New California Laws in 2015 Include Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants, Statewide Plastic Bag Ban

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A California driver’s license is seen in this file photo. (Credit: KTLA)

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Hundreds of new laws will go into effect in California throughout the year in 2015, including one that will allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license starting Friday.

AB 60, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in Oct. 2013, required the Department of Motor Vehicle to begin issuing the driver’s licenses by Jan. 1, 2015.

In order to apply for a license, undocumented immigrants must show proof of California residency, but they do not need to provide a Social Security number, according to the law, which was authored by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville.

Potential drivers would still need to pass a driving test in order to get a license.

Another law being implemented at the start of the year allows law enforcement or family members to get a restraining order that would temporarily bar those deemed dangerous from having a firearm, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The measure was passed in the wake of the Isla Vista shooting and stabbing rampage back in May that claimed the lives of six UC Santa Barbara students and left 13 others wounded.

Also starting on Jan. 1, a landmark proposition concerning animal welfare that was passed by California voters in 2008 goes into effect. It requires eggs laid or sold in the state to come from hens that have enough space to stand, turn around, lie down and stretch their limbs.

Wholesale egg prices could rise as much as 40 percent this year as farmers make the necessary infrastructure changes to comply with the new law, the Times reported.

Another measure going into effect in the new year is SB967, which requires the University of California and California State University schools, along with community colleges, to adopt an affirmative “yes means yes” standard of sexual consent between college students.

“It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others,” the law states. Lack of protest, silence or resistance does not imply consent, according to the measure.

Compliance is necessary for colleges to keep their eligibility for public financial aid funds.

SB 1255 will expand a law designed to combat “revenge porn” and the distribution of nude and sexually explicit images without the person’s consent.

A measure known as “Audrie’s Law” mandates that juveniles convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious victim enter a sex offender treatment program. It would also make their court cases public.

The law is named after Audrie Potts, a 15-year-old Saratoga girl who committed suicide after a group of boys sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious and then distributed images to classmates, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Other laws will be implemented starting July 1, including one that prohibits large grocery stores and pharmacies in California from issuing single-use plastic bags.

The state became the first in the country to ban plastic bags when Gov. Brown signed the measure into law last September. At the time, at least 120 local governments in California had already passed ordinances prohibiting the distribution of single-use plastic bags in supermarkets, pharmacies and liquor stores.

Also beginning in July, a new law — AB 1522 — entitles anyone who works in California for at least 30 days to paid sick leave.

In total, more than 900 laws will go into effect in 2015.

The wide-ranging laws included everything from tapping the California red-legged frog as the official state amphibian, to making Bitcoins and other digital currencies legal in state transactions and barring state entities from displaying the Confederate flag or selling copies of them, according to the Times.

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