Hundreds of new laws will go into effect for the state of California in 2015. Most of the 930 new laws went into effect Jan. 1 while a few others, including a statewide ban on plastic bags and paid sick leave for workers, will go into effect in July.

Several pieces of legislation will mark profound changes for the state of California. Such laws now afford undocumented immigrants and LGBT-identified individuals more rights, rectify the disparity in drug sentencing laws and address the issue of gun control.

Here are some of the laws that will impact California in the upcoming years.

Gun control

AB 1014: Law enforcement and families may now seek gun violence restraining orders that allow firearms to be taken away from individuals deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. The restraining orders would be temporary, with a duration of 21 days. During that time, the individual would be placed on the Department of Justice’s prohibited persons list, banning them from purchasing more firearms. A hearing is also held during that period to decide whether a one-year restraining order should go into effect after the temporary restraining order ends.

SB 505: Law enforcement agencies must now require officers to consult gun ownership records when conducting welfare checks or when they are sent to check on an individual who is believed to be harmed or in danger.


SB 1010: Those convicted of purchasing or possessing crack cocaine with intent to distribute now face the same penalty applied to powder cocaine-related offenses. The law lowers the penalty for the former to match the penalty for the latter, reducing prison sentences from three to five years to two to four.


SB 967: California colleges and universities that receive state funding must now adopt an affirmative consent standard for sexual activity — “yes means yes.” In other words, both parties must actively consent to sex. UCs and CSUs have already adopted similar consent policies, but this law applies to all public and private postsecondary schools that receive state funding, making California the first state to do so.

Undocumented Immigrants

AB 60: Undocumented immigrants may now apply for driver’s licenses. Applicants must submit proof of identity and residency in California. The bill would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to accept various types of documentation for this purpose. The licenses will be marked with “federal limits may apply,” but law enforcement may not use the license to arrest or detain someone based on their immigration status. Immigrants with a state driver’s license, even those who are undocumented, will also be eligible for California’s Low Cost Auto Insurance Program.

SB 1210: Undocumented students will now be eligible to apply for state-funded student loans to attend CSUs and UCs. The bill makes $9.2 million available for UCs and CSUs to offer to undocumented students, who are otherwise ineligible for federal financial aid and private loans.

LGBT Rights

AB 1951: Same-sex couples will have the option of identifying themselves as “father,” “mother” or “parent” on state birth certificates.

AB 1577: Transgender individuals will be able to have the gender they identify with, as opposed to their assigned gender, listed on their death certificates.

Data Mining
SB 828: Unless a warrant is issued, state agencies are otherwise banned from cooperating with federal officials in the collection of computer and phone records.

Paid Sick Leave

AB 1522: Taking place in July, this law will require California employers to offer one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. This will make California the second state in the country after Connecticut to do so.

Confederate Flag

AB 2444: State entities will be banned from displaying or selling the confederate flag, or objects marked with it, unless the image appears in a state museum, book or digital medium for educational purposes.

Hospital Fair Pricing

SB 1276: Californians who are at or below 350 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible for a payment plan if they receive a hospital bill. Their payments would be no more than 10 percent of their income, after taking into account living expenses.

Inmate Sterilization Ban

SB 1135: This will prohibit the sterilization of inmates in state prisons or county jails for the purpose of birth control. The bill prohibits any means of sterilization unless the person consents or is in a life-threatening situation.

Ballot Reform

SB 29: Mail-in ballots no longer have to be received by election day. This bill extends the deadline, allowing mail-in ballots to be received up to three days later as long as they are postmarked on or before Election Day.

SB 1253: The bill requires a 30-day period for public review before approving a proposed initiative and also extends the period for gathering signatures to 180 days from the current 150.

Audrie’s Law

SB 838: Teenagers convicted of sexually assaulting someone in a “defenseless state” will face mandatory sexual offender treatment. The bill is in honor of Audrie Pott, a 15-year-old who was sexually assaulted while unconscious at a party and later committed suicide after photos of her assault were circulated.

Campaign Finance Disclosure Enforcement

AB 800: The California Fair Political Practices Commission (CFPPC) will now have the ability to conduct campaign audits during elections instead of having to wait until the election is over.

Selfie Revenge Porn Rights

SB 1255: The bill expands existing law, making it a misdemeanor to publicly distribute nude photos of another person without permission, even if the photo was originally taken by the subject.

Student Punishment

AB 420: School districts cannot expel or suspend students in grades K-3 for “willfully defying” the authority of supervisors, teachers, administrators or other school personnel. It will cease to be effective on July 1, 2018.2015-law.psd