversion program, while another will let a judge seal juvenile records even for serious or violent offenses after the offender has completed the sentence.


Legal recreational pot in California: What you need to know

By MICHAEL R. BLOOD ,  Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California on Monday becomes the nation's largest state to offer legal recreational marijuana sales. Here's a snapshot of how the market will work and how the state will regulate a pot economy estimated to be worth $7 billion:



California voted to legalize in 2016. The goal is to tighten regulation of the state's long-running medical pot sales while encouraging operators in the vast black market to enter the legal system.

In general, California will treat cannabis like alcohol, allowing people 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of pot and grow six marijuana plants at home. The state in December began licensing businesses for the new economy, including retailers who will sell it and distributors who will move it from fields to storefronts.



The availability of legal weed will come down to this: location. What's emerged so far is a patchwork of local rules under which some cities will have legal cannabis on Jan. 1, but others will not.

Los Angeles has delayed accepting applications for legal sales until Jan. 3, and it will be weeks before any shops open. Kern County is among the places that have banned all commercial cannabis activity. Other cities have postponed taking action, waiting to see how the new market rolls out. Santa Cruz, San Diego, Shasta Lake, San Jose and West Hollywood have authorized businesses for recreational sales.



Legal weed comes with a lot of restrictions, including where it can be smoked. First, there is no smoking in public, and state law has specific rules forbidding anyone from lighting up within 1,000 feet (300 meters) of a school or a daycare center when kids are around, or from smoking while driving. Another general rule: Don't smoke anywhere where tobacco is prohibited. Local governments are free to set rules for smoking at sales shops, what some call cannabis cafes or lounges, but that will vary city to city.



The state will impose a 15 percent excise tax on retail purchases of all cannabis and cannabis products, including medicinal cannabis. Cultivators will pay taxes on buds and leaves they sell, which is expected to be passed on to consumers at retail counters, too. Local governments can slap on additional taxes.

In Los Angeles, for example, new taxes and fees could push up the retail cost for a small bag of marijuana by as much as 70 percent. Operators fear that hefty new taxes will drive consumers into the black market. The state expects to bring in $684 million in pot taxes next year, with that number increasing to $1 billion in several years. Los Angeles has predicted that it could pull in $50 million next year.



Californians have gradually taken a more permissive attitude toward pot. Back in 1913, the state banned "loco-weed," according to a history by a major pro-legalization group, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. In the 1970s, felony possession of less than an ounce was downgraded to a misdemeanor, then state voters approved marijuana for medicinal purposes in 1996.

The reason the state is moving into legal cannabis is voters wanted it, overwhelmingly. Proposition 64, which legalized the sale and cultivation of recreational pot for adults, passed in November 2016 with 57 percent of the vote. There are other states with legal weed, including Washington and Colorado, but California will be the biggest by far. It is home to 1 in 8 Americans.



Pot will be legal in California in January, but it remains illegal at the federal level.

While Washington has kept its distance from medicinal pot in states where it is legal, Congress has yet to renew a little-noticed rule that shields state medical marijuana programs from federal intervention. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an outspoken opponent of cannabis, has hinted at a possible crackdown. The state's black market is vast: An estimated 15,000 illegal cultivation sites exist in Humboldt County alone, a prized growing area in Northern California's so-called Emerald Triangle.



Not really. Medicinal sales are expected to shrink, but not go away. In Los Angeles, medicinal buyers will pay a lower city tax rate, which could be an inducement to stay in that market. Others are likely to stick with medicinal products they know, such as for sleep problems or pain. One age group caught in a gap between medical and recreational marijuana are those 18 to 20 years old. You have to be at least 21 to buy recreational pot, but medicinal is legal for anyone 18 and older. Some in that age range are likely to continue seeking medicinal purchases.