As the new year approaches, so do new laws that will affect the lives of Californians. Here’s a sampling of legislation signed in 2018 by Gov. Jerry Brown (laws not taking effect Jan. 1 are noted):
Doctor Disclosures—SB 1448 (Hill): When doctors in California are placed on probation for things such as ethical violations, substance abuse, sexual misconduct, or overprescribing addictive medications, they will soon have to notify patients of their probation status before treating them. Beginning in July, this will affect physicians, surgeons, podiatrists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, and osteopathic and naturopathic doctors who are allowed to continue practicing under restrictions. The Medical Board of California offers an online search function for information about a physician’s license, disciplinary status, and verified complaints.
Smog Check Changes, New Abatement Fees—AB 1274 (O’Donnell): This expands the existing Smog Check exemption to vehicles up to eight model years old, up from the current exemption of six model years. During the additional two years of exemption, these vehicles will pay an annual $25 smog abatement fee. The current annual $20 smog abatement fee for the first six years of exemption remains unchanged.
Motorized Scooters—AB 2989 (Flora): Bicycle helmets are no longer required for riders of motorized scooters who are 18 or older. This also amends existing law to prohibit a person from operating a motorized scooter on a roadway with a speed limit greater than 25 mph. However, it permits local authorities to approve the operation of motorized scooters on roads with speed limits up to 35 mph in some instances.
Postage-Paid Voting—AB 216 (Gonzalez): Now, if you choose to vote by mail, you’ll no longer have to pay postage. This law ensures voting is free for consumers statewide by mandating that election officials include a return envelope with prepaid postage when delivering vote-by-mail ballots. Local agencies could ask the state to reimburse them for additional costs, which are estimated at $5.5 million.
Cannabis and Criminal History—AB 106, AB 1817 (Committee on Budget): These committee bills clarify the authority for cannabis licensing entities to receive criminal history information from federal background checks, and for the Department of Justice to transmit cannabis applicant fingerprint images and related information to the FBI.
Cannabidiol—AB 710 (Wood): Cannabidiol, known as CBD, is a chemical component of cannabis but doesn’t cause any euphoric effects, which come from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This law would allow physicians, pharmacists, and other authorized healing arts licensees to legally prescribe, furnish or dispense products composed of cannabidiol as long as the product is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Research has shown CBD products to hold promise as a treatment for epilepsy and other ailments.