New Laws for the New Year

Effective January 1st, hundreds of new laws went into effect. Some you may have heard about, but others possibly not.

Several of the new laws impact veterans. Among these are legislation that makes honorably discharged veterans exempt from paying state or local business license fees for selling or providing services, if the veteran is sole proprietor. Another law exempts automotive adaptive equipment sold to veterans with service-connected disabilities from sales and use taxes. Pro bono civil legal assistance for veterans has been enhanced, and animal adoption fees at shelters for veterans adopting emotional support animals will now be waived.
Public safety will also be impacted. Human trafficking convictions are now included in the list of crimes that disqualify persons from driving for rideshare companies, and the statute of limitations for felony domestic violence has increased from three to five years. The statute of limitations to file a claim for employment sexual harassment was also extended from one to three years. On the other hand, earlier parole eligibility is now possible for murderers, rapists and other felons who were under 26 at the time of their crimes, and convicted felons may now serve on civil and criminal juries after completing their sentences.
California’s gig economy will be heavily affected by the law prohibiting or severely restricting independent contracting. A long list of exemptions for lawyers, accountants, engineers, some health professionals and many others was written into the law. Other, less well-connected occupations like rideshare drivers, independent truckers and newspaper freelancers did not get exemptions. New legislation to try to remedy all this is under consideration, and lawsuits and ballot initiatives are planned or underway.
For better or worse, these are just a few of the new laws that we will be living with in 2020.