New 2016 California laws take effect: What you need to know staff KABC logo
Saturday, January 2, 2016
New 2016 California laws take effect
A new law in California requires that certain airsoft BB guns and pellet guns come with bright markings to distinguish them from real firearms.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As Southern Californians rang in the new year, they also rang in a new set of laws.

  • SB 491 will make it illegal to wear earbuds or headsets in both ears while driving a vehicle or riding a bicycle.
  • Riders on electric skateboards must be 16 years or older, wear helmets and ride on roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less. Under AB 604, it will also be against the law to ride an electric skateboard while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • The state's emergency alert system, typically used as Amber Alerts in child-abduction cases, will be used to broadcast a "Yellow Alert" to find hit-and-run drivers in incidents that result in death or major injuries. AB 8 written by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) takes effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
  • AB 10 will raise California's minimum wage to $10 an hour from $9 an hour, well above the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. Several legislative and ballot initiative proposals will push for a $15 an hour minimum wage as early as 2020.
  • Under AB 202, cheerleaders for professional sports teams will be entitled to minimum wage under a new law that requires teams to classify them as workers instead of contractors. The law also provides them with sick leave, overtime pay and other labor protections available to team staff. The law is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.
  • SB 61 grants a one-year extension to a pilot project in Los Angeles County aimed at curtailing drunken driving through use of ignition interlock devices that test the sobriety of drivers. Drivers must blow into the devices in order to start their vehicles. If their blood-alcohol concentration exceeds a certain level, the vehicles won't start.
  • SB 277 will prohibit parents from seeking vaccine exemptions for their children because of religious or personal beliefs.
  • The hotly contested SB 277 will take effect on July 1, 2016 and will impose one of the strictest vaccination laws in the country. The bill, sponsored by Democratic Sens. Richard Pan of Sacramento and Ben Allen of Santa Monica, will only allow children with serious health problems to opt out of school-mandated vaccinations. School-age children who remain unvaccinated will need to be home-schooled.
  • Under AB 1014, the state will allow family members to ask a judge to remove firearms from a relative who appears to pose a threat. Democrats proposed the legislation in response to a deadly 2014 rampage near the University of California, Santa Barbara. Victims' relatives said the parents of 22-year-old Elliot Rodger were blocked from seeking help for their troubled son before the rampage.
  • SB 199 requires that certain airsoft BB guns and pellet guns come with bright markings to distinguish them from real firearms.
  • SB 707 extends a ban on concealed weapons at K-12 schools and community colleges, removing an exemption that previously allowed people with concealed weapons permits to carry firearms on school grounds.
  • SB 358 will allow female employees to allege pay discrimination based on the wages a company pays to other employees who do substantially similar work. The Fair Pay Act stipulates employers can justify higher wages for men only if the pay is based on seniority, a merit system, quantity or quality of production or any other "bona fide factor other than sex."
  • AB 775, otherwise known as the Reproductive FACT Act, will require pregnancy clinics to hand out or plainly post information about where women can obtain low-cost contraceptives, prenatal care and abortions. The bill, which was sponsored by Attorney General Kamala Harris, takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.
  • SB 178 will require law enforcement officers to obtain a search warrant before they can obtain emails, text messages, online history and other digital data from suspects.
  • The law requiring slow-moving passenger vehicles to pull over safely to let traffic pass has been amended to apply to all vehicles. AB 208 will now also apply to bicycles.
  • Under AB 1422, ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft will have to participate in a DMV program and regularly monitor the records of drivers.
  • Visit for more information.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.