As the new year approaches, people across the nation will be subject to changing laws and regulations. Some will have little to no impact on our daily lives, but others will significantly affect how we do everything from going to the doctor to driving our car to and from work. California, known for its ever-changing laws and absurd regulations, has added a few doozies to their list.
The right to carry guns disappearing
One of the most worrisome policies for Californians is the new and stricter gun laws. Already a state with strong gun control regulations, lawmakers decided to crack down even more.
Only last year a policy allowed school employees with a concealed carry permit to bring their firearms onto campus, as long as it was approved by the individual school’s administration. Assembly Bill 424 will ban the policy.
According to The Sacramento Bee, “it’s illegal to openly carry unloaded rifles and shotguns in areas where county supervisors have issued shooting bans.”
Californians have been scrambling to purchase ammunition before January 1, when it becomes illegal to buy ammo except through licensed vendors. So, if acquiring munitions off an Internet site, for example, the customer will have to have them shipped to a licensed vendor and then pick up their merchandise instead of having it delivered to the home.
Now a sanctuary state
The Golden State’s officials were not quiet when opposing the Trump Administration’s attempts at immigration control and several other policies. In fact, the state brought about 24 lawsuits during 2017 alone. One of those suits pertained to the travel ban, and likely spurred lawmakers to make a strong statement by becoming a sanctuary state under Senate Bill 54.
Under SB54, state authorities may refuse to help with some of the immigration laws. In fact, it “generally bars state and local agencies from using money or personnel for immigration enforcement,” the Bee reported. Which includes “investigation, interrogation, detention or arrest.” The bill does allow authorities to cooperate when the undocumented is involved in one of 800 listed crimes, such as child abuse and gang-related activity.
From this controversial bill sprang several other policies that have the opposition deeply concerned. Assembly Bill 291, for example, prohibits landlords from reporting any of their undocumented renters. The Bee explains that “Assembly Bill 450 bans employers from cooperating with or allowing immigration enforcement raids at their work sites without a court order.”
Genderless ID cards
To make transgender and nonbinary people feel more comfortable, Senate Bill 179 strikes the former requirement of any gender treatment before changing birth certificates to reflect what a person “feels” they are. In 2019, a nonbinary option will be available “for those who do not identify as either male or female” on driver’s licenses, the Bee said.
Does this mean we can list our “desired” weight on our license, or claim to have green eyes instead of brown? Why don’t we all just create avatars with the physical attributes we would like to possess or associate with and use that as our ID pictures? The photo is only used for identifying, right? So, if someone doesn’t identify with how they look, they can just change it on their driver’s license and other official documents. It’s not like enforcement officials ever use the photographs and information to assist in apprehending anyone, right? – Note the sarcasm there.
Free school and personal hygiene
The exit exam, which all high school students were required to take before graduating, was not met with favorable results. Many of the students could not pass the test and did not receive their diplomas. The test was changed, with the expectation it would make it easier for the students, but that failed too. So, Assembly Bill 830 takes that pressure away – no more exit exams for students.
The Sacramento Bee said Assembly Bill 10 is aimed at poor female students and keeping them in school:
“In an effort to keep poor female students attending class, schools will also provide free tampons and pads. Assembly Bill 10 requires middle and high schools where at least 40 percent of students meet the federal poverty threshold to stock half their campus restrooms with free menstrual products.”
While on the subject of “free,” Assembly Bill 19 is intended to be the first step in making the state’s colleges tuition-free. The Bee reports:
Assembly Bill 19 establishes the initial stage of a “free college” program here, waiving the first year of fees for any first-time student who enrolls full-time at one of California’s 114 community colleges. That promise, however, depends on the state setting aside enough money in its 2018-19 budget to cover the fee waivers.
California lawmakers have been busy, it seems, and time will only tell how the new laws will affect its citizens and the rest of the nation.