New 2016 Laws Come Into Effect

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Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriffs

Another year has come and gone, but the start of 2016 brings with it a new beginning‚ and a handful of new laws hitting the books for the first time.

Vaccines no longer optional

The ambiguous “personal beliefs exemption” (PBE) to vaccinations will no longer be a free pass for parents who don’t want to get their kids vaccinated but still want to send them to state licensed daycares and schools.

This law, which hits the books on New Year’s Day, will not fully go into effect until July, when schools will begin requiring vaccinations for the 2016-17 school year.

The bill was co-authored by State Senator and former Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education Member Ben Allen, who hails from a school district where many students have not been given vaccines.

Rates of PBEs in Malibu schools were up to over 50 percent for some grade levels during the 2012-13 school year. Vaccination rates in the 90th percentile and above are considered necessary to stem infection disease outbreaks, such as the measles.

Statewide minimum wage increase

On Jan. 1, workers across the state will see an increase in minimum wage from $9 to $10 per hour. 

In 2015, the debate over increases in minimum wage made headlines as cities up and down the coast made dramatic increases to their minimum wage thresholds. This included L.A. County Supervisors, who voted to increase wages for workers in unincorporated L.A. County to $13.50 in 2015 and gradually continue increasing until reaching a final minimum wage of $15.79 in 2019.

At the Aug. 10 City Council meeting, council directed staff to write an ordinance for a proposed increase in Malibu to mirror the Board of Supervisors decision, but so far the proposed law has not gone into effect.

“I think for a place like Malibu to go against something like this would not be sending the right message,” Council Member Skylar Peak said at the meeting.

Earbuds must be outwhile driving

Senate Bill 491 includes text prohibiting drivers and cyclists from wearing earbuds, headsets or earplugs in both ears while operating a vehicle. 

The bill, which was passed in the senate in October, and goes into law Jan. 1, states that “A person operating a motor vehicle or bicycle may not wear a headset covering, earplugs in, or earphones covering, resting on, or inserted in, both ears.”

A previous version of the law prohibited only earplugs. There is an exemption to the law for emergency vehicles, trash collectors and specialized construction equipment.

Increase in fees for ballot initiatives

A fee increase for ballot initiatives may seem like a niche issue, but knowing the political fervor of Malibu’s citizens, the law hiking up the cost to propose a new law is a notable change.

The new law passed by the California Assembly, AB 1100, will increase filing fees for proposed ballot initiatives to 10 times the former cost, from $200 to $2,000.

According to the law’s author, “The $200 fee was set in 1943 to cover the administrative costs by the Attorney General to analyze a proposal and prepare a title and summary. According to the Consumer Price Index, the value of $200 today is the equivalent of $14.80 in 1943 dollars. It has been 72 years since this aspect of the initiative process has been updated. This proposal is long overdue.”

Hoverboard safety regulations

Electric skateboards, often called “hoverboards,” are now being regulated by the State of California. According to Assembly Bill 604, riders must be at least 16 years old, wear a helmet and ride on roads with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less.

The newly popular items, officially deemed “electrically motorized boards” by legislators, are now also under the category of vehicles and therefore subject to laws governing operating vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Boards must also be equipped with lights and reflectors similar to those used by bicycles after dark.