It’s always interesting to see what new laws are enacted at the start of the new year. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they make you chuckle, and sometimes they just make you wonder what is wrong with this world that we need a law for that! Here’s a round-up of new laws in California that affect our children and families:
California state law currently requires parents to keep their kids in booster seats until they reach the age of 6 or weigh at least 60 pounds. The new law does away with the weight limit and requires children to stay in booster seats until they hit 8 years old or 4 feet, 9 inches tall – a height that very few children will reach before that age.
While the new requirement is likely to provoke a collective shriek from children throughout the state, child safety experts say the change is for their own good. Studies show booster seat use for children ages 4 through 7 decreases the risk of injury by nearly 60 percent compared with seat belt use alone.
Ummm, what? This wasn’t already a “thing” before this law? You could actually sell expired formula and baby food? For babies to eat? Legally?
Yes, and apparently you can still do it around the country as there is no federal law against selling expired formula or baby food. There are, of course, requirements to show the expiration date, but there is not a law against selling it past that date. They know that babies can’t read, right? I’m kidding, kind of. Because you know who else is a little fuzzy on details? New moms and dads who have been up all night with a baby.
I doubt I ever looked at an expiration date when I purchased food or formula. I trusted the retailer to not sell me expired formula that could result in a decrease in nutrition and negatively affect my baby’s brain development. Seems like a reasonable expectation. Except many large retailers have been busted selling the expired junk. Which is how this bill got passed in California in the first place — too many stores were doing this. Scary, huh?
On the subject of child actors, they could be noticeably more pallid in the coming year. A another law goes into effect preventing minors from using indoor tanning facilities. Citing the growing number of melanoma cases in California, the World Health Organization pushed to prevent even parental permission from getting minors in the doors of tanning salons. California is now the first state in the country to ban tanning completely to anyone under 18 years of age.
One new law that will take effect next year is SB 299, by Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), which will require employers with at least five employees to maintain group health insurance coverage for women who take maternity leave for up to four months. Under the measure, businesses will have to provide benefits at the same level as if the employee were working during the leave.
The new measure expands current law, which requires employers with at least 50 employees to provide benefits for women who take pregnancy leave for a maximum of 12 weeks.
Susan Kemp — senior employment law counsel at the California Chamber of Commerce — said that not all women will necessarily receive the maximum four-month coverage period because a woman’s health care provider will determine how long her leave will last.
SB 48 – CALIFORNIA GAY HISTORY – Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco)
Governor Brown signed the Gay History Law, which requires that school textbooks and social studies include gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender accomplishments. It is the first law in the nation requiring that public schools include gay rights milestones and gay and lesbian contributions in social studies lessons.
The bill’s author — State Senator Mark Leno — hailed Brown’s signature on SB 48 as a step toward teaching tolerance. Supporters say the legislation will teach students to be more accepting of gays and lesbians in light of the bullying that happens to gay students.
AB 1349 – PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIPS – Assemblyman Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo)
This legislation permits California courts to consider the relationship between a child and a non-biological parent when considering child rights cases involving birth parents, adoptive parents, and gay or lesbian guardians.
This bill ensures that California’s parentage laws continue to protect and preserve children’s established family relationships.