New Laws Take Effect in 2008

by Maria Sunantha Quibilan/

LOS ANGELES — California lifestyle is expected to slightly change as new laws get implemented this year.

Among these new measures is the increase of the minimum wage from $7.50 to $8 per hour that took effect on January 1st. California, together with Massachusetts, now have the highest minimum wage rate nationwide.

The said law had been signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2006 but only took effect this year. Last year, the governor approved a total of 750 bills but many of them have yet to get implemented.

New Road Rules

Several new traffic measures are also set for implementation this year.

Annual car registration fees will increase by $3 on July 1, partly to cover energy and clean-air programs of the State. The smog abatement fee will also be increased from $12 to $20.

While it has been circulating on the net as a hoax  for quite some time, California is set to enforce limited cellular phone use while driving on July 1. Under the new law, California drivers are required to use a hands-free device if they want to use their cellular phone while behind the wheel. As an accompanying measure, the law makes it illegal for drivers, seventeen years old and below to call or send text messages while driving.

Smoking in cars with a minor or minors as passengers is also prohibited. Violators can be fined up to $100. (See related story)

Other laws

This year marks the implementation of AB 976 which prohibits cities and counties from adopting ordinances the require landlords to check on the immigration status of tenants.

In the retail industry, a law is now in effect allowing consumers to redeem unused portions of gift cards and convert them to cash if the amount falls below $10.

For more information on various laws set for implementation this year, log on to


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