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Hundreds of New Statewide Laws Taking Effect in 2015

With a new year comes another batch of recently passed California laws, including one designed to quell gun violence following the mass shooting last spring in the Isla Vista community. 

More than 900 new laws will go into effect in 2015, many of which were ushered in last week on New Year's Day. 

The laws are wide-ranging, including dog-dining rules and ending sterilizations in prison. A complete list of the laws can be found by clicking here.

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson authored a handful of the 2015 laws, with the gun violence-focused Senate Bill 505 among them.

The law requires law enforcement agencies to develop and implement written policies for conducting “welfare checks” of people who may be a danger to themselves or others, specifically allowing agencies to search the state’s database of gun purchases before conducting the check to be better informed.

Jackson, who represents Santa Barbara County and a portion of Ventura County, introduced the bill after local law enforcement revealed that sheriff's deputies had performed a welfare check on Elliott Rodger about three weeks before the 22-year-old Isla Vista resident went on a stabbing and shooting rampage, killing six UC Santa Barbara students on May 23.

Jackson also helped author SB 967, which makes California the first state to define affirmative consent and requires institutes of higher education to educate students about consent and sexual assault, and SB 1135, which prohibits forced or coerced sterilizations in prisons.

Local DMV locations were already bolstering for business seen because of AB 60, which allows undocumented immigrants to obtain California driver’s licenses if they can prove identity and residency.

Individuals also need to meet other licensing requirements, such as passing the driver's license knowledge test and behind-the-wheel driving exams.

DMV offices throughout the state saw approximately 17,200 applicants under the new law on the first day of 2015, according to the state agency.

Among the other laws in effect now is a rule allowing dogs in the outdoor seating area of restaurants under certain conditions (AB 1965), and one that requires agencies with fast-depleting groundwater basins to draw up sustainability plans for water meters and fines for monitoring and enforcement (SB 1168).

A statewide plastic-bag ban tops the list of laws going into effect July 1. Senate Bill 270 will phase out use of single-use plastic bags at large grocery stores and supermarkets such as Walmart and Target starting in July, with convenience stores and pharmacies in 2016.

More than 100 local governments have already passed bans of their own, including the cities of Carpinteria and Santa Barbara. 

Another law requires mandatory paid sick leave days for employees (AB 1522), and legislation regulating the level of insurance required for ride-sharing service firms like Uber and Lyft will also take effect in July. 

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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