After stomaching a federal government shutdown, learning of the NSA’s invasive spying programs, avoiding war with Syria, not-so-smoothly rolling out Obamacare and allowing “selfie” to become an Oxford-certified part of everyday lexicon, it’s hard to believe 2013 is over. But now we take a look ahead at 2014 and a bevy of new laws expected to affect Californians.
Three-foot biker law
The law with the biggest impact in Malibu is likely to be the “Three Feet for Safety Act,” requiring drivers to maintain at least three feet between their vehicle and bicyclists beginning Sept. 14, 2014.
For roads where space is too narrow, especially Pacific Coast Highway, drivers must “slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent” and only pass when not endangering a cyclist. Law enforcement officials have touted the law as an overdue remedy to often-dangerous road conditions for cyclists.
“It’s a very common sense law, but now it is a citable offense,” California Highway Patrol spokesman Leland Tang said after the law was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last September.
A county sheriff ’s official said he does not expect officers to be “out there with a yard stick,” enforcing the distance, but will stress safety in its enforcement.
Citations pertaining to AB 1371 run $35, and $220 if a driver is faulted in colliding with a cyclist.
Minimum wage to increase
California boasts one of the nation’s highest minimum wage rates, and workers are in for an increase on July 1 when the new minimum increases from $8 to $9. Bill AB 10 additionally provides for an increase to a $10 minimum wage in Jan. 2016.
Assembly and State Senate Democrats fiercely advocated for Gov. Brown to sign the bill, arguing wage increases have fallen short in keeping up with national inflation rates.
Washington state leads the nation in minimum wage, coming in at $9.19.
Gender privacy law for K-12 students
A law aimed at protecting transgender youth takes effect in January and requires schools to allow students to play sports “consistent with their gender identity,” no matter how they are listed in the gender category of their school records. The law also applies to bathroom and locker room use.
AB 1266 may face tough implementation, though, as conservative proponents of the controversial Prop 8 have vowed to challenge the law in a 2014 ballot measure.
Parking at broken meters legal
Dreading a drive into Downtown Los Angeles or Santa Monica? Under a new broken meter law in effect Jan. 1, maybe a stroke of luck will help commuters and tourists avoid paying for parking in those bustling downtowns.
Written largely because of an estimated 17,000 tickets issued to cars parked at broken meters in the City of Los Angeles in 2010, AB 61 bars parking enforcement from citing drivers who park at malfunctioning meters. Drivers must still, however, obey time limits and street sweeping regulations associated with metering.
Past broken meter citations reportedly brought in millions of dollars in revenue for Los Angeles.
No cell phone devices for 18-and-under drivers
There’s nothing quite like hitting the road after successfully passing a driver’s license exam. But in 2014, law enforcement officials will crackdown on cell phone use among newly minted teen drivers.
SB 194 bans drivers 18 and younger from using any type of cell phone device, whether hands-free or not, to write, type or read text messages behind the wheel. The law kicks in Jan. 1.
Carpool lane OK for cars with low-emission stickers
State legislators in 2013 extended a law allowing those driving a low-emission vehicle to travel solo in HOV/carpool lanes.
AB 266 and 286 extend the law from 2014 through Jan. 2019 for cars toting a “clean air vehicle” sticker.