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New California Laws for 2015

Dec 29, 2014 10:05AM ● By Jennifer Neys

Below are a few of the laws that will go into effect on January 1.

Education: All public high schools will be required to submit grade point averages electronically for each graduating senior to the California Student Aid Commission to increase the number of students who receive Cal Grant award offers for higher education. Students or schools failing to send GPA information is among the more common reasons students don’t receive Cal Grants.

Groundwater: California will begin the long process of regulating groundwater for the first time in the state’s history under three new laws that require local agencies to create sustainable groundwater management plans to ensure priority basins are sustainable by 2040.

School pesticides: Parents will have the right to know what pesticides are used at K-12 schools and many licensed child care centers. Pesticides can be used on school campuses to get rid of cockroaches, vermin and weeds, but the new law will make chemical pesticides a last resort and increase disclosures of what is used.

Plastic bags: Later this year, California will begin phasing out single-use plastic bags. The statewide ban goes into effect July 1 in grocery stores and pharmacies and a year later in convenience stores and liquor stores. The state became the first in the nation to ban single-use plastic bags, although many cities and counties in California already have bans in place.

Paid sick leave: Millions of Californians will begin earning paid sick leave under a law that takes effect in July. Largely affecting retail, fast food and other service-industry jobs that don’t offer sick leave benefits to full-time or part-time employees, the law will allow workers to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

California became the second in the nation to require the benefit, after Connecticut.

Kill switches: Smartphones manufactured after July 1 and sold in California must come pre-equipped with antitheft technology that allows the owner to temporarily or permanently render the phone inoperable if stolen or lost. Consumers would be prompted to enable the kill switch as the default setting during the initial setup of a new smartphone. Consumers can opt out if they choose.