Below are a few of the new laws that became effective January 1, 2015. For those of you who have employees, there are a myriad of new record keeping requirements and I would suggest that you consult an employment lawyer who represents employers.

LAWS THAT EFFECT OUR DAILY LIVES

Background Checks on Tutors

The companies that provide tutors for children must make the process by which the company checks the backgrounds of the tutors it hires to parents.

Commercial Automobile Insurance For “Ride Providers”

If you provide a ride for members of the public as a driver for a company such as “Uber”, then the company must provide commercial insurance for the car in addition to any private insurance the driver has on his or her own car.

Criminal Law

Now, a prisoner can obtain a DNA test if the results will be relevant to the prisoner’s case. No longer is it required that the results would prove innocence.

Digital Currency

Digital Currency (think Bitcoin) will now be acceptable as legal tender in California.

Elder Abuse Timeline

Financial elder abuse occurs at the time of the act of taking property of the elder with the intent to defraud or taking property of the elder through undue influence.

Elder Care Facilities Safety

Elder care facilities must correct any licensing deficiencies within ten days of the notice of the deficiency by the licensing agency.

Electronic Signatures

In order for an “electronic signature” to be valid, there must be “intent” by the signatory shown. Thus, simply the printed name as part of an email may be insufficient as a “signature”.

Employer Requirements

Among the multiple new requirements for employers, there is a requirement that at least three sick days be provided for any employee who works full time. The calculation of the accrual of this time is complicated and any employer should consult with an employment attorney who represents employers.

Additionally, if an employer uses staffing agencies for temporary workers, the employer is jointly responsible to make sure the employee’s withheld taxes have been paid. Again, any employer using staffing agencies should consult with an employment attorney who represents employers to discuss how to protect the employer.

Environment

Fracking (oil “drilling” with water) operations must now disclose water usage.

Government

The time to prosecute public officials for misconduct has been extended and the public official may no longer use campaign funds for the payment of any fine imposed.

Immigration

An undocumented person no longer needs a social security number to obtain a professional license. In fact, just last month, the first undocumented lawyer was sworn in to practice in California.

Notarized Documents

On the acknowledgment and jurat forms, there now appears language to confirm that a notary does NOT verify any of the contents of the document, but only that the identity of the person who signed the document before the notary.

Privacy

Photographers may no longer obtain pictures or sounds using drones unless that picture or sound could have been obtained without the use of the drone and without invading privacy of a family engaged in private activity. (Think the celebrity photo in the celebrity’s home or while on vacation with family.)

Public Safety

A family of a person believed to be dangerous can seek an order preventing the dangerous family member from possessing a firearm for at least 21 days, even if no violent action has occurred.

Toy guns must now look like toys and be brightly colored so authorities will not confuse them with real weapons.

Real Property

The sale of commercial property is now subject to the same types of disclosure to the buyer by the seller as in residential sales.

When recording a deed, the transfer tax must be shown on the face of the deed.

Single Use Plastic Bags

The laws are expanding over what businesses my no longer provide singe use plastic bags.

Smartphone Protection

As of July 1, 2015, all smartphones must have a mechanism by which it can be rendered inoperative by its owner if the smartphone is lost.

Social Media and Data Schools May Collect About Your Children

Schools may only collect information about your child or school safety and must allow parents to see what has been collected and correct inaccuracies.

Social Media Reviews

One who posts a negative review of a business on social media cannot be sued for the post.