By Haddon Libby

California rang in the New Year with 807 new laws.  Here are a few of them:

In a win for microbrews, beer-tasting events can now happen at certified farmer’s markets.

You cannot wear earphones when driving a car or riding a bike.  This is in addition to the existing law that bans you from holding your cell phone up to your head while driving.


Hoverboards, which are essentially motorized skateboards, can only be used by people over sixteen years of age who are wearing helmets.

As it relates to childhood vaccinations, all children must now be vaccinated with indifference as to your personal beliefs on vaccinations – they are mandatory.

No concealed weapons are allowed on school premises.

High school graduates no longer need to pass an aptitude exam as a condition for graduation.  In the event that someone did not receive a high school diploma because of a failed exam in the past, that person can now apply to receive their degree without passing the test.

High school students will need to pass health education classes to graduate.  These classes educate students on sexuality and health issues.  Part of the classes will be a full understanding of consent.

As it relates to the safety of your electronic information, law enforcement must have a search warrant before reviewing your emails, texts, Internet search history, GPS location, etc.

The Labor Commissioner can now help employees receive accrued back wages more easily by putting liens upon Employer assets in order to enforce the payment of due wages.

SB358 calls for equal pay for equal work no matter whether you are male or female.

The minimum wage is now $10/hour, up from $9/hour.

Pro sports cheerleaders are now considered employees thus providing them protection under state wage and hour laws.  In the past, professional franchises got around labor laws by calling them contract workers.

The emergency alert system will now include Silver Alerts for missing seniors who might be driving but are disoriented.  The system will also be used for hit-and-run suspect vehicles as well.

You cannot sell elephant ivory or rhino horn in the state any longer.  The NRA opposed this law due to ivory handles being part of a number of gun designs.

Greater preservation efforts for monarch butterfly mating and living areas.

The state has set-aside $100 million of funds for the installation of solar panels on low-income apartment buildings.

Compensation to innocent people held in incarceration increases from $40 to $140/day or $51,100 annually.

Traffic tickets can be paid in installments if the full payment causes an economic hardship.

State will crack down on bandit tow truck operators who tow cars without the proper summoning by property owners or law enforcement.  Additionally, maximum storage fees are being set.

A few of the sillier laws still on the books in the Coachella Valley include one in Palm Springs that bans the walking of camels down Palm Canyon Drive between 4pm and 6pm.  Indian Wells appears to be one of the few places in California that bans psychics as well as the drinking of intoxicating cement and the playing of a trumpet to lure people to your business establishment.


Follow up to the Grinch who Stole my iPhone article:  We have full video of the three people involved with multiple camera angles.  Two of the people deny that they were involved even though video shows them in the store handling the phone AND the phone ‘pinging’ in their apartment.  The police are currently finalizing evidence for the District Attorney.  From there, we will see if the D.A. will file charges on a petty crime where the evidence is overwhelming.

Haddon Libby is Managing Director of Winslow Drake, an investment management practice, and can be reached at