Legislators in Sacramento have been busy enacting new laws; in fact, nearly 1,200 of them. You may not be pleased with all of them, especially if you are of the conservative political persuasion. What Sacramento does is important not only to Californians but also to those living in other liberal states which often follow the lead of the nation’s largest.
Beginning in 2020, Californians will be required to have health insurance. The Trump Administration did away with the unpopular individual mandate provision of Obamacare, but Sacramento will go its own way as it often does. Penalties for non-compliers will be assessed starting in 2021 with 2019 tax returns. And speaking of health insurance, California will now provide it to low- income illegal immigrants 25 years old and younger. It already provides it to children living here illegally. This will add to the incentives California so generously offers to attract illegal immigrants and prospective Democrats.
Starting in the school year beginning in August, public school students in grades five and below cannot be suspended for disrupting school activities or even for willfully defying teachers or administrators. Students in grades six through eight cannot be suspended for these reasons for the next five years, I guess to provide enough time to assess the resulting chaos. And some people wonder why nearly every parent who can afford to will seek some alternative to public schools for their children. Schools also will now be required to change student records to reflect name or gender changes, even for former students if the change is reflected on a government-issued ID. They must also re-issue diplomas, transcripts and GEDs in these cases.
The minimum wage will increase by a dollar an hour for California workers in 2020. Employers with more than 25 workers must pay a minimum of $13 per hour and those with fewer than 26 must pay them at least $12 per hour. All must increase the minimum wage they pay by a dollar a year until it reaches $15. Perhaps the legislators in Sacramento haven’t noticed, but businesses that employ low-skill workers in starting jobs like fast-food restaurants and car washes, are already struggling because of the high cost of doing business in California. And to make it just a little harder for them, employers will no longer be able to require current or future employees to agree to arbitration as a condition of employment. Arbitration is a fair, expeditious and comparatively inexpensive way to resolve employee complaints and disputes. Lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming, adding to the cost of doing business, especially in a litigious state like California. Look for employers to toughen background checks in an attempt to screen out potential problem employees which are an employer’s worst nightmare.
Law enforcement officers in the Golden State may face greater dangers because of a new law that prevents the use of deadly force except in the defense of human life. An officer must now make an on-the -spot assessment as to whether lethal force is necessary to prevent loss of human life, delaying his reaction which may actually cause the loss of human life including his or her own and that of innocent victims and bystanders. Considering the constraints that clueless civilians continue to impose upon people who are sworn to protect us and put their lives on the line every day to do so, how can we continue to expect that enough young men and women will still want to pursue that line of work? Oh, and by the way, it’s not enough that California is reducing prison sentences to decrease jail populations, felons can now serve on juries once they’ve completed their sentences.
People are leaving California because of the high cost of living and the lack of affordable housing. The 2020 census will probably result in the loss of one representative from California in Congress due to a population decrease. We also have the nation’s largest homeless population. Legislators just made the problem a little worse by requiring all new homes to have solar panels, adding an estimated $10,000 to the cost of a new home. And continuing its war on fossil fuels, California will not permit any oil drilling projects to install pipelines across state-owned land. Fortunately, there’s still plenty of federally-owned land in California.
But not all the new laws are bad. Some are just a little silly. The legislature also passed a law allowing the consumption of road kill. Enjoy.