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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 6:48 am | Fair 45º


New State Laws Range from Emergency Alerts to Plastic Straws, Scooters and Breastfeeding at Work

Local legislators Hannah-Beth Jackson, Monique Limón were busy authoring new bills to take effect Jan. 1

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Electric scooter riders age 18 and older will not be required to wear helmets as of Jan. 1 when a new state law takes effect. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk file photo)

Hundreds of new California laws signed by outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown go into effect on Jan. 1, some of them with origins or interest in Santa Barbara.

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, was the author of several of the laws, which are effective with the new year, on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 834 prohibits the leasing of state waters for new construction of oil and gas-related pipelines and other infrastructure needed to access offshore platforms in federal waters.

“Oil spills are devastating to our local economy, environment and marine life,” Jackson said in a statement. “With SB 834, California is sending a strong and unequivocal message that we will not let the Trump administration destroy our precious coastal community for economic gain.”

SB 821, also authored by Jackson, will allow counties to automatically enroll every resident in a targeted emergency notification program. Residents will still have the ability to opt out of alerts, however.

One of particular interest to Montecito residents is Jackson’s SB 917, which requires insurers to cover a loss from debris flows, landslides or mudslides if an insured disaster, such as a wildfire, is the proximate cause of the damage and would otherwise be covered.

The sudden appearance of electric scooters has been a controversial topic in Goleta, Santa Barbara and unincorporated Santa Barbara County, which have taken steps to control their presence. The cities of Goleta and Santa Barbara enacted emergency ordinances to ban the scooters, while the county is imposing a tax on them for using public rights of way.

While local municipalities want to curb their use, a new state law is providing more incentives to ride them. Assembly Bill 2989, authored by Assemblyman Heath Flora, R-Ripon, exempts riders over age 18 from wearing helmets.

Another local controversy has involved single-use plastic straws, with Santa Barbara enacting an ordinance restricting their use to customers with disabilities. AB 884, authored by Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, is slightly less restrictive, with restaurants required only to provide plastic straws on demand.

In addition, under SB 1192 authored by state Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, restaurants will only be able to serve milk and water for children’s meals, unless parents ask specifically for juice.

Under a previously approved state law, the minimum wage continues to increase, en route to $15 an hour by 2022.

In 2019, worker pay will rise to $11 an hour for companies with 25 employees or fewer. Pay for employees at larger companies will increase to $12 an hour.

AB 216, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, requires election offices to provide prepaid stamped envelopes so voters won’t have to buy stamps to mail in their ballots.

In addition, Californians will also be able to choose their gender category of male, female or nonbinary on their driver’s license or state ID application, in a bill authored by state Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.

AB 1066 — authored by Gonzalez Fletcher, enacted in 2016 and effective in 2019 — requires overtime pay for farmworkers who work more than 55 hours in a week or 9½ hours in a day, at farms with 26 or more employees.

Assemblywoman Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, authored AB 1976, which requires employers to make space available for women to breastfeed, other than a restroom.

Limón also authored AB 1877, which requires the state Office of Emergency Services to create a library of translated emergency notifications and a translation style guide. The bill also would require designated alerting authorities to consider using the library and translation style guide when issuing emergency notifications to the public.

Under the law, municipalities must translate emergency notifications as a condition of approving their applications to receive any voluntary grant funds with a nexus to emergency management performance.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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