New California Laws in effect for 2017

A higher minimum wage, new gun laws, and new voter registration laws are among the latest California laws taking effect with the new year.

California Workplace 

Minimum wage

As of Jan. 1, California businesses with 26 or more employees must pay a minimum wage of $10.50 per hour; for businesses with 25 employees or less must implement the 50¢ increase by 2017. Increases in the minimum wage will kick in gradually over the next few years, to eventually boost the pay to a nation-leading $15 an hour.


Assembly Bill 1386 allows pharmacies to dispense epinephrine auto-injectors ‘Epi-pens’ to colleges, private businesses and other venues that have a plan in place for using the devices.

Farm Workers Overtime

Assembly Bill 1066 requires employers to give farm workers at least one day off each week.

Stricter Gun Laws

Assault weapons

Senate Bill 880 and Assembly Bill 1135 sought to ban guns that circumvent a previously passed assault weapon law with reloading devices called “bullet buttons.” California bars purchasing, semi-automatic, centerfire rifles or semi-automatic pistols that lack a fixed magazine and have one of a number of features that include a protruding pistol grip or a folding or telescoping stock. If you already own one, you’ll need to register it with the California Department of Justice.

Gun loans

Assembly Bill 1511 cracks down on gun lending. Although the bill outlaws most gun loads, it makes exceptions for hunting guides and a limited number of loans to family members.

Gun Storage

Senate Bill 869 will require Law enforcement to follow the same rules as civilians by securely storing handguns in a lock box out of plain view or in the truck if weapons are left in an unintended vehicle. The law also applies to concealed weapons permit holders.

Election Laws

Mail ballots

Senate Bill 450 will bring many changes on how Californians vote. Though many of the bills provisions won’t kick in for a while, on Jan. 1 voters now can return their mail ballots at any county elections office in the state, and not just the county that issued the ballot.

Voter registration

Thanks to Assembly Bill 1436, voters now can register to vote on Election Day, with the county elections headquarters serving as the registration hub starting two weeks before Election Day. However, the vote cast by the newly registered voter will be conditional, which means the ballots won’t be counted until officials verify the voter is eligible and hasn’t cast a ballot elsewhere.

Felons voting

Assembly Bill 2466 allows Californians convicted of low-level felonies, serving their sentences outside of prison, the right to vote. How that’s implemented is up to the counties, who are typically responsible for people serving their sentences either in jails or under post-release supervision.

Ballot sharing

With 2016 being one of the most social elections in history, Californians now can snap pictures of their filled-out ballots and share it wherever they like thanks to Assembly Bill 1494. The law prohibits government harassment from the ballot selfie.

Other Laws

Hot dogs

Assembly Bill 797 allows good Samaritans to liberate animals who are showing signs of distress, provided they cant find the owner, from a locked vehicle on a hot day. The key word here is ‘showing signs of distress, ’ and law enforcement must first be contacted and the Samaritan must wait for the authorities to show up.

Mascot names

As of Jan. 1, the use of “Redskins” has been officially banned for use in public schools. Passed in 2014, Assembly Bill 30 gave public schools until 2017 to change their mascot. Colusa officially changed its mascot to ‘Red Hawks’ in 2007; however, our high schools in the state still use the term and are considering alternate variations.

Welfare payments

Pregnant women who are currently on welfare will be able to apply for benefits to cover the new child thanks to the repeal of a policy known as the “maximum family grant”. The policy once bared women who got pregnant while on welfare from drawing additional benefits. The repeal is effective Jan. 1.

A Shave and a Haircut

Assembly Bill 1322 allows barbershops and salons to serve complimentary beer or wine without a license and before 10 PM.

Recycled drinking Water

Assembly Bill 2022 allows Califonrians to drink recycled wastewater, purified reused water, for educational purposes.

Selling Autographed Books?

Assembly Bill 1570 requires anyone selling an autographed book, for more than $5, to provide an authenticity of the autograph.

Homeowner Survivor Bill of Rights

Senate Bill 1150 extends foreclosure protections to surviving family embers of a deceased mortgage holder.

Uber background check

California Uber, Lyft and drivers of other ride-booking companies must face extensive background checks in the new year. The law prohibits the companies from hiring registered sex offenders, or people convicted of any violent crime, assault, domestic violence or DUI.

Earthquake Warning

California allocated $10 million to the existing, ShakeAlert, an early warning program for earthquakes. The state hopes to emulate systems that are in place in Mexico, China and Japan.

Lloyd Green Jr, Editor
Lloyd Green Jr. is the Owner and Publisher of the Williams Pioneer Review. He is dedicated in publishing the news and informing the community of Colusa County. Lloyd has been with the publication since 2008, and purchased the business in 2010. Under his ownership the newspaper has grown significantly in subscriptions, publishes weekly, and obtained the title of Newspaper of General Circulation by the Superior Court of Colusa County in Sept. 2007. Lloyd is also the director of advertising, classified manager, legal notice clerk, and circulation manager. To contact Lloyd, email him at or call (530) 458-4141 ext. 100.