Several New Laws Take Effect in California Today

Koehler Urges Higher Gas Prices

A series of new laws are scheduled to take effect in California today, including a new gas tax as well as a requirment for gun shops to conduct background checks on anyone buying ammunition.

The ammunition law, approved by voters in 2016, calls for a background check every time a person buys ammunition and requires all sales transactions to be conducted in a face-to-face manner. Online orders will be shipped to a licensed vendor's store where customers will be allowed to pick up their ammunition.

Vendors are required to make sure their customers aren't on a list curated by the Justice Department that shows people who are not allowed to purchase guns, such as convicted felons.

Another law taking effect today is an additional tax on gas for California commuters. Gas prices are now about a nickel higher, meaning the Golden State can boast the most expensive gas in the country. The gas tax jumped by an additional five-and-a-half-cents per gallon, as part of a law passed in 2017 by voters to raise about $5 billion per year for highway, freeway, and bridge repairs. Other projects, like pedestrian and bicycle paths are also part of the infrastructure iniative.

After today's gas tax increase, Californians will pay more than 47-cents per gallon.

One woman said the high gas prices in the state are already affecting her habits.

"Instead of going to enjoy the beach after work, I would choose not to go because it's extra mileage," Angelee Valdivia said.

However, other commuters say they're hoping the new influx of funds means better bicycle and pedestrian paths, as well as the other road improvements that have been promised.

"Providing bike lanes and things like that is an awesome idea, if they actually use the money to do that, I like riding my bike instead of driving," Javier Hernandez said.

Another law kicking in today will see California become the first state to require doctors to notify patients if they have been put on probation for serious misconduct, including sexual misconduct with patients. The measure was passed following news that USA Gymnastics athletes had been abused by their team doctor, Larry Nassar.

Hospitals will also need to have a written homeless patient discharge planning policy as well as log those homeless patients who are discharged and where they are released in an effort to prevent so-called "patient-dumping."

Turning online, California has also made it illegal for any residents to purchase or use a social media bot with a fake identity to buy or otherwise influence votes. Bots must be clearly identified by anyone using them, the law states.

All California cannabis convictions must now be reviewed to see if they're eligible for reduction or expunge after voters approved recreational marijuana in 2016.

Finally, another new law will require law enforcement agencies to release body camera footage from incidents with a death or injury within 45-days.

Photo: Getty Images

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