Animal programs

Animal welfare, police reform among new state laws

CALIFORNIA — Each year, state legislators send hundreds of bills to the governor in the hope that they will be enacted.

Many fail and fall victim to the state’s lengthy legislative process. But last year, 770 bills became law, and many came into force on January 1.

Here are some new laws that will affect the lives of Californians in various ways.

Lawmakers’ Enclosed Animal Welfare Act

Approved by voters in 2018 by a 63% majority, this law requires farmers to provide space for animals such as pigs, calves and chickens to roll over and lie down – roughly 24 square feet of space. space.

The law also prohibits the sale of animals that do not benefit from this right.

Those who do not comply can face fines of up to $ 1,000 and up to 180 days in jail.

Supporters including the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said the rules bring a measure of compassion to an industry that confines animals to small cages for their entire lives.

But critics, including the National Pork Producers and the American Farm Bureau Federation, say the rules will shake up the industry.

According to National Hog Farmer, the industry’s news source, almost all of the pork currently produced in the United States does not meet California standards. Californians account for 13% of the country’s pork consumption and import 99.87% of the pork consumed.

This organization estimates that meeting the new state standards will cost billions of dollars, which will almost certainly be passed on to consumers, who may very well see less pork products on grocery store shelves.

Two lawsuits so far have failed to stop the law, but in November a group comprising grocery stores, restaurants and industry groups filed a lawsuit asking for a 28-month delay.

Raise the bar

California became the first state to impose a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour for companies with more than 26 employees and $ 14 for those with fewer. This is part of Senate Bill 3, which became law in 2018.

Washington, DC, as well as several cities, have already reached this milestone.

Hang up and drive

Under Assembly Bill 47, anyone caught using a cell phone while driving for the second time in 36 months will have a point added to their driver’s record, which could increase the cost of driving. assurance.

Giddyap

Young mule drivers beware: Assembly bill 974 requires you and anyone under the age of 18 and of the same amount riding a horse or donkey on a paved highway, to wear a helmet. . In addition, nighttime mule riding requires a flashlight and / or reflective gear.

But those who ride these mounts at a parade or festival – or cross a paved highway from an unpaved highway – need not fear, as they are exempt from these requirements.

What could possibly go wrong?

With Senate Bill 389, Senator Bill Dodd extended our ability to purchase takeout alcoholic beverages from restaurants through 2026.

Police reform

There are several new laws that affect the procedures and standards of police officers.

Assembly Bill 48 prohibits police from using rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse crowds during protests. Assembly Bill 490 prohibits police from using restraint and transportation methods that carry “a substantial risk of positional asphyxiation”, such as carotid restraints and strangulations. And Assembly Bill 89 raises the minimum age for becoming a police officer from 18 to 21.

On the road

Under Assembly Bill 798, any vehicle owned or operated by a federally recognized Indian tribe is considered an authorized emergency vehicle when responding to an emergency call, fire, ambulance or rescue.

Senate Bill 287 allows Class C drivers to tow trailers weighing between 10,001 pounds and 15,000 pounds – or gross vehicle weight with a fifth wheel and king pin or neck connection swan mounted on bed – as long as the trailer is used exclusively for recreational purposes.

Guardians of the Finders

Senate Bill 395 is a pilot program that will eventually allow people to collect road-killed deer, elk, American antelopes and wild pigs for consumption. However, that requires first reporting it and somehow obtaining a permit, a process that has yet to be put in place. So for now, leave these animals where they rest.

Reduce waste

Assembly Bill 1276 prohibits restaurants from handing out single-use items such as spoons and condiments unless a customer requests them.

Bathroom breaks

Under Assembly Bill 701, large warehouse retailers such as Amazon cannot fire workers who miss quotas due to rest periods and washroom breaks.

Community college

Assembly Bills 928 and 1111 facilitate the transfer of community college students to California State University and University of California institutions by streamlining courses and admission requirements.

Vote by mail

Assembly Bill 37 establishes a permanent requirement for every voter in California to receive a mail-in ballot.

Hate crimes

Assembly Bill 600 adds immigrant status to the definition of nationality, so crimes that target people based on their nationality can now be considered hate crimes.