Tag Archives: California Trends

CA Allows Driverless Cars

This week the California Department of Motor Vehicles approved new rules that would allow self-driving cars to hit the road without a human behind the wheel at all.

These regulations, which take effect on April 2, 2018, will pave the way for companies like Waymo, Uber, GM, and others to continue autonomous vehicle testing on the roads of the Golden State and likely will lead to the technology becoming mainstream.

In 2014, California was the first state to have rules for testing autonomous vehicles on public streets. But many felt that those regulations were too restrictive and unable to adapt to a technology that is rapidly maturing. As a result, testing programs have flourished in other states, like Arizona.

“This is a major step forward for autonomous technology in California,” DMV Director Jean Shiomoto said. Safety is our top concern and we are ready to begin working with manufacturers that are prepared to test fully driverless vehicles in California.”

Among other requirements imposed as part of the permitting process, companies must show that there is a link for remote control, allowing the car to be operated from afar.

Autonomous vehicle makers must also provide a “law enforcement action plan” that includes instructions as to how to contact the remote human operator and how to disengage the AV mode, among other requirements. The rules do not say what type of data law enforcement will be able to access from AVs. Consumer Watchdog, a group that has routinely opposed AV technology, slammed the new rules this week. “A remote test operator will be allowed to monitor and attempt to control the robot car from afar,” said John M. Simpson, the group’s privacy project director. “It will be just like playing a video game, except lives will be at stake.”

 

Legal Marijuana Approved on Election Day

To add to the growing list of states that allow either medical marijuana or recreational use of marijuana, the following states voted on November 4, 2014 to modify how marijuana is treated:

OREGON: Voters passed Measure 91 which legalizes the possession, use and sale of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over, joining Colorado and Washington state.  The law will also create a regulatory scheme for the production, distribution and sale of marijuana.

ALASKA: Voters approved Measure 2 which legalized the possession, use and sale of recreational marijuana. Adults 21 and older may possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants for personal use. The measure also legalizes the manufacture, sale and possession of marijuana paraphernalia.  Consequently, Alaska now joins the legal recreational marijuana bandwagon.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Voters approved Initiative 71 which legalizes adult marijuana use, possession of up to 2 ounces, and home cultivation of up to six marijuana plants for personal use.  However, the sale of marijuana remains illegal.  The Council of D.C. is considering a separate bill that would allow for the regulation and taxation of marijuana sales similar to Colorado and Washington state.

MAINE: Voters in South Portland, the fourth-largest city in the state, approved a measure that removes all legal penalties for possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana by adults.  Maine’s largest city, Portland, already legalized recreational marijuana last year.

NEW MEXICO: Voters in New Mexico’s Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties overwhelmingly approved the decriminalization of marijuana in nonbinding ballot questions meant to measure support.

CALIFORNIA: Proposition 47 passed reclassifying most non-serious and non-violent property and drug crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor.  This means that felonies like shoplifting and drug possession will be reduced to misdemeanors.

OHIO: Medical marijuana is now legal in Ohio and there are now ohio medical marijuana dispensaries but you have to have the required medical conditions to purchase it.

FLORIDA: While Amendment 2, which would have legalized medical marijuana in the state failed to pass, it did get 57 percent approval at the ballot. However, the measure required 60 percent to pass.

TEXAS: medical marijuana in texas is legal but you have to get it for epilepsy treatment only and there are a few legal loop holes you have to jump through to even get it then.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from the site, the clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts, or settlements. The Tucker Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.

 

California: Water Overpromised

California over the last century has issued water rights that amount to roughly five times the state’s average annual runoff, according to new research that highlights a chronic imbalance between supply and demand. There are simply more rights than water. University of California researchers say their study is the most comprehensive review to date of the enormous gap between natural surface flows and allocations.

 Of 27 major California rivers, rights on 16 of them exceed natural runoff. Among the most over-allocated are the San Joaquin, Kern and Stanislaus rivers in the San Joaquin Valley and the Santa Ynez River in Southern California. What does this mean? It gives water agencies and irrigation districts with junior rights access to additional supplies during wet years, when runoff is above average and there is plenty to go around. But in reality, study co-author Joshua Viers said, it fosters unrealistic expectations for water that is often not available. “It gives the public a false sense of water security,” said Viers, a UC Merced professor of water resources.

The study, published online in the journal Environmental Research Letters, analyzed public data from the State Water Resources Control Board, which administers California water rights and compared it with estimates of natural surface flow. While the annual statewide flow averages 70 million acre feet, water rights issued since 1914 allocate 370 million acre feet. (An acre foot of water is sufficient to supply two households for a year.)

“What is the most compelling about this,” Viers said, is “that the appropriated rights are so much more than the actual full natural flow. In many cases, we’ve 5 to 10 times over-promised.” Additionally, the data base does not account for riparian rights granted to streamside landowners or pre-1914 rights, under which some irrigation districts and cities claim huge amounts of water. In the matter of 19th century rights, the state does not know exactly who is entitled to what. “So in many ways our estimate is a substantial underestimate of the total volume of rights,” he said.

 “We’re not lacking in technology and know-how,“ said Viers, who argued that the state is short on funding and “the political will” to develop information and monitoring systems to strengthen water rights oversight. “We need both better information infrastructure and policy in order to make better decisions about water use in California,” he said. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from the site, the clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts, or settlements. The Tucker Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.

New CA Restrictions on More Than 10 Round Magazine Firearms

The signing into law of AB 48 in California adds “buying” and “receiving” to the list of activities prohibited under Penal Code Section 32310(a), which already prohibits the manufacture, importation, sale, offering for sale, giving, or lending of any standard-capacity magazine greater than ten rounds (“large-capacity magazine”).  The provisions of this new law take effect on January 1, 2014.

AB 48 also defines manufacturing as “both fabricating a magazine and assembling a magazine from a combination of parts, including but not limited to, the body, spring, follower, and floor plate or end plate, to be a fully-functioning “large-capacity magazine.”

Moreover, AB 48 bans the purchase, sale, offering for sale, giving, receiving and lending of any “large-capacity magazine” “conversion kit.”  It defines a “conversion kit” as “a device or combination of parts of a fully functioning “large-capacity magazine,” including, but not limited to, the body, spring, follower, and floor plate or end plate, capable of converting an ammunition feeding device into a ‘large-capacity magazine’.”  The new law also prohibits magazine extenders.

Finally, it appears that so-called “rebuild kits” are prohibited under AB 48 because the parts contained in a magazine rebuild kit are capable of being used with one or more parts of an ammunition feeding device to assemble a large-capacity magazine and thus fall under AB 48.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from the site, the clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts, or settlements. The Tucker Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.

 

 

CA Experiments With Electronic License Plates

California Governor Jerry Brown just signed into law legislation that would authorize a pilot program allowing a tiny fraction of vehicles in the state to switch to electronic license plates.  The bill, SB 806, is meant to test out whether “alternatives to the stickers, tabs, license plates, and registration cards” usually used by the Department of Motor Vehicles could result in cost savings for the state.

The new plates could theoretically display relevant information like whether tags are expired, Amber alerts, or even “Stolen” warnings — such updates could be sent wirelessly to the vehicle.  The bill’s analysis also mentions a company called “Smart Plate Mobile” which has interest in plates that can display ads, although the bill does not allow for ads during the test phase. Smart Plate Corporation, not coincidentally, is founded by the same two men who founded another connected car company claiming it has a “patent-pending Platform-as-a-Service mobility solution delivers messaging, telematics, and electronic fee collection functionality.”

The pilot program is limited to no more than half a percent of all vehicles, and reportedly will be tested primarily with companies that have large fleets such as UPS or FedEx.  However, the program does raise privacy concerns as the plates could also potentially relay location information back to the government. The bill includes a provision preventing that, requiring that the Department of Motor Vehicles “not receive or retain any information generated during the pilot program regarding the movement, location, or use of a vehicle participating in the pilot program.”  Even so, some are concerned about any kind of location tracking and express the need to monitor this issue.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from the site, the clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts, or settlements. The Tucker Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.

 

CA Governor Signs AB 1309 Into Law

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill that will prevent many professional athletes from filing workers’ compensation claims in California.  The bill, AB 1309, extends to athletes who played for teams outside of California or had limited experience playing on California teams. They will no longer be able to make claims for cumulative trauma.  Recently, thousands of athletes who played for teams filed these claims in California because its workers’ compensation system recognized cumulative trauma.  Also, the state’s statute of limitations had a provision allowing some workers to file years or even decades after retirement because the statute did not begin to run until the athlete was notified of his right to file a claim – a step frequently left undone.  Some players filed after playing only one or a few games in California over the course of their careers.

Backers of the bill, including the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and the other major sports leagues, argued that such filings were overly costly and that the athletes should be filing in their home states.  “This new law sets reasonable standards to close an expensive loophole unique to California and to professional sports,” Dennis Kuhl, chairman of the Los Angeles Angels baseball team, said in a statement.  Opponents, among them the players’ unions and organized labor, argued that it unfairly excludes one class of workers from the state’s system.  Flight attendants and truck drivers – who also spend time in California, though they may not be employed in the state – will still be allowed to file such claims.  Although some high-profile athletes, including Deion Sanders and Juan Gonzalez, have made such claims, data reveals that most claims were filed by lesser-known professionals including many who played only in the minor leagues.  The new law applies only to football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey and soccer players and is effective retroactively to Sept. 15.  AB 1309 passed overwhelmingly in both houses of the state legislature, garnering only five “no” votes in its final version. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from the site, the clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts, or settlements. The Tucker Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.

 

 

CA Gov. Signs Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

On September 26, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 241, the so-called domestic workers bill of rights, into law for the State of California. 

Existing law regulates the wages, hours, and working conditions of any man, woman, and minor employed in any occupation, trade, or industry, whether compensation is measured by time, piece, or otherwise. It also creates the Industrial Welfare Commission and authorizes it to adopt rules, regulations, and orders to ensure that employers comply with those provisions.  The Commission regulates wages, hours, and working conditions for household occupations but makes violations of certain of these provisions a misdemeanor.

The new law enacts the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights to, until January 1, 2017, regulate the hours of work of certain domestic work employees and provide an overtime compensation rate for those employees. It would define various terms for the purposes of the act, including defining domestic work to mean services related to the care of persons in private households or maintenance of private households or their premises, which would include childcare providers, caregivers of people with disabilities, sick, convalescing, or elderly persons, house cleaners, housekeepers, maids, and other household occupations. Until January 1, 2017, the Governor would be required to convene a committee to study and report on the effects of the act.  By expanding the definition of a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program, although no reimbursement is required.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from the site, the clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts, or settlements. The Tucker Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.

 

CA Raises Minimum Wage

Lawmakers voted last week to send a measure boosting California’s minimum wage to Governor Jerry Brown, who signed it yesterday.  AB 10 increases the minimum wage, after July 1, 2014, to $9 per hour and further increases it, after January 1, 2016, to $10 per hour. 

Some lawmakers recounted growing up in households supported by parents making the legal minimum. Others sought to refute a common argument that minimum wage jobs largely go to young people just entering the workforce, speaking of constituents working multiple minimum-wage jobs.

“This bill is a modest down payment that is predictable and that makes huge differences in the lives of those who get the increase,” said Assembly Speaker John A Pérez, D-Los Angeles. “It is easy for those in the room who make $90,000 a year plus to discount the struggle of those who are getting by on minimum wage.”

The legislation drew disapproval from legislators who said a minimum wage hike would hobble businesses and stunt economic growth in California, whose unemployment rate is higher than the national average.

“If we really want to create jobs for our residents in California we need to listen to employers,” said Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R- Chino Hills. “What can we do to get them to be competitive with other states and each other to attract people to California?”

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from the site, the clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts, or settlements. The Tucker Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.

 

CA Will Raise Minimum Wage

Lawmakers voted last week to send a measure boosting California’s minimum wage to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has already promised his signature.  AB 10 would increase the minimum wage, after July 1, 2014, to $9 per hour.  The bill would further increase the minimum wage, after January 1, 2016, to $10 per hour.  

Some lawmakers recounted growing up in households supported by parents making the legal minimum. Others sought to refute a common argument that minimum wage jobs largely go to young people just entering the workforce, speaking of constituents working multiple minimum-wage jobs.

“This bill is a modest down payment that is predictable and that makes huge differences in the lives of those who get the increase,” said Assembly Speaker John A Pérez, D-Los Angeles. “It is easy for those in the room who make $90,000 a year plus to discount the struggle of those who are getting by on minimum wage.”

The legislation drew disapproval from legislators who said a minimum wage hike would hobble businesses and stunt economic growth in California, whose unemployment rate is higher than the national average.

“If we really want to create jobs for our residents in California we need to listen to employers,” said Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R- Chino Hills. “What can we do to get them to be competitive with other states and each other to attract people to California?”

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from the site, the clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts, or settlements. The Tucker Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.

 

CA Senate Amends Workers’ Comp Legislation For Athletes

Thousands of professional athletes from around the country are seeking medical care or money through California’s workers’ compensation system for brain trauma and other injuries suffered on the playing field.  Most of these claims come from former pro football players, brought by superstars such as Joe Theismann, Tony Dorsett and Earl Campbell, as well as practice squad players.  The claims represent a huge financial risk for National Football League teams. Research suggests that repeated head trauma from violent contact can lead to dementia, Parkinson’s disease and other incurable conditions.  Now the NFL and five other professional sports leagues are close to limiting their liability drastically for such workers’ comp claims. They have lobbied for state legislation that would bar athletes who played for out-of-state teams from filing in California.

Workers’ compensation is a system of employer-funded private insurance that offers medical care and monetary awards to injured workers, who give up their right to sue in civil court. States administer these programs, determining whether claimed injuries are legitimate and, if so, the degree of severity.  Supporters of the bill, mostly the leagues, insurance companies and individual teams, say that a small group of lawyers specializing in athlete claims is clogging California’s workers’ compensation program with filings, making it harder for the state’s other workers to get their cases heard.  However, state data show that cumulative claims by out-of-state athletes represent about one half of 1% of all filings in the state since 2006.  Settlements or awards, as well as medical care, are paid out entirely by the teams or their insurers, not taxpayers.

 The state Senate amended the bill, AB 1309, last week. The Assembly has approved it.  With nearly 4,000 pending claims from former players, the total cost of football-related injuries in California could approach $1 billion.  Many out-of-state athletes file for benefits in California because they cannot do so anywhere else. The statute of limitations is much less restrictive in California than in other states, and injuries suffered over an extended period, including brain trauma, are covered. The state also requires employers to notify employees of their right to file for benefits for workplace injuries, something sports teams frequently failed to do. As a result, the one-year statute of limitations does not apply to many athletes, some of whom filed claims decades after their careers ended.  AB 1309 applies only to players from five team sports: football, baseball, ice hockey, basketball and soccer.

 Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from the site, the clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts, or settlements. The Tucker Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.