California already has a lot of great things going for it: an affable climate, the largest economy in America and my amazing eyebrow threader lives here. If you thought all that was too good to be true, just wait. On January 1st, 2017, California will introduce a new series of laws making the Golden State state even more chill and Eden-like than you ever dreamed.
I am completely unabashed in my desire to only ever live in so-called liberal bastions and California fits the bill. We make movies out here! That’s pretty cool. California also grows and produces most of the food Americans eat and, more importantly, accounts for 90% of American wine production. Recently, our lawmakers have publicly vowed to do their best to keep Trump’s punk ass in check, particularly when it comes to immigration.
Does it sound like I have a crush? I think I have a crush.
The Los Angeles Times broke down all the new state laws which range from the deeply practical to the downright delightful and ensure that I will do my best not to step foot off this soil for the next four years.
For starters, we’re gettin’ in that equal pay bandwagon.
Employers are prohibited from paying women less than male colleagues based on prior salary. Workers in “substantially similar” jobs but of different race or ethnicity will also need to be paid equal wages.
California also increased the minimum wage for a company with 26 or more employees from $10 to $10.50.
You know how those Los Angelenos love their cars! Well, legislators are doing their best to ensure that fewer of us die in stupid, preventable car accidents.
The state’s ban on texting while driving expands to include other distractions, such as searching for “Pokemon Go” characters.
(Raise your hand if you completely forgot Pokemon Go was this year.)
California will continue efforts to keep Uber and Lyft in check.
Companies including Uber and Lyft can no longer hire drivers who are registered sex offenders, have been convicted of violent felonies or have had a DUI conviction within the last seven years.
Though it’s pretty crazy that that wasn’t already a law or a standard practice by both organizations!
The state also passed a number of new laws pertaining to sexual assault.
Inspired by the sexual assault allegations against comedian Bill Cosby, California eliminated statutes of limitations for rape and some other sex crimes. That means if a crime happens after Dec. 31, 2016, the victim can report it at any point in the future and see it prosecuted; previous law generally limited prosecution to within 10 years.
Should it have taken everyone’s former favorite pudding-pop salesman to pass a fairly common-sense law about sexual assault? No it should not! Still!
Here is another shitty man who inspired a not-shitty law.
In response to outrage over the six-month sentence for sexual assault given to former Stanford student Brock Turner, prison time will be mandatory for those convicted of assault in which the victim was unconscious or not capable of giving consent because of intoxication.
Granted, sexual assault when someone is unconscious is not necessarily more deserving of punishment than an assault where the victim is awake, but sure.
Lawmakers in California are at least pretending to give a shit that people are constantly being mowed down by assault rifles.
People will no longer be able to buy semi-automatic rifles that have a bullet button allowing removal of the ammunition magazine, commonly used in mass shootings. Those that have such weapons will have to register them with the state.
When it comes to LGBTQ rights, California does not take a cue from the former democracy of North Carolina.
Bathrooms in public buildings with a single toilet must be designated as all-gender, open to anyone. The law will take effect March 1.
The state can’t fund or require public employees to travel to states believed to discriminate against lesbians, gays, bisexual or transgender people.
Hey ladies, are you the type that likes to buy the double pack of toothpaste, not because you need that much toothpaste at once, but because while you’re at Target, you might as well get two so you won’t have to come back for toothpaste in a couple months?
Perfect. Now you can pick up all your birth control too.
Women can pick up an entire year’s worth of birth control pills at once, and health plans must cover the cost.
We are now giving people an excellent alibi in case you happen to break into someone’s car.
Want to save an animal trapped in a car in heat or cold? As long as you call authorities first, you won’t be held legally liable for breaking into the car.
And the objectification of Shamu and all his friends ain’t welcome here no more.
Orca breeding and performance programs, like the one formerly run by SeaWorld theme parks, will be outlawed starting in June.
I’ll admit, California isn’t a perfect place. I was reminded of that when my fellow constituents did not vote to repeal the death penalty this year like a bunch of fucking assholes. This, however, is good.
Felons serving sentences in county jails will be able to vote in California elections as part of an effort to speed their transition back into society.
And the next time someone says Justin Timberlake can’t make a difference in the world, remind them of this victory:
Voters can now legally take a selfie with their completed ballot.
I saved the most lit new laws for last:
Beauty salons and barbershops can now offer patrons a free beer or glass of wine.
Denim is now the state’s official fabric to recognize its role in California history.
Truly, what sane person can argue with that?
In case you needed that final push to pack up a U-Haul and get your ass on west to the land of sunshine, farmer’s markets and living near the beach but never actually going to the beach, here it is. See you all soon.*
*But please move somewhere that isn’t Los Angeles or the Bay Area because we are pretty packed at the moment. Thanks.